The start of a brand new year inevitably leads us to thoughts of resolving to get organized. As paper crafters and card makers, we have a tendency to gather lots of supplies and tools which can lead to clutter and chaos in our crafting space. Here are tips corresponding to every letter of the alphabet that will help you achieve ultimate organization. This card maker’s A to Z guide to better organization starts with grabbing a pencil and circling those ideas that work best for you. Then, get busy and put your plan into action.
A: Ah, those wonderful acrylic stamps. Three ring binders are the best method for storing these. Stamp sets placed in separate plastic sheet protectors allow you to flip through quickly to locate the perfect stamp for your project. Sheet protectors with protective flaps at the top or side are perfect since they keep the stamps securely inside.
B: Binders work great for storing card-making supplies, as well as completed projects themselves. Place finished cards in plastic page protectors and organize them according to birthday, get well, etc.
C: I prefer to store card stock vertically and separated by color inside specially designed plastic jacket files. Color organization allows me to keep track of my paper inventory. I also keep scraps inside a clear view storage container and try to make a rule of checking scraps before cutting entire sheets when I need only a small portion of a particular color.
D: Already feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of getting organized? Use the old rule of Divide and Conquer. Divide tasks into small steps. Grab your calendar and decide which task you will accomplish by what date. Establishing deadlines can be a real motivator, completing smaller steps while moving toward one larger goal.
E: The card is designed and almost finished. Now you need the perfect expression to complete the card. A handy reference book, such as Say it With Style, is a great tool which will assist you in quickly locating the perfect occasional expressions.
F: Scout for flea-market finds to cleverly and economically store your craft supplies. For instance, one of my favorite small item storage units is a repurposed spice rack purchased at a thrift store for a few dollars.
G: As you begin clearing the clutter, create a “giveaway” box for supplies to be donated to a well-deserving school or day care. Knowing my supplies are going to a good cause makes parting with them easier.
H: In addition to donating items, you can host a supplies swap. Invite fellow paper crafters to clean out their own clutter and bring it to your home for a fun afternoon of exchanging unwanted goods.
I: Manufacturers recommend storing ink pads upside down to keep the ink flowing to the top and to prevent them from drying out. Stack the pads vertically and place them on a shelf labeled on the side for quick locating.
J: So many ideas, so little time. Organize your ideas and moments of genius by keeping a “Journal of Inspiration” that contains magazine clippings, sketches, swatches and other visually inspiring items to inspire you during creative dry spells.
K: As you organize, make it a point to keep key supplies close at hand. Having frequently used items such as card stock, paper trimmers and adhesives close at hand is not only convenient but will save time.
L: Label, label, label— Use basic word labels to mark your supplies, or utilize more creative methods. Remember the spice rack? I attach small items that represent the contents inside on the top of the bottle with a piece of scotch tape. If I change the contents of the bottle, I simply remove that piece and replace it with another.
M: According to Julie Adachi from Marvy Uchida, “Proper storage can make markers last longer. Make sure the caps are on tight before storing them. Single-ended markers can be stored vertically with the tip side down but double-ended markers should always be stored horizontally. This will keep ink flow and color even on both ends.”
N: In addition to your journal of inspiration, a portable, purse-sized notepad is a great way to record simple thoughts and ideas you have while traveling, waiting for appointments, or commuting to and from work.
O: Creating a giveaway/donate pile is easier said than done for many of us. Using the “one year rule” can help–if it’s been a year since you last used it, it’s time to give it away.
P: Use a plastic over-the-door shoe organizer to store punch sets.
Q: Quilling papers provide a unique challenge to organization. According to industry experts, cardboard or plastic contains with dividers are some of the best products to use for storing quilling papers and finished quilled pieces.
R: If back issues of magazines are cluttering your space, consider reducing print copies by signing up for digital subscriptions of your favorite paper-crafting magazines. For example, subscribing to CardMaker digitally gets you access to two years of back issues, all without taking up precious storage space.
S: Silk flowers are another embellishment that can easily be stored in recycled spice rack bottles.
T: Corralling tools can be the most challenging task of all. Small buckets fitted with nylon-pocketed organizers are an economical and handy solution.
U: Unify a hodgepodge of display containers by painting them all in the same colors or by covering them with coordinating patterned papers.
V: Vertical space should be maximized. A shelving unit stacked on a desk provides additional space for storing containers full of embellishments, wood-mounted rubber stamps or other essential items in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Hang plastic shoe storage bins inside closets for stacking 12 x 12-inch papers, maximizing the space from the floor to the closet rod. Hanging tiered metal baskets, traditionally reserved for storing fruits and veggies, hold supplies while taking advantage of vertical space. An open display of wood-mounted stamps is handy and attractive.
W: Wood-mounted rubber stamps Store wood-mounted rubber stamps to show the array of themes and motifs. Another resourceful idea is to use recycled clear VHS tape cases, with stamps sorted by theme, and the sides of the cases labeled for quick location.
X: X it off—celebrate each time you accomplish small things done by literally crossing it off the list. This gives you great satisfaction and motivates you to move forward with more organizational duties.
Y: Whatever your organizational plan or style, make it a system that works for you. Whether color-coding, sorting by theme, organizing according to season or occasion, make it a system that makes sense to the way you craft.
Z: Add beautiful elements to your organized card-marking stash with fun handle-painted scissors, a special vintage trinket box to hold embellishments or a hot pink hot tool. These add Zen to your collection of tools and supplies, and keep you feeling creative and inspired.
By Melony Bradley