Saturday, April 28, 2012

Help! I've Been Buried Alive!

I spent this week moving stuff around and trying to arrange stuff by workflow. Now, I've got piles all over the place, LOL! Have you ever noticed that when you re-arrange things, there are always leftovers that no longer have a place to sit? After a while it starts to get a little depressing!

It does make you re-assess what things you really, really need to keep and what you can part with. I am fairly new to stamping and cardmaking, but I have managed to amass quite a collection in a year's time. I am slowly making some big decisions on what I need to let go and sell, donate, or gift away.

When I started my room cleanse, I vowed to not buy anymore storage furniture, as it would just make it too easy to stuff more things away. So, I have decided to just move supplies around, trying to keep like-supplies together in whatever drawer or box they end up in. If you don't adhere to this rule, I have found that you will spend way too much time opening and closing containers trying to find one little thing. Usually by the time you find it, you decide it wasn't really what you wanted anyway.

For me, the most important step to take in room organization is Label, Label, Label. If you are using a container temporarily, use a sticky note. For permanent storage, use a label maker, or make yourself a pretty label. Just making those labels seems to help the brain absorb where that item is. Stop and think about your personal workflow... what are your constant go-to items. Everyone is different and interested in different techniques. These interests are what should guide you in your organization.

I was thinking about using a hutch on the table where my computer monitor sits. A hutch is great, but past experience tells me that they don't really hold that much. I think I would rather have a shelving unit with closed ends so I can arrange the available shelf space using containers that fit my needs, rather than trying to fit into a pre-arranged space. Another drawback to using a hutch, or even shelving is being able to reach things. I keep a folding footstool to be able to put plastic boxes up high, but I've also been known to have to duck as everything else comes down along with the one box I wanted.

Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I've been lucky in that today I can still walk, talk and use my hands, but I have to be very careful, because I tend to easily lose my balance (yes, my butt has probably touched as many boxes as my hands have.) Piling things on the floor is dangerous for me in a small room, so I lean towards sturdy bookcases and closed cupboards. My room cleanse is going much slower than I thought it would, because of the piles it has enabled to sprout. I have a feeling the room isn't going to look much different when I'm done. I will still be happy to have a room to go play in and maybe that's the most important outcome to this project.

I am going to put some of my room cleanse on hold for now, so I can get back to plain 'ol creativity. If I make a mess, I'll just clean up when I'm done. This cleansing lesson has help me in many ways, though. Now when I start a new project, I find a bin and keep the ink pads I'm using, any punches, paper, stamps and other tools all together in that plastic bin. Not a big basket bin, just a flat plastic one that you can find at any time at Walmart, Target,the hardware store and even Bed, Bath and Beyond. This habit has helped me quite a bit and makes cleaning up less of a chore. Plastic containers are my friends :)

I certainly hope everyone else is progressing nicely along with their room cleansing challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of Kate Palmer's adventure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Organizing

Another day and more photos. I am still battling with thinning out, but I get distracted by creativity. So today, is a short post on where I store a few things. 

Once a year, The Container Store has a big sale on all Elfa products. I purchased this door assembly and added different sizes of bins. These hold all my large punches perfectly. The teeny tiny minis fit in a drawer. The top rack is the DVD/CD rack that is the current version. I also used pantry sized racks and a few discontinued media rack styles that enabled me to neatly store my edger punches. I really love the old style media racks and was happy to find them clearance priced at 1/3 the regular prices. Behind the door is a plastic shoe organizer where I store my edger scissors and some of the giant punches I have that didn't fit in the Elfa set up. I wish I had more doors in this room because those shoe pocket hangers are great for storing all kinds of things and everything is easily visible. The plus is that it is on the back of the door so it doesn't make the room look even messier.

For my inks, I do have a cassette rack that I found on Ebay that holds my Stampin' Up inks and my Distress Inks hung on the wall. For the rest of my collection, I use an Elfa drawer system under my work table. Because this table is actually a heavy-duty folding table, I place bed risers under each leg so that I could put drawers under it more easily. This also enables me to stand when working, which is better for my back problems.

Here's a pic of how I store the gazillion stamp pads and my Distress Stains. Each drawer contains like types of ink. Dye, Chalk, pigment, specialty and embossing and the top drawer holds my tape dispensers and most used cutting tools. I also keep my alcohol and Judikins Mica Gloss in this drawer as well. Everything is easy to find and right at my fingertips, just not taking up space on the worktable. Because they are separately by brand and ink type, pads are also easy to put away. All refills are kept in a different drawer with my Stickles collection and paint daubers. They are something I don't use everyday, but are still easy to put my hand on. 

I know most people prefer to have their supplies out and visible, but my house gets very, very hot in the summer and doesn't always cool off during the night. I found that by keeping liquid types of media in drawers, they stay at a more even temperature and the heat won't dry them out when I'm not looking. Drawers and boxes also keep things from flying should there be an earthquake. 

That's it for today. I often dream of winning the lottery and having a completely custom designed Elfa component room. I love their products and they last forever!

Hope you have a wonderful inky day!

Keeping the masses contained

I thought I'd show you all how I keep frequently accessed supplies close at hand yet easily put away. I admit, I am a messy person. And an admitted pile maker. It's a habit formed when I was a child and I have never been able to completely conquer it.

On the RangerInkLink Yahoo group, we've been submitting tips for organizing. Everyone has great tips and I hope to incorporate some of them into my own routine. For now, here are some of my own attempts at keeping my work table organized.

I used to keep current projects in plastic baskets, but if I accidentally knocked it over, everything would spill out and I'd be on my hands and knees trying to find all the little pieces that fly out everywhere. Now I'm using the Stampin' Up stamp cases and I'm much happier. Here I've put cards that are waiting for embellishment in one and the card base plus the layer pieces in another. Yet another case holds the cut pieces that need to be adhered and layered for the main design. The small cut pieces are in small baggies that I've recycled from purchases so I don't have to separate each element every time I open the case. Behind you see  a finished version of the card design I'm currently working on.
Stamp Cases

To keep these cases from getting lost or separated, I put them into this CD organizer I found at The Container Store. I need one or two more of them because I also keep myPapertrey Ink stamps in them. At the end of the day, I can just close the cases and either stack them on my worktable or put them away if I'm starting another project.
I keep scraps, just like everyone else. Large pieces I put in a tall plastic bin on my table and I used to toss those long thin strips. I finally figured out that those thin strips can be used for sentiments and banners. Duh, I know. Now I keep those in another tall container and it doesn't take much room but I can easily see if there's a color I would like to use, or a particular width I'm looking for. Here are the two bins I frequently find my fingers in. I keep paper cut in 4.25" x 5.5" for making backgrounds and layers. I also use these pieces for experimenting with stamps and ink colors.

Any tallish container would work and it doesn't take up much room on my work table and is easy enough to move to another resting spot. This one usually nests next to my computer screen while still remaining within arms reach. (I really have a small room, LOL)

This guy is about 30 years old... an old Tupperware container for syrups minus it's lid. I have 3 of these and my copics fit in them nicely when I've pulled a selection of pens to work on a design.

An imitation Snapware container again minus it's lid worked perfectly for corralling my large scraps and pre cut card fronts. I keep a variety of papers precut and keep scraps in front.

I also like to have cardstock precut and I found the Stampin' Up Bigz die box a perfect fit for keeping it all handy and looking nice. I previously ordered one from Sizzix, but the tray in the bottom was glued down. This one from Stampin' Up comes with the tray separated, so I can use the tray in a drawer or on a flat surface. Cardstock cut for an A2 size card, which is the size card I like to make fits perfectly. The inside of the box is nicely finished with patterned paper.

I like using boxes and plastic containers to hold frequently accessed items. I keep a lot of my supplies in drawers, but I am definitely a big small container fan. Drawers get heavy and easily messy, while small boxes are easy to take down from a shelf, and yes, they are stackable so I can still make my little Cathy-piles. They can be quickly put away by simply sliding them into a bookshelf or a cupboard and I think if I could just make some concrete decisions on what I would really like to keep or be rid of, I will become less prone to making piles.

Next posting will be my ink storage solution.

til then... keep your fingers inky!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

More Room Cleansing

My room cleansing adventures have been a hoot. I almost had a completely clean floor, but then I got involved in a new project and it blew up my floorspace again. Story of my life, LOL!

I have resigned myself to the fact that the floor is always going to be a problem. Although I am actually very good at putting new things away fairly promptly, when I get to working, I'm a mess. I have been pretty strict with myself about new purchases, but there are some new products that I found I could not live without.

Today, I thought I'd just show you how I attempt to stay somewhat organized. I do find that my organization methods are continually changing, as I either find a new bin to store things in, or decide to further group like items together. I have also found that I am interested in many hobbies and each has it's own specialty supplies. I call them my other lives :)

Here is a photo of how I am keeping track of what is where. These drawers were built by my father and were in his workshop. He kept his tools sorted in them by categories. When he passed away, we brought them down from Lake Tahoe and stored them in our garage. Last year, when I started in all this new inkiness stuff I brought them into the house. I have had them for 7 years now and I remember talking to my dad about what glue he should use to build these cubes. He probably had them a good 20 or 30 years himself.

Because they are unfinished, I feel comfortable putting labels on them. I've decided not to paint them because there are memories of them as my Dad used them. I use my Dymo Labelmaker to print out sticky labels. I like the Dymo brands of label makers the best because the labels are laminated with plastic and stay nice. I keep different widths of tape cartridges handy so I can label the spines of cd cases as well.

Labeled drawers
If you are wondering why there are so many labels on two of the drawers, they are my roadmap to an item's location INSIDE the drawer. It helps when multiple items are in layers.

The large label is my re-purpose invention. I found a box of name tag holders at Staples. I removed the safety pin and then adhered the empty pocket to my drawer. This way, if I decide to change the contents of the drawer, I can just pull out the card and replace it with a different label... fast and easy!

If a drawer's contents are in transition, then I use a sticky note until I'm happy with the organization. After that I'll get out my labelmaker and create the roadmap for that drawer.

I do this even for my clear plastic drawers. Labeling really helps me, as I sometimes forget where I moved something. I can look at my labels instead of opening and closing multiple drawers.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Welcome to my Girl Cave

Today, I'm going to post some Before pics of my room. It's not a big room, and I can't store anything in the closet yet, and I feel so cheated, LOL! This was my son's bedroom, and he still stores things in the closet. So... hope you are ready for the tour!

I'm going to post a few before photos and then hone in on my problem areas one at a time. Othewise, I might end up writing a book!

Standing in the doorway into the room
I have two tables in the room. One is behind the filing cabinet you partially see on the left and my main work table that butts up against the side. I have this worktable on bed risers so that I can put storage drawers under it. I needed to have this table free-standing so I could use both sides for storage. Essentially, you are looking at the 'back' of the work area.

This arrangement works well for me, even though I have to turn sideways to actually get around the end of the table to enter my work area. This happened because I brought in the much needed filing cabinet to hold my 8-1/2" x 11" paper stock.

So... things I must carefully consider

1. I live on the West Coast... that means Earthquakes! Thankfully, we don't have floods or tornados or hurricanes, but we do have some nasty wind storms and heavy rains at times as well as possible tsunamis generated from earthquakes. Water damage is not a worry as much as planning for avalanches of supplies during an extreme shaker.

2. I have several electronic cutting machines, so I need to be able to quickly move supply containers to accommodate the space needed to use these machines. I try to keep two on the 'back' of my worktable ready to go, but still need to clean up in front to insert the cutting mats.

3. I like having my supplies handy, but as happens with most of us, they always slowly encroach into your workspace.. I don't mind walking a few steps to get to supplies as long as they are organized to fit my workflow. I want to be able to put my hand on something I need quickly and easily, but I think I would prefer not to have it all on my table.

4. I am a messy person. By that, I mean, I tend to make piles of stuff. Doesn't matter what room of the house, there are Cathy Piles everywhere. I used to say I needed Exlax for the house to get rid of my piles. One main reason for my piles is that I am sometimes distracted from a project and start a new one, and I end up layering project supplies on top of eachother. Also, because I don't have a lot of room to even move around, there are parts of my storage that are covered by piles that I then need to move to put something away. Oh... it goes on and on!

Problem areas I would like to deal with

1. Inks: I think I could free up wall space and maybe get a pegboard system up if I relinquish my cassette tape unit and move my Stampin'Up inkpads and my Distress ink pads into the Elfa cart that hold all my other ink pads. The cart in right in front of me under the work table so they would still be easily accessible. Not as easy as keeping them in the cassette tape unit, but still they would then be zero steps away. That's a pretty easy experiment and will probably be first on my list to try.
Stampin' Up and Distress Inks on the wall

2. My rubber stamps are everywhere. Some are in drawers, some are in notebooks, some in the filing cabinet and some are in a portable file case, in bookcases and definitely not in the same area.

3. Ribbon... ribbons make babies. They're like bunny rabbits, LOL! That's all I'm going to say.

For now I'm going to go back to my cave and see what I can get done. I've gotten most of my 'Before' shots done and now I can try to get some straightening out done.

'til my next post... and maybe some 'After' photos... stay inky!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kate Palmer Craft Room Cleanse

Well, April 1st came and went and I didn't get up a post about my craft room cleanse. I will have to take some pics tomorrow for the current state of my room. I do have a good excuse, though... I was in a stamp class! We were learning all about Pigment inks.

I am lucky, I do have a room to myself, although it may be temporarily, as we never know when our son may want to return to living at home. So far... I'm good to go.

A short description of my room:

I have two windows, but one is covered by a bookcase. 
One tall cabinet, two sets of 30" wide drawers, plus a collection of cubes that I inherited from Dad. 
One chest of drawers.
One old kitchen table and one folding table that is up on risers.
One Filing cabinet.
A TV that is on top of the chest of drawers.
A microwave cart with my large format printer, a printer cart with my laser printer.
Another filing cabinet, and plastic drawers and another Elfa cart under both tables.
Plastic boxes on the floor!

I'll post some pics tomorrow.

What I am hoping to accomplish:

I don't think I can re-arrange the furniture... all the floor space against the walls is used... basically you will see that there is as little wall space left as there is floor space. So...
I will mainly have to go through my accumulation and cull out what I may never use or didn't like using and stuffed it away.

I did notice I have two empty drawers that I must have cleaned out and forgot to use that space. I do not have access to using the closet or the cupboards above it, but I am hoping I can take over those cupboards for things I would like to store long term, or specialized things that I don't need to get to very often.

The reason I can't use the closet space? Our son still has a lot of his clothes and a collection of hiking backpacks in there. 

Mainly, if I can find a way to keep the floor space clear of my collection of plastic storage boxes, that would be a dream come true. I have to move them all just to get into my cabinet and that always ends up just getting me sidetracked.

Also my 12X12 paper organization if a shambles. It's everywhere, and really, I use 8.5"x11" paper more often. 

I would also like to put a pegboard system up somewhere near my desk so that I can hang tools that I use most often and keep them easily accessible. 

Tomorrow's a new day

That's all I can say... I'll be happy if I can manage to get some pics taken and posted. In the US, we have our income tax deadline looming and I was waylaid by a nasty, bad cold, which keeps threatening to return. That deadline is currently more important than boxes on the floor. But if I get one box cleared off the floor each day, I will consider that a monumental achievement!

See ya tomorrow,