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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Project Life - Workspace Organization

Since I have decided to go with Project Life for another year, I also, finally, rearranged my office/craft room to accommodate that and I can’t believe how much easier it is for me now to stay current, when it’s not nearly as big a to-do to get stuff out and put it away again! In this post I’d like to share some organizational tips with you, that have worked for me over the last year or so!


Up until, oh, 2 years ago, I was really only scrapping and art journaling digitally. I was doing many other hands-on crafts, but they lent themselves more to being stashed away in a cupboard until you need the supplies.

Then I started getting into the “get your hands dirty” arts and crafts a bit more again, and then added the non-digital version of Project Life and suddenly it wasn’t just my computer workflow that was important anymore!

Here’s a picture of my desk space before I went non-digital:



On the other side of this space is a full wall of upper and lower cabinets that houses pretty much all my other arts and crafts supplies. Everything in it’s place and a place for everything. Lovely! But ....

The issue is however, that it means I either have to get up every few minutes to get something else, and then spend quite some time putting everything away again. Or get everything at the beginning and clutter up the work space. 

What happened was that I let things accumulate, both on the “doing my cards front” as well as on the other end when it came to clearing it up. Since my crafting desk is also my computer desk, this can turn out very disorganized.

So, after purging my way through the craft room and de-stashing a bit while I was at it, I also implemented quite a few changes that now put the things for Project Life, scrapping and Art Journaling/Mixed Media within easy reach!

And what a change it has made!


For example, I have a fair amount of stamps and they are all organized. I talk about them in this post.

As great as that system is, it wasn’t working out so well for me when it came to Project Life. I’m all about the work flow and if it ends up being disrupted, then my productivity and inspiration somewhat go out of the window!



One of the first things I did, was take out the frequently used PL stamps and keep them in a little drawer, together with my most frequently used stamp pads. SO much easier! I can always go and get more or different stamps or stamp pads if I so desire, but I don’t have to go through a whole drawer full of stuff every time I want to stamp a date on a PL card! Now I can just take the little drawer out and have everything right there!



I did a similar thing in the next little drawer with all things adhesive! I already have an adhesives and mediums drawer, but it covers everything from Mod Podge, gel mediums, Micro Glue Dots , etc. Again, I really don’t need that for PL. My two most frequently used adhesive mediums are the Perma Tac adhesive glider (the best adhesive roller ever!)  and the Micro Glue Dots. Occasionally I will use the Xyron "X" for intricate borders and such, but that’s about it.

So, now they live in their own mini drawer on my desk. Easily accessible!



When you see my PL journaling cards, you will see a fair amount of embellishments on them. Over the last year, I have had all my little cut things and embellishments nicely organized, but out of sight. Turns out I’m more of a visual person when it comes to embellishments and I forget what I have, or don’t even get all that inspired unless I see it.

Along came a bargain bin closeout find at Michael’s. I got these little trays for $5 (down from $27 I think) and they are perfect for all the little odds and ends that I put on my cards! Now I have a lovely overview of what I have and have easy access!



Speaking of embellishments - I have a little confession to make. Yep! I’m ever so slightly obsessed with wood veneer shapes! I LOVE those things! And I have a lot of them.

Some of them are very small, some are fairly large, which makes storing them in a uniform and easily accessible way somewhat difficult.

Can you guess my super sophisticated system that has worked SO well for this last year and a bit?



Yep, stapled together sandwich bags!! (Note: I only staple them on one side, right under the closure strip!)

I know it’s not the prettiest, but it really works for me. I have all the room I need, I can see all of them and choose whichever I need. It’s easily opened and closed and size really doesn’t matter in this setup! If I get a new set, I add a bag, but simply stapling it to the others!

Incidentally, I organize all my chipboard alphas the same way! This whole mess of bags goes in the box with the other alphabet sheets.



Next, I used two IKEA drawer organizers for my main supplies. I pretty much make all my cards myself, other than the 3x4 and the 6x4 grid cards. I use those a lot as the base for my journaling cards!



One houses all the cards, 3x4 and 4 x 6 , as well as wood veneer embellishments and some tag pads, garlands and larger embellishments that don’t fit in my little compartmentalized trays.

I have my pre-made journaling cards to the front, and the blanks further to the back.



The other one houses my most frequently used tools. I have my punches, stapler, and small scissors in there, which makes for an easy cleanup, just dropping them back into those compartments when I’m done.



In the back I employ the sandwich bag organizational system again, only this time not stapled together. I have borders in one, misc. scrap paper cut-offs and border strips in another. Simple and inexpensive system, but it keeps it all nicely divided and organized, yet visible.



I built this little table as an addition to my work space just so the PL workflow would work better. Previously I only had the little cart there.



The top of the table (to my left)  now serves as my sewing machine station (for stitching cards), while the top of the Art Journaling /Mixed Media cart (to my right)  has the Vintage Type writer on it.


{One of these days I hope to replace this one with some grey/black drawers to match the room, but this is what I had at the time!}

I used to have both the sewing machine and the type writer in another place in the craft room and it just became too cumbersome to drag out the machines and then put them back just for a card or two! And even though that places carts in front of the drawers of my desk, both are easily wheeled away, should need to get at the drawers behind, which I don’t nearly as frequently as I do Project Life and Art Journaling/Mixed Media!

Now I just need to swivel one way or another and it’s all right there!



I also got these photo boxes at Michael’s. One houses all my alphabets and alpha stickers, the other holds all other sticker type of material. Those are still stashed away in the box and I do still have to rummage through it, but I can deal with it for those two things.




The cart houses all my card stock in the top drawer, all my scrapbooking papers in the bottom drawer and the middle drawer has all the misc. things in them, like lesser used punches, refills, printer color etc. Stuff I don’t need on a daily basis but want to have close by!


My Silhouette cutter, craft dryer and card reader are housed in the cupboard right next to me, on a little shelf above the computer and are permanently hooked up, so when it’s time to use something, I just need to pull it out and go.

My printer, with all the photo paper and label printing supplies is to my left, also nice and accessible! The PL album I’m currently working on is also stashed right next to it, as is the paper cutter. And of course all of this is happening on my “computer desk” all be it a very large one, so I pretty much have one stop crafting now!



Anyway, all in all, this latest organization has made such a difference to my work flow when it comes to project life. From getting the photos off the camera, to printing, to journaling, to embellishing, to journaling, to adding them to the album - once I sit down, I have it all within arm’s length, readily accessible. And clean-up is a breeze - not just for Project Life activities, but for all the messy Art projects!

I’m a happy super-organized crafter right now! Yay!

How do you keep your craft space organized?

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  1. Organized ? Did you say organized? Love what you have done and glad it is working. when I organize then the next day I play hide and seek with my art supplies. some of it works and most of it doens't. I do use sanwich bags a lot also so I am on the same track as you are anyway. Hugs and keep after it. xoxo

  2. Wow! your organizing skill is fantastic..if only i had 50% of that my house would be so much better


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