Scrapbooking Organization * Scrapbooking in 15 Minute Increments

My friends are always amazed at what I can accomplish with my scrapbooking organization. I must admit a lot of it relates to my organizational skills vs. having any special abilities. Like many scrapbookers, I work full time; have a husband and a young school aged daughter to occupy my time. Scrapbooking is something that I enjoy doing, but since I donít have a lot of time to work on my projects, I try to do as much as I can in the allotted time. You might ask what this has to do with scrapbooking. But you wonít believe how much you can get accomplished in 15-minute increments.

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We often find it daunting to look at a stack of pictures and wonder how we will ever get all of them scrapbooked. Sometimes the task at hand seems so significant that we wait until we have a large chunk of time to work on it. This can be a mistake. For many of us, getting a large chunk of time to work on our projects is difficult at best.

You can start by getting a few things organized in advanced. In order to do this, look at the categories below and find the best fit for how you scrapbook. It may be a combination of several of these tasks. It also may take you more than 15 minutes to organize your supplies, but it is worth the time invested. You can also break down your time into smaller increments if you canít dedicate several hours to get organized.

General Guidelines for Supplies:

  • Organize your paper so you can find what you need. I recommend separating cardstock by color and patterned paper by category.
  • Organize your photos! If you have a large backlog, get a photo storage box. I like the ones offered by Creative Memories. With that storage box, your pictures get categorized so you can easily find a group that you want to work on.
  • Organize general craft supplies by putting them together so that they can be located when needed. In this way, you can avoid buying things twice.
  • Organize your embellishments so that they can be easily paired with paper and pictures.
  • As you organize your supplies, go through them and stack up paper and other items you donít think you will use. Many scrapbooking stores take donations for charity or have tag sales where you can get store credit for the items that you sell. Using EBay is another method of selling your excess supplies.

Dedicated Space for Scrapbooking Supplies:

You do not need to have a large area for Scrapbooking. My space is limited to one wall in a guest bedroom. You can make the most of any space by organizing your supplies into categories. I have a 2 drawer, 12x12 filing cabinet; this is a great way for me to organize paper. I use hanging file folders and categorize my cardstock by color and my patterned paper by category. For example, beach, fall, Disney, sports, etc. I recommend the cube systems that are sold in the big chain craft stores or Oriental Trading. These now have paper drawer options. They are lightweight and easily moved if rearrangements are needed. My other real find was an old toolbox that my husband painted and cleaned up. I keep all of my supplies in that tool box. I like fact that my cabinet has many drawers of varying sizes, which makes it easy to group my supplies. I found mine at a surplus store and paid a fraction of the cost of a new craft cabinet.

This is certainly the easiest option: better yet, if you have a dedicated room, you can leave things in process and close the door knowing it will not be disturbed. However, many of us simply donít have the space to dedicate a room for scrapbooking. So if you donít have a scrapbooking room, Iíll bet that you can dream of one! I know I do.

Scrapbooking Supplies Packed in Totes:

Totes can be a difficult method, but are effective - if you keep your supplies organized. Youíll also have to clean out items you donít want. With this option, youíll need to keep your tote stocked with items you use frequently so that you can easily find them and avoid purchasing excess paper and embellishments. Find inserts that work with your tote for paper, general supplies, etc. Also be sure that you leave room for your in process box (weíll discuss that later on).

Supplies Stashed in Various Places:

Try to find one spot for your scrapbooking stash. If you have limited space, you can try 3 or 4 stackable 14Ē cubes with doors. There are also several types of cabinets that when closed, fold up and look like an armoire. These cabinets can disguise your stash if it needs to be out in a main living area. If you canít dedicate that much space, try storing a large scrapbooking tote in a closet, mud room or garage. Then follow one of the above groupings. If you canít put your hands on your frequently used supplies, it will take you longer to track them down. And you may find yourself buying duplicate products that you donít really need.

Pre-Work and Tools Needed:

  • A container large enough for 12 x 12 paper (or whatever size you normally work in) with a secure cover. This can be a plastic container with a locking cover or new unused pizza boxes.
  • 8-12 pieces of 12x12 cardboard (or whatever your paper size) Ė and these can be from the bottom of cardstock stacks or cut from boxes. You can also by 12 x 12 pieces of chipboard sold in packs.
  • A grouping of photos that you want to work on.
  • A notebook to record a list of in-process layouts.

Now that you have your supplies organized for your space, the best way to get started is by having a work in process box. You can buy a plastic box that will house your 12 x 12 paper stock. Make sure that the cover locks if you plan to travel to a crop with it. Another alternative is to use a tote. Some of the totes available (at the local chain stores) are great for home storage. One downside however, is that they can open in transit (considering that these boxes donít have covers that locks securely). Creative Memories sells a kit to make a convenient box. This in-process box is one of the biggest secrets to my success!

With my supplies organized I can set up each layout in my box in less than 5 minutes.

1) Take out your photo groupings and organize the pictures into potential layouts. This is fastest when you do for a series of pages at once.

2) If you can dedicate 15-20 minutes, layout several groupings of photos, and then select patterned paper and cardstock that you like with the pictures. If you have two ideas, take out the paper to do both and then decide when you start to work on your layout.

3) Lay your paper (patterned and cardstock) in the bottom of the box and put your photos on top. If your embellishments arenít too bulky, they can also be place in a box. Usually I have a separate box for my paper and pictures and then one for the embellishments.

4) Write the layout theme or title on a list to be kept in your notepad or inside the box. As you complete each layout, simply cross it off your list.

5) If you have a title or sketch idea, jot it down in the notebook. You might also place the sketch from your notebook (weíll discuss this later) into the box. A week from now, you may not remember your best ideas.

6) Place a piece of cardboard on top and repeat until the box is full.

Now you are ready to be productive at home or at a crop. For a full day crop, I like to have two completed boxes so that I can pick and choose whatever I am in the mood to work on. Using this system, I never fear of running out of pages. If you have a workspace at home, you can leave your boxes out where you have easy access and take out one project at a time to work on.

Optional Pre-Work:

Having a Title idea book like mine (Entitled Scrapbooking), is handy to have on hand and so that you may easily select the appropriate title for your page.

A book of potential layouts (or sketches of layouts) is also a great time saver. This can be as simple as having a Ĺ-1Ē binder with layouts cut from magazines. Keep these with your in process box.

Jot down some techniques and ďhow toĒ instructions of something you want to try. This will keep you from spending all of your time trying to track it down when you need it.

Creating Pages

On average, I spend close to an hour on each layout. I enjoy being creative and trying new techniques. Some pages however are very basic and take only 15-20 minutes - now that the pre-work is done!

  • Choose your layout Ė if you have the referenced book (above) at hand Ė it should be a simple process. I often use the sketch as inspiration and rarely copy it exactly on my page. Feel free to combine elements from several sketches.
  • Choose your page title.
  • Crop your photos and mount onto (optional) cardstock.
  • Cut or tear any paper for your layout and glue down.
  • Glue down your photos.
  • Choose and mount your embellishments.
  • Journal dates, place and other appropriate information for future generations.
  • Place completed layouts in albums to keep them safe. If you donít have albums yet, keep them in a separate box for storage.

The above steps can be broken down into 15 minute increments. This is where your in process box comes in so handy. Take out a project, choose a layout and title.

Hint: Have a small note pad to jot down place, dates, and a sketch idea or title, so that youíll remember when you have to put the project away and start the next step later on.

If you follow the above steps and get your supplies organized, youíll find it possible to create pages in smaller time increments. If you do nothing else, creating the in process box in order to get yourself organized. This method will also help you to become more productive in a shorter amount of time. Creating pages in steps will allow you to break them into manageable bites. We all can sneak a project into our schedule if we can keep it to 15 minutes.

Find more scrapbooking organization tips here.

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