Christmas Card Organization

What do you do with all those Christmas Cards and Photo Cards that you've been receiving this holiday season?  Keeping them, Sorting them, Storing them,....can present a little challenge.
 Here are a few suggestions for keeping your Christmas Cards under control.

Single Sided Photo Cards are getting  more and more popular.  Many of us display these in our homes during the holiday season and then are at a loss with what do with them after the season.  My first suggestion is that you cut the return address from the envelope they came in and tape it to the back of the photo card.  That way you will have all the addresses should you ever lose your Christmas Card list and/or if somebody has moved during the year you will have thier current address.  Depending on how many of these cards you get each year, you may want to start a separate and easy to maintain "Friends from Far Away" Album.  This simple album can get stored way each year and come out just at Christmas Time.  You'll be able to look at the images friends send year after year and see how the families have changed. 

Storing Christmas Cards
  If guilt gets the better of you and you prefer not to throw your Christmas Cards away each year, just bundle them up at the end of the holiday season, tie the bundle with a festive ribbon, add a tag with the year on it store them with your Christmas decorations. Each year when you decorate for the holidays, bring out the bundles and place them around your home as part of your holiday decorations.  Not only will they be a pretty addtion to your holiday decorations, you can untie the bundles and look through the cards.  If you save the envelopes you'll be able to add store the cards in the envelopes and that creates and even prettier bundle.


Why do you need Dividers in your ScrapRack?

  The answer may seem obvious, you need Dividers so it will be fast and easy to flip to the section of your ScrapRack where the supplies you need are stored.  But there are also a couple of other reasons you need Dividers
 The Dividers are longer and wider than your storage pages.  This means that they offer a layer of protection to your supplies.  With Dividers inserted throughout your ScrapRack, the edges of your storage pages will be protected from damage.
  The Dividers also add stability to your ScrapRack and prevent your pages from sagging. 
 When you load your Spinders into your CropCrate to go to a crop or class, the Dividers help the Spinders to stand straight up in your Crate. Note only does this help keep everything neat and tidy, it also allows you to put the maximum amount of stuff into your crate without crushing anything. 

Dividers are sold in packs of 5 and 15.  Shop for your Dividers now - click here.


YIKES - It's almost Turkey Time

Getting organized for a Thanksgiving Meal can be OVERWHELMING!!!! My suggestion? - Take everybody out to dinner, just kidding, (I hope my sister doesn't read this, I'll be in big trouble, holiday traditions are her favorite thing!)

How do you have a Thanksgiving Dinner and avoid feeling overwhelmed - truthfully I don't think it's possible. Even if you're only cooking for a small group there are so many things you want to do to make the meal perfect that it all becomes overwhelming. Here are my top 5 suggestions for making your Thanksgiving Holiday less Overwhleming and More Enjoyable.

1 - Accept the fact that you are going to feel Overwhelmed and possibly under appreciated.
I remember a couple of years ago my older son saying to me, "I don't know why Mrs. Smith is so stressed out, you have twice as many people over and you do everything in one day." He was oblivious to the fact that I had spent at least one hour, and on some days several hours, - everyday for the two weeks prior to the event just getting ready. This is one of the keys to enjoying the Overwhelming event that a thing like Thanksgiving is - Accept that it will overwhelming, Accept that nobody will really know how hard you worked, and then when it gets hairy you can just take a deep breath, look around at all of your wonderful friends and family and say - "I'm so glad you're all here."

2 - Make a list for the week or two before Thanksgiving
Write your list several days before you actually need to begin executing it. Create a master list of ALL the things to do and then divide that master into daily tasks. Each day knock off a few of the items. Besides the obvious things like shopping and baking pies ahead of time, consider actually setting your Thanksgiving table a day or two early complete with serving dishes. I drop a little note in each dish with what I'll actually use the dish for and then I add the appropriate serving utensil to the empty dish. This will avoid that last minute scramble to find a spoon for the mashed potatoes.

3 - Assign tasks to willing takers - then accept the work they do.
There's no better way to run off a good volunteer than to be visibly dissatisfied with the fruit of their labors. When you assign a task or menu item to a member of your Thanksgiving group be Thankful that they've take something off your plate. Don't make adjustments to what they've done or prepared, bite you tongue when you taste the bland soup or notice that the forks are on the wrong side of the plates. Chances are you're the only one who will notice. If you can't keep your comments to yourself on this one day of Thankfulness, don't share your work. Assigning tasks will only help you be less overwhelmed if you can deal with the fact that it isn't going to be done "Your Way." Know yourself, be THANKFUL if you can, if you can't, don't let others help.

4 - Create and Follow a Cooking Schedule
Large meals require lots of planning, and often times the stove or oven get over booked. Make and follow a cooking schedule. This will help insure that you have space in the oven at the right time and right temperature. You may want to invest in one of those little portable ovens for cooking your turkey. They're less than $50 and they can free up all of your oven space for doing other things. (If you don't have room for it in your kitchen, you can plug it in elsewhere - the basement, or even the garage.) Your cooking schedule should start a day or two days before the big event and include all of your chopping, slicing, dicing, mixing...anything that is food prep related. Again, it's a good idea to figure out which pots and pans you'll need and when you'll need them.

5 - Clean up the dinner dishes (with help) before you serve dessert.
You've spent days getting ready for this meal. Lots of time, money and energy - now let some of your helpful guests ease you into the final phase. Accept their help with the mid-event kitchen clean up. Put on the coffee, get the kitchen cleaned up, and the first load of dishes into the dishwasher before you serve dessert. That way you can enjoy dessert and when everyone loads up to go home all you'll have left to do is a stack of pie plates, a few forks and some coffee cups. - Let those things wait until tomorrow. (You're family can take care of them after you've left the house for the 5am shopping bargains.)

Happy Turkey Day to All of you!!


Holiday Organization - How to get yourself set up for storing and organizing holiday photos, memorabilia and more.

The Holiday season is always stressful. Often times during the holiday season things that should be fun become overwhelming and the joy disappears. Minimize your holiday stress where scrapbooking is concerned by getting ready for the holiday season today.

Step 1
Designate a Place for Holiday Stuff.

Having a designated place to accumulate holiday materials is key. If you don’t own a TravelPack Plus, now is a good time to purchase one. You’ll also need some storage pages in a variety of designs (SuperSized Singles, Double X-Long, Fabulous Four, Perfect Six and some 8 ½ x 11 page protectors from the office supply store).
If you’re already using a TravelPack Plus, and you’ve got an empty Spinder that will work too. You can also use an empty Spinder on your ScrapRack. If you need a couple of extra Spinders you can buy a 2 Pack of Spinders and have one for your TravelPack and one for your ScrapRack base unit.
Put all of the pages on your Spinder and put it into your TravelPack Plus. Find a convenient place for the TravelPack. Remember, being able to get to it easily is one of the keys to actually use a good organization system. If you’re using a Spinder on your base unit add the empty pages to the Spinder.

Step 2
Create a Calendar for the weeks to come.

Use the templates in Microsoft Word on your computer to choose a weekly calendar blank that you can keep with your TravelPack Plus or with your ScrapRack. I prefer/recommend the type that have lots of space to write, rather than the type that have small cubes.
Print out one weekly calendar for each week, from the first of November through the second week of January.
Add any notes you already have for holiday activities or events. Be sure to write small, you’re going to be adding notes to most things as the events happen.
3 hole punch the Calendar, add some hole reinforcements to it if you’ve got them and put the calendar in front of all the pages in your TravelPack Plus or on your ScrapRack.

Step 3
Holiday Gift/Shopping List

Create a list on your computer of all the people you will give gifts to this season. Group them by type of gift or reason, i.e., your Postman, Milkman, Paperboy, Kids Teachers, etc. may all be getting a small gift or a card with a check or gratuity, they are one group. Your ScrapPals may have a gift exchange or you may want to give them each just a little something (Basic Grey’s Rub On Roller Tool or Precision Sanding Set could be perfect for these friends). There are neighbors who may be getting cookie plates, extended family and of course your immediate family. Print this list out and put it in your TravelPack Plus or on your ScrapRack. Use this section as a place to jot down notes and ideas for these people. You can remove the list when you head out for Christmas shopping. It’s generally easier to actually write down a note than it is to login to the computer find the document and add to it. If you like to keep things tidy, you could jot down the notes and then once a week or so you could add them to initial computer list.

Step 4
Accumulating Holiday “stuff”

As holiday “stuff” starts to arrive; Invitations, Community Events, School Events, Church Events, etc., Add the dates and times of the events to your calendar. Then file the flyers, invitations, etc. into the storage pages. Again, remember to write small, as you’ll probably be adding information later. Use this system to store anything that’s relevant, even notes to yourself. This is a great place to store recipes you see in magazines or online. If you see a special recipe for the cookie exchange or for a holiday meal, add it to a pocket page in your TravelPack plus. When you are ready to write shopping lists or plan for holiday baking, all of the things you need will be in one place.

Step 5
Attending Holiday Events

Once holiday events get underway, you’ll be accumulating pictures, memorabilia and hopefully some good stories to journal about. With a TravelPack set up, you can easily add memorabilia and journaling notes right into the pocket pages. This is where the space on your calendar becomes important. On the calendar make a note that you have memorabilia, journaling and photos next to the event. If you use a traditional camera and are having pictures printed, you can add a note about the pictures and where and when you dropped them for developing. If you are using digital, put a note about how you coded or labeled the pictures on your computer and what file you stored them in. Finally, use the remaining space to make notes about the event; who was there?, how much you enjoyed it? etc. . You can even put a reminder to yourself to send a “Thank-You” with a picture or two to the event host. Use the Perfect Six Storage Pages to sort, store and organize pictures that you’ve had printed.

Step 6
Will you be visiting a Scrapbook Store during the Holiday Season?

If you have a chance to get to the Scrapbook Store during the Holiday Season take your TravelPack Plus with you. You’ll have all of your memorabilia, journaling notes, and photos together in one place. This will allow you to choose Scrapbooking products that easily coordinate with things you have to “scrap about.” Put these special purchases right in with the Photos, Memorabilia, and Journaling notes. A SuperSized Single Pocket page works great for this as it will accommodate even 12x12 items.

Step 7
When you have time to Scrap

When the hectic pace of the holidays slows down and you have time to scrap about them you’ll be ready with everything in one place. You won’t have to worry about missing memorabilia, or exact dates, or knowing who was where, etc. You’ll have everything grouped together in one tidy little bundle. Whether your slow down comes in January or you have to wait for a year from January, it won’t matter because everything you need will be right there waiting for you!

One Final Tip - Capitalizing on Christmas Cards
Christmas Cards begin arriving slowly and then start to pour in. Even with the best intentions it’s sometimes hard to remember to add people to your Christmas Card List and/or return cards to them. To help with this, save each of the envelopes from Christmas Cards in one pocket page. Make a note on the envelope indicating that you’ve already sent a card or that you need to send a card. You can send the card out quickly, and then add the name to your permanent Christmas Card List after the holidays using the return address on the envelope. Also, saving all of the envelopes can help you create a really fun Scrapbook Page. Simply tear or cut all the return addresses from the envelopes and use them to create either a full page, or embellishments on a page about reconnecting with friends and family over the holiday season. Not only will you have a great page, you’ll have saved all the mailing address for your good friends.


Holiday Organization

The holiday season is so busy. Simplify your holiday life by having a plan for collecting holiday photos, memorabilia, etc. You'll be ready to Scrap as soon as you have time. Check in with me on Wednesday for a more detailed plan about how to "get it all together."
See you Wednesday,


Are you a Dining Room Table Scrapper?

One of the things I found most frustrating about scrapping at the Dining Room Table was hauling everything out and then putting it all away. I felt like I spent more time "hauling" than I did actually scrapping.
If you're a DRT and frustrated with how time consuming it is to "get ready" to scrap you need a ScrapRack Single Base System and an Office Depot CropCrate.
You'll be able to go from This: To This:

To This:

Quickly and Easily, best of all, you'll stay organized the whole time!

(Read the full article on our website, click here)

Working from the dining room table or some other “community” area can present many challenges; Shared space, organization, time for set up and clean up, supply storage, just to name a few. Scrapping itself is a time intensive hobby, if just getting ready to scrap takes too long it’s just not fun – it becomes a chore. For many dining room table (or other community space) scrappers leaving your supplies out for an extended period of time is not an option. You may have concerns about kids getting into your stuff, other family members also needing to use the area, keeping your home neat and tidy, or you just might enjoy serving dinner to your family at the table. All of these problems, obstacles, concerns can be remedied with a ScrapRack System, in fact, the ScrapRack was designed for just this purpose.

Shared Space
Working in a shared space like a dining room table or a family room area is always a quite challenging. Not only might you need to set up and clean up the area regularly, you may also need to be able to keep your supplies away from “little fingers”, and maintain organization at the same time. The best remedy for Shared Space Scrapping is a single base unit ScrapRack system. This will allow you to keep literally thousands of supplies contained in one small area. The protective storage sheets will help to keep your products clean, and free of wrinkles, bent edges, or tears, while still allowing for maximum visibility and accessibility. A ScrapRack dust cover will keep your supplies concealed while at the same time protecting them from dust and light damage. Best of all this system can quickly be “folded” down and put away.

The most successful scrappers have well organized supplies in an easy to access system. When you use the 4 Section System to organize your supplies you’ll be able to get to the things you want to use quickly and easily. Read more about the 4 Section System and the steps for getting organized by clicking here.
If you have more supplies than will fit on a single base unit (7 Spinders), you may still only need a single base. Coordinate all of your supplies on as many Spinders as you need and then store them in a closet or on a shelf for easy access. When you’re ready to work with a particular theme or category, simply take that or those Spinders off the shelf and place them on your base unit. Simple, Fast, Easy.

Setting Up and Breaking Down – Quick and Easy
The biggest and often most frustrating challenges for Scrapping in a shared space are actually getting set up and then putting things away. Not only are these things time consuming, they can be frustrating due to the fact that It’s always difficult to find what you need. Using the collapsible ScrapRack Base makes it easy to set up and breakdown.
As a single base unit user, we strongly recommend that you store your ScrapRack Spinders fully loaded, standing straight up and down in a rolling crate, like the type available at Office Depot. (The Office Depot crate sku is 987304.) One of these crates will accommodate 7 Spinders. This particular type of crate comes with a lid which will double as a moveable table for your ScrapRack.

(Read the full article on our website - click here)

Remove each Spinder from your base unit. We recommend slipping a blunt edged instrument down between the Velcro fabric on the base and the Velcro fabric on the Spinder. Something like a bone folder or the BasicGrey Rub On Roller tool works great. Gently slide the tool down the length of the Spinder and it will easily pop off into your hand. Stand the fully loaded Spinder and its pages up in the crate. Continue this process until all of the Spinders are standing upright in the crate.
Remove the wings from your ScrapRack Base Unit. These will slip easily into the back pocket of the CropCrate Apron. The CropCrate apron is available on our website and was designed to fit this particular collapsible rolling crate. If you aren’t using the CropCrate Apron, you can slip the wings into the crate with your pages.
Collapse your ScrapRack base unit. Simply remove the long silver hook from the hinge section of your base unit and fold the base flat. Again, this will fit nicely into the back pocket of your CropCrate Apron, or into the crate itself.
Put the lid on your rolling crate and store it easily in a closet or some other out of the way place in your home.
Setting up your Scrapbooking Supplies
Set up is just as easy as breaking down. Remove all of the loaded Spinders from your Crate. When the Crate is empty, replace the lid.
Set up your ScrapRack base unit by reinserting the silver hook to connect the hinge supports. Place the base unit on the lid of the crate so all 4 of the rubber feet are sitting on top of the lid and the long piano style hinge on the base unit is at the top of the unit. Insert the wings into the slots on the sides of the base.
Now, place each of the Spinders on the base unit in 4 Section System Order.
Take a seat and start scrapping. Simple, Fast, Easy.


Where to get the Tool Tower

Hi -

I've had so many requests for where to get the Tool Tower that is described in the post from August 20th, that I finally went through my files and tried to track it down. As best as I can tell, this company - "Think Inside the Box" has gone out of business. However, I believe there are similar things at stores that specialize is in organizing you home. I did find a cosmetic organizer on line at Storables that looks like it might work. It doesn't have the graduated bottom which is really nice, but it might get the job done. - Here's a link to it. Cosmetic Organizer
If anyone else finds or uses something better please let me know so I can share it with everyone. Thanks!!


Crop Organization

It's finally here! The perfect way to get your scrapbooking supplies to a crop or class without spending lots of time packing up and unpacking. With the combination of our new CropCrate Apron and a Folding/Rolling Crate from Office Depot, you'll be set for a crop for less than $50.

The CropCrate Apron will hold all of your basic tools and also has a large pocket on the left side for 12x12 paper. The CropCrate Apron is on introductory special for another few days - To see the CropCrate Apron - Click Here.

The apron fits shuggly around The Office Depot folding. The crate will hold up to 7 fully loaded Spinders. Your ScrapRack Base Unit and wings fit neatly into a pocket on the back side.

Before giong to a crop, class or friend's house to scrap:
  • Remove the spinders from your base unit.
  • Place all the loaded Spinders standing straight up in the crate. Place the base unit and wings in the back pocket.
  • Fill the front and right side pockets with all of your basic tools and pens.
  • Fill the left side pocket with 12x12 Paper.
  • Put the lid on the crate and head out the door.

When you get to your final destination, remove all the Spinders from the crate and replace the lid on the crate. Re-assemble your ScrapRack and set it on the lid of the crate. Replace the Spinders. Now you've got all of your Supplies sitting next to you at chair height and your table space is clear and ready for you to work. Using the Crate as a table for your ScrapRack at home works great too. If you're a dining room table scrapper it makes having all of your supplies available quick and easy. To learn more about The CropCrate Apron and how it can work for you follow this link CropCrate Apron - Quick and Easy Organization


Scrapbook Paper Storage and Organization

Are you a Scrapbook "Paper Junkie"?
If you are, then you could probably use a set up "Paper Junkie" Straight Up Paper Storage Boxes. (See more pictures below.)

The best way to sort, store and organize your paper is by following a basic system. If you're familiar with the 4 Section System for Supply Organization, then the 3 Section System for Paper Organization will sound familiar.

The three section system consists of sorting your papers by categories. There are 3 Major Categories for Paper:
  1. Themes A-Z
  2. The Calendar Year
  3. The Rainbow
Section 1 - Themes A-Z
These are the subjects you scrapbook about organized alphabetically.
Animals, Baby, Beach, Sports, Vacation, etc...

Section 2 - The Calendar Year
Group all of you holiday and seasonal materials together. Use dividers to indicate the change in month or season.
Section 3 - The Rainbow
This is where you store all of your solid colored papers grouped together by color. You can pull out your color wheel or just go with the old stand by ROY G BIV - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

Once you've got your papers sorted, put them into the Paper Junkie Storage Boxes. Label the boxes to match the 3 Section System. Now when you're ready to scrap a particular theme or holiday, i.e. Christmas, you don't have dig through layers of papers. You just pull to Christmas?December box off your shelf and set on your desk. You'll be able to thumb through your papers quickly and easily. You can also take the full box with you if you head off to a crop or a class to work on Christmas - Simple.

The Paper Junkie boxes in this Rainbow section have been laid over onto their backs. This makes it really easy to pull your papers straight out of the box.. The Theme Section is labeled below.

To learn more about The Paper Junkie Paper Storage Boxes, Click Here.


Get your Scrapbooking Tools Organized

Do you have trouble finding the tool you need when you need it? Do you struggle with decisions about what to take with you when you go to a crop or class?
If you've been reading my past entries you already know I'm a huge believer in the whole "less is more" theory. How does that apply to your tools? Tools can become just as overwhelming as all the other parts of this hobby. One way to control this and to keep things organized is to evaluate the tools you have and sort them into 3 categories:
  1. What I use everytime I scrap
  2. What I use half the time
  3. What I thought was a good idea when I bought it, but I barely use it now
You'll probably find that the things that you use everytime you scrap are not as numerous as you might have thought. These items need to be stored in a highly visible, easy to access space. My favorite tool storage container for the desktop is what I call the Tool Tower. This handy sorting tray has graduated or "stair-stepped" divided sections. These "stairs" push the tools in the back of the Tool Tower up above the tools in the front. Here's a picture.

Filled Tool Tower

Empty Tool Tower

In the empty picture you can see the different levels in each section of this container. It is truly ideal for storing your tools. Okay, so that takes care of the basic things, the things you use everytime you scrap. What do you do with all of those things you only use occasionally. This depends primarily on what types of tools you have. I would assume that the majority of other tools you have are cutting systems. This could mean anything from a Cricut to a Spellbinder system. More important than where you have these actual tools stored is where you might have the dies, templates, etc cataloged. Creating a catalog for these items and then keeping that catalog with your everyday tools will really maximize your tool use. I'll talk more about cataloging in my next entry. If you can store these cutters on an easy to access shelf where they will be easy to actually pull out and use, you'll get far more use out of them. Remember if you can keep you tools (all of your supplies for that matter) easily accessible and easily storable, not only will you be more likely to use them, you'll also be more likely to put them back properly when you're done using them.

What about taking tools to a crop? I'll say it again, "Less is More". When you go to a crop you want to take the things that you consider to be the very BASIC tools. Most crops offer a wide variety of cutting systems with a huge assortment of dies and templates. Don't get consumed by taking everything you've got. Instead, go with the basics - Pens, Personal Paper cutter, Adhesives, Ruler(s), Eyelet setter and scissors. If you love to use stamps and punches and/or you have lots of them, create a catalog to carry with you rather than actually taking all of those things everytime you go somewhere.

The ScrapRack TravelPack Plus offers an easy way to keep your tools under control when you head out for a crop or class. The interior pockets will accommodate everything that's a "must have."


Camping Organization - Simple Shower Kits

One of the biggest challenges when you're camping is getting everybody off to the shower with everything they need and having them return with it.

Putting together a basic shower kit is easy. Start with a Silverware Tote/caddy or other waterproof type carrier. The plastic baskets that are sold for carrying around cleaning products work well if you can find a small one. It's best if it has a handle on it. Look for one that has holes already in the bottom of it and some type of feet. If you can't find one with holes in it, get some handy person in your life to drill some small holes through the bottom of each section of the carrier.

Fill each compartment with the things you need in the shower/bathroom. Be sure all of the items you've chosen are waterproof.

Liquid Shower Gel
Toothpaste / Toothbrush
Shaving Cream

Add a couple of Jumbo sized binder clips so you can easily clip a scrubby(ies) to the tote.

If you find a tote that's large enough you can even carry a pair of cheap shower shoes for each member of your family right in the tote. They can wear their regular shoes to the shower, but use the shower shoes while they are actually in the shower. This will help to protect against foot fungus in a shared shower.

One other thing that is great to have are a couple of small "over the door" hooks. These will allow you to put them over the stall door so you can easily hang clean clothes, towels, etc. in the stall with you. Some facilities already have hooks in the stalls and some don't (or they don't have enough.)

Once your tote is stocked with all the things you need, you can take the tote right into the shower with you. Be sure everything in the tote is waterproof.

When you return back to your campsite, put the tote on an uneven surface so any water that was trapped in the tote can easily drain out through the holes in the bottom.

This whole system works best if you always keep it loaded and packed with your camping supplies. When you get home from a camping trip, check the contents and reload or refill whatever you are low on. Then pack the tote with the rest of your gear. It will be one thing you won't have to worry about next time you pack up.


Organizing your Scrapbooking Layout Ideas

Scrapbooking Magazines, Papercrafting Magazines, Emails, Websites
These are all filled with wonderful layout ideas for not only scrapbooking, but cardmaking, gifts, home decor projects and more. There's nothing more frustrating than knowing you have the perfect idea stashed away in a magazine but then not being able to find it. Idea organization can be very simple if you just provide yourself with a good system.
Let's talk about Magazine Ideas first.
Scrapbooking magazines are expensive. For some of us the idea of tearing up something we've just paid $6-$8 for is a little more than we can stomach. However, that's exactly what I'm going to tell you to do. No matter how organized you believe you are with your 25 sticky notes sticking out the side of your magazines, you just can't simplify your system with out removing the pages/ideas from your publications and reorganizing them into a better system.
One of the things that works absolutely the best with magazine layout ideas is filing them right in with the scrapbooking materials they will be used with. For those of you lucky enough to be using a ScrapRack, this process is really simple. Just remove the idea from the magazine, flip to the correct section of your ScrapRack and file the idea with your scrapbook products. I've included an example below. You can see in the lower right hand corner of this ScrapRack storage page, there's a folded layout for a Baseball themed page.

Now, when I go to work on a Baseball page, I'll see the layout idea, and I'll also see the products I have available to complete the page. The other nice thing about filing your ideas right with your products, is that when you go to the Scrapbook store to buy additional products, you can just take the Baseball Section off your ScrapRack, Velcro it into your TravelPack and when you get to the store you'll have all of your products and your design idea so you'll be able to buy the things you need without having to guess what you have at home.
Another easy way to manage your magazine layout ideas is to start a notebook, much like the notebook you may have in your kitchen for recipes and other household information. Fill the notebook with dividers and 8.5 x 11 page protectors. Label the dividers to correspond with the categories in your 4 Section System of Supply organization. Now, as you pull ideas out of your magazines, you can slip them right into page protectors in your notebook. You can take the notebook with you to crops or just keep it at home for easy reference.

What about ideas you see on the internet?
This is what "Scrap-Lifting" is all about. Start a file on your computer for ideas. Inside that file, put other files labeled for each of the categories in your 4 Section Organization System (read about the 4 Section System - click here, Watch a brief video about it - click here)
When you come across a design idea on the internet, click to enlarge the image if possible, then copy and paste it into the appropriate folder in your computer. when you need ideas for that particular theme, you can open the file folder and browse by design subject. When you find the one you want to use, you either keep it open on your computer (if you're working at home) or you can print it out and take it with you to the crop.
What if you know exactly which pictures you want to use with that particular
layout idea?

If the idea is in a magazine you can always just pull it out and put it with the pictures. If the image is online, and you're not ready to print the pictures yet, just copy and paste the image of the layout idea right into the file folder where you have your pictures stored. If you want to be able to get back to that image on it's original website, you can either Hyperlink it to the picture, or just copy and paste the URL into the "tag" box on the picture. (If you have questions about either of these procedures email me or comment on this blog and I'll get back to you with details and "how-to"s.) In either case, you'll have the layout idea right with the pictures, exactly where you need it.


Drowning in Paper - Mail, Recipes, Coupons, Etc?

One of the biggest challenges with organization is discipline. Why is that? Discipline usually means work, and work takes time, and time is something most of us don't have. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Once you take the time to establish a system for getting your papers organized you'll save tons of time and feel better about the clutter that has surrounded your life.
Here are a few tips for taking control of the paper that flows through your door.

Mail - this is the biggie.
Don't take the mail out of your mailbox until you have 5 minutes to open, sort, and store it appropriately.

Have a designated space for the types of things that come in through the mail. You can use a "bill" sorter - one of those compartmentalized sorters that has a slot for everyday of the month, a simple note book, or just a set of file folders. Whatever you are using, be sure it is set up in an easy to access place. If you can get to your "storage" system easily, you are more likely to actually stick with your system.

Sort, Store, and Toss in one sitting. As with all things organization, handling it as few times as possible is key to success. When you're ready to sort your mail, do it near a garbage can. I get most of my mail at a PO Box. I've found it really helpful to take advantage of the locked recycle containers and sorting tables that are available there. Everything comes out of envelopes, promotional mailings go into that recycle container along with envelopes, junk mail etc. Those items never make it to my desk. It keeps things very simple. Because I spend so much time on the road, I keep all of my mail in an easy to transport notebook. I've included an image here. It's easy to slip things into each divided section. At the beginning and ending of each day I flip through the notebook to see what needs to be taken care of that day or the next day. When I do my flip through I am also able to remove things that have been taken care of. This is a great method if you need your mail/bills/calendar to be mobile.

Calendar Information
Use one section of your sorting system for your calendar and any flyers, clippings, etc. that you might need for reference later. Make a note on the appropriate date that you have a flyer or the other information filed. This is where I keep a printed copy of the school calendar for my kids.

Notes to Self
If you are regularly jotting things down on scraps of paper, this notebook system works great. Just simply add the note to the correct section of your notebook so it will pop up each day when you do your "flip-through" review. As thngs on the notes get accomplished, you can simply throw them away.

Lastly - Eliminate as much of it as you can. Ask to be removed from mailing lists for catalogs, brochures and other types of promotional materials. If you want to stay aware of what these companies are offering, create a second email account for sales/promotional email subscriptions. That way when you want to see what's available, you can go to that email account and get caught up on all the latest and greatest from your favorite companies. You can even get the coupon mailers from companies like Target, Walmart and Office Depot right online. You may even find that you save some money by switching over, because you won't be as tempted to puchase items you really don't need, just because they're "On-Sale." If this makes you nervous try to think - next week there will be other wonderful items "On-Sale" and I'll have another opportunity to buy something else. :-)

Recipes and other important tidbits of household information.
Okay, I have to go back to my "Less is More" philosophy. The more you have to look at the less likely it will be to get used. The less you have to look at or through the more likely it will be to get used. If you love to try to recipes, but find yourself covered in them, there are really two options. Limit yourself to the recipes you are going to use immediately. If you clip a recipe choose the day that you will be preparing that meal, clip the recipe to your shopping list and use it right away.
If you're a recipe collector
Get yourself a 3 ring notebook, a couple of sets of tabbed dividers, some standard 3 hole punched notebook paper, and a roll of scotch tape or some other type of easy to use adhesive. Label each of the Dividers by recipe type, Appetizers, Cakes, Dinners, Breakfast, etc. Now when you clip a recipe, you can simply tape it to a sheet of notebook paper in the appropriate place in your notebook. The lined paper allows you to make notes about the recipe after you've prepared it. If the recipe wasn't good, take it out of the notebook and through it into your recycle bin - remember less is more, if it's something you won't use again because it just wasn't good, there's no reason to keep it.
Household tips
Tips for cleaning and other tidbits of household information can find a fast easy home in your recipe notebook. Just create a tab for each of those items as well. Some of the tabs might be:
Cleaning, Party Ideas, Decorating ideas, Gardening, etc. Whatever your interests are you'll find that you make better use of these ideas when you remove them from newspapers, magazines or your computer and put them into an easy to access notebook.
One last tip - if you need to put little "booklet" type things into your notebooks (recipe booklets, etc.) this can be done easily with a "Hold-It" adhesive spine. These little clear plastic strips are half adhesive and half 3 hole punched. Click here to learn more about them. They also work great if you're creating a notebook for Owners Manuals, Warranty Information, etc. This is a good piece of information to pass on to your hubby. He can add one of these strips to all of the owners manuals for his power tools, TVs, household appliance, etc. and put them all into one notebook quickly and easily. It's helpful to keep a package of them in a pocket inside your notebook. Click Here for a link to the Hold-it Spines if you need them for your notebooks.


Drowning in Paper? Recipes, Mail, Notes, and more

Do you feel like your surrounded by paper? Recipes, Notes, Mail.....one of our readers has asked for tips on organizing those little pieces of paper that seem to smother us like Hot Fudge on Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - hey, wait a minute, that's a good kind of smother. Anyway, you get the idea.
I'm off to the CK Show in Philadelphia tomorrow, but I'll put some thoughts together on this different type of "scrap organization" over the weekend and try to get them posted on Monday.
Thanks for the questions and suggestions!


There is no "Miscellaneous" category in organization.

As you sort, store and organize your supplies, avoid using a "Miscellaneous" category. This category goes completely against the basic purpose of organization. Here are a few reasons people try to use a miscellaneous category and some solutions you can use to avoid it.

    Reason #1
    You only have 1 item that would go into that theme/category and you don't think it's a good idea to start a category for just 1 thing.

    You're probably right about the fact that you don't want to start a category for just one thing. - I said, probably - here's an exception:
    The item was purchased for a future need and you're likely to buy more items for that future need (i.e. you're planning a Disney Trip with your kids in the summer so you purchased this item for use after that trip). Start the section NOW so you'll be able to easily store things as you acquire them. None of us Scrappers has a shopping problem, so you may not buy anymore Disney stuff, but just incase….

    Storing the item without creating a new section:
    If the one thing you're trying to store is something you got in a crop goody bag, won as a door prize, or bought at such a great price you couldn't pass it up and it's an item you'll probably never use, let's say - a Bungee Jumping Embellishment - but hey, it was cheap or free, so you might as well keep it where do you store it?

    Just in case you decide later in life that you're going to take up Bungee Jumping, store that item, in this case, the Bungee Jumping Embellishment, in the section that best represents it, so if you don't have a section for "things that might make me throw up" try filing it somewhere like Sports.

    Something you bought for a future use, but you probably won't buy any more
    Okay, if you picked up one item - pink silk flowers, for you niece's ballet pictures - but you don't have any other ballet stuff, and you don't want to forget about the flowers when you scrap those pictures, you can do one of two things - store the flowers with the pictures, or you can store the flowers in the Pinks/Red section of your rainbow and include a note with the pictures, reminding you that you bought the flowers and where you stored them. You can write a physical note if you have already printed the pictures, or just include a "tag" with the pictures on your computer so when you actually print the pictures you'll remember the flowers.

    Reason #2 - There is no category it fits into.
    This is most common when we're talking about words and quotes. If you have words or quotes that are generic, that weren't purchased for any specific intention, they can be challenging to sort and store.

    Create a Category in your Theme's Section, under "W" labeled W.O.W. - Words of Wisdom. When ever you get words or quotes that are non-specific, you can store them in this section. Use caution though, It's easy to slide something into the WOW section just because it's a word(s) but it would really belong somewhere more specific like - "Happy Birthday" - which should go into your Birthday Section, or "Go Team," which of course should go into your Sports section.

    Reason #3 -You'll be using them very soon.
    If you've got item that you are planning on using at the next crop, class, or even just the next time you scrap, you may want to file them using the Ready, Set, Crop Method. Here's a link to a short vide about that easy and efficient system

    In a nutshell - if you keep the following two basic ideas in mind - you'll be able to easily abolish your "Miscellaneous" category.
    · Keep things together you would use together.

    · If you bought something specifically for a set of pictures or an event, store it with the other items you will use when scrap those pictures.


Digital Photo Organization - 5 Tips to Getting Organized

That's the best word to describe how many pictures I've taken since I went digital. If there's one reason to stick to a traditional camera and film, getting your digital pictures organized is it! Okay, now that I've had time to rant I'll get down to business.
I love all the options digital photography allows. I love being able to take dozens or even hundreds of pictures and then choosing the very best.
Here are 5 Tips to help you get your digital photos organized. As always, if you have comments or questions, please feel free to add them in the comments box below this entry or email me directly.

Tip 1
Download when you have time to sort.
Try to download your pictures when you will also have time to sort and label them. This is especially important if you aren't prone to deleting bad images off your camera as you're taking them. If you allow too many sets of pictures to get stacked up on your computer without being sorted, you'll get Overwhelmed, and for must of us that makes it hard to get things done.

Tip 2
How many layouts will you do of this one Theme, Event, Person?
Before you start sorting your pictures, decide how many layouts and in what size you will do of this particular Theme, Person, Event, etc. Then choose the best images and the right quantity of images you'll need to complete those layouts.

Tip 3
Delete, Delete, Delete
Once you've chosen the images you'll use in the layouts, DELETE the rest of the images from that event. Storing those images will take up space on your computer, but more importantly you'll end up spending an equal amount of time looking through them later to re-choose the images for the layout. If you can't Delete them (some of us Mamas are too attached to delete), Move all of them into a "Miscellaneous Photos" folder on your desktop. That way if you ever wanted to go back and find them you could but they won't be a distraction later.

Tip 4
Label consistently
One of the best things about digital photo storage is that you can tag the photos so that they will come up under a variety of searches. In order to really make this work you need to tag your images consistently and keep a list of the tags you use.
I use a birthday type calendar to do this. Next to each person's name on the calendar I have their personal code, i.e. my son's name is London Thomas, highlighted next to his name is the code LT. All pictures that include him have an LT tag.
At the back of the calendar I have a list of other common tags, ie, Bday = Birthday, SCH = School, etc. that way if I want to find all of London's School pictures, I can just search for LT + SCH and I will get all of his school photos at one time.
For Holidays, I note the code on the month/holiday, i.e., XC = Christmas. Again when you search for images you can just use the codes. It's a little bit of work up front, but has big payoffs later.
Click here to see a cool "scrappy" Birthday Calendar Base that you can decorate yourself. These make GREAT gifts for friends and family, a perfect Christmas gift for Grandma and Grandpa.

Tip 5
Attach Additional Information
Include a word document in the file with the images for journaling notes, location of corresponding memorabilia (if there is any), or any other miscellaneous information (special supplies you've purchased, etc) you might need when you go to print and then scrap these pictures.
If you've found a good layout design somewhere on the Internet copy and paste that image and any other information you might have about it into this file as well. Again, it will pop up when you need it and where you need it.

Want to learn a few tips and tricks for preparing your printed images, etc. for cropping? Click here to see The Ready, Set, Crop kit and watch a short video.


Photo Sorting, Storing, and Organizing

Is there one among us who doesn't have enough photos? If you're out there you are an anomaly to be admired. With the advent of and affordability of digital photography the number of photographs we take is off the charts. Did you know PhotoBucket hosts over 7 Billion photos - that's almost as many photos as McDonald's has sold burgers and McDonald's has been around since the 50's. Okay, enough blather - how to sort and organize those pictures is what we're really concerned about.

Maximum Efficiency -
If you want to get the most out of your photo sorting and storing time, follow these steps:
  1. Decide how many layouts you will do for the particular event you are sorting.
  2. Choose 4 to 6 pictures from the event for each 12x12 layout you will (adjust quantity if you are working with a different sized layout).
  3. Group the pictures by layout and store them in a Perfect Six Storage Page.
  4. Pull any memorabilia that goes with the pictures and store that in either a Double X-Long Page or in a SuperSized Single Page.
  5. Attach the pages to a Spinder and put them in your Ready, Set, Crop TravelPack.
  6. Giveaway or throw away the pictures you aren't going to use in your layout. (If you can't do this, use the filing method described below - but I strongly recommend you pass these along, you've chosen the best for your scrapbook already.)
  7. Watch a YouTube Video on this process:

Sorting and Storing - Printed Photos
Can I just say Well Labeled and Chronological. If you have tons of pictures and don't want to actually prepare them for scrapbooking as discussed above, use this quick easy method to at least get them organized into some storage boxes.
Group the photos by event in each box by folding a sheet of paper in half and putting the group of photos within the paper.
Here's an example of what you might write on your folded piece of paper.

On the folded paper you can easily note: Event, Date, and some journaling notes. If you've got small pieces of memorabilia you can include these right in with the photos. If you've got larger pieces of memorabilia that you are storing elsewhere, include a note on the folded piece of paper about what the memorabilia is and and where it can be found. This will make it quick and easy to find the memorabilia before you start scrapping the pictures.
File the "packet" inside your storage box in chronological order.

Store them in well labeled boxes, this is best accomplished by labeling the box you are storing them in on all 4 sides. That way, not matter how or where you put the box away, you'll be able to read the label.
I like to use these clear plastic storage boxes for several reasons.
  1. They are wide enough to hold a variety of picture sizes.
  2. The easily accommodate 81/2 x 11 paper which is what I use to create my packets.
  3. They are clear so you can get a glimpse of what's inside.
  4. They are stackable.
  5. They are inexpensive and reusable.
I hope this information has proven helpful in your quest to make life easier and more organized. Join me later this week when we tackle Photo Storage and Organization on your computer. We'll talk about easy ways to sort, catalog and find images within your computer.


Organizing Scrapbook Ideas and Patterns

Stay Consistent - That's my Mantra :-)

One of the things that makes you successful with organization is developing a strong system and then sticking with it. When it comes to organizing Scrapbooking Ideas and/or Paper Piecing Patterns you want to stay with the same system as with all of your other supplies. My best recommendation is of course the 4 Section System of Supply Organization - click the link to learn more.

I'm also a huge advocate of the guide - "Keep things together you would use together." What does this mean in terms of Scrapbooking ideas and patterns? It means rather than storing all of your ideas or patterns together, store them where they will pop up when you need them, i.e. if you've got a great layout idea for a Baseball page, store that idea with your Baseball supplies in your Sports Section. You can see an illustration of this in the image above, a page from one of the Scrapbooking Magazines has been removed from the magazine and stored in the Baseball Pocket Page. Now, when you are ready to work on Baseball pages, you'll find all of your products and ideas for using them in the same place.
What do you do with General Layout Ideas or Patterns?
If you've pulled an idea out of a magazine just because you like the "design" concept, or if you have a paper piecing pattern that fits that same criteria, you can just store them all together in a notebook of general design ideas.
Keeping ideas on you computer
With many of the Scrapbooking Magazines going out of business, the Internet has become a huge source for layout ideas. If you're "Scrap-lifting" off the computer, start a SCRAPLIFT file on you desktop for idea storage. Create individual files within the SCRAPLIFT File for each of your themes or categories i.e. Beach, Sports, Christmas, General Design, etc.. Each time you find an idea you, like copy and paste it into the appropriate file. You can name the image with relevant search information like: Christmas, snow, Scrapbooking.com, etc. That way when you do a search for ideas with Snow these layout or patterns will show up in your search. If you're a visual person, once you get several ideas in each folder, print them all together in a "Proof" sheet or "Wallet" sized image sheet and file the printed sheet in your 4 Section System - again, they'll pop up when you need them.
If you'd like to learn more about Scrapbook Supply Organization and the best tool for getting organized visit us at The ScrapRack - Click Here.


Scrapbooking Idea Organization - Tomorrow's Topic

Join me tomorrow for a brief discussion about how to organize your Scrapbooking Patterns and Page/Layout ideas. If you have suggestions or comments please feel free to send them in today!


Organized Camping

Food -
Try to prepare as much ahead of time as possible.
  1. Slicing veggies for cooking before you go and storing them in ziplock bags makes it really easy to put meals together.
  2. Put meats into ziplock bags with marinade prior to leaving the house also, that way you just put them right onto the grill.
  3. Precook Pasta - This is a great trick. Boiling water at higher altituds can take forever. If you've got kids that love to eat Spaghetti, precook it, again, put it in a ziplock bag, reheat it in a shallow pan that has just enough water in it to heat the pasta.
  4. Pancake? Again, portion out all the ingredients into a ziplock bag. When you're ready to cook the pancakes, add the water (milk, eggs, yogurt - whatever) directly into the bag. Mush it all up, then cut the corner off the bag and easily pour the pancake batter out onto your griddle.
Make a Checklist
It's always easier to remember everything you are going to need if you make a checklist and then check things off as they are packed. Group your checklist by major category, i.e., Dry Foods, Refrigerator, Freezer, Cooking Supplies, Outdoor Living (tents, chairs, sleeping bags).

Make the kids a checklist
Preparing for a camping trip can be overwhelming. It's good for your family to know how much work you're doing, not to mention teaching them to do this for themselves. Depending on the age of your children their checklists will vary, but make them one that is age appropriate and get them involved. I know as a mom, sometimes it's just easier to do it all yourself, but don't miss out on this opportunity to lighten your load and help the kids develop their organization skills at the same time. If you're nervous about what might end up in their backpacks, have them lay all their items out on their beds along with the list, then you can go in for the actual "pack" and be sure everything is as it should be.

Label Everything
We're pretty regular campers, so I find it easier to have all of the totes labeled - this also provides a method for double checking the contents of each tote before I stack it in the garage for loading (loading isn't my job - thankfully).

Stage Things
We have two shelves in the garage that are used for staging. Before we go on a trip of any sort I stage everything that needs to go on those shelves. This allows me to pack up over the course of a couple of days, to check things off the list, and to insure that the things won't get moved by someone else and then left behind. The last thing I do before we leave the house is check to be sure those staging shelves are empty. Everyone in the house adds to the staging area as they pack up.

Tomorrow's Topic - Organized Camping with Kids

Check in tomorrow - I'm just packing up for a camping trip and trying to find more great ideas for making this fun experience even easier.

Embellishment Organization

One of the biggest challenges with embellishment organization is that there are so many little things to keep track of. Don't get frustrated, get organized. Combine and Conquer your embellishments by using the 4 Section System. Click here to read more about the 4 Section System.
To get your embellishments organized group them together based on the 4 Section System. Once they are sorted you can store them in the same categories. I of course recommend using The ScrapRack Storage Pages.
To take better control of those little things use small zip-lock type storage bags.
Once you've got everything sorted and stored, you can use either a TravelPack Plus to keep them all together or just put them onto a ScrapRack Base Unit.


New to this Blog Thing

Okay -
After much coercion from friends, family, students, and customers I'm going to give this Blog thing a shot. As most of you know I'm always looking for the fastest most efficient way to organize things, anything - Scrapbooking Supplies, Our Offices, Park's Garage, the kids backpacks.....the list is endless as are the ideas. I'm hope you'll check in often to see what we're writing about. I'm looking forward to hearing your comments and helping you to solve your Organization dilemmas.