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.