Purge Patrol - Love it more when you have less!

 If the very idea of eliminating something that is still useful induces nausea or gives you hives, rest assured you’re not alone.  There are many reasons we have trouble getting rid of “stuff”:

1.       We’ve attached to that stuff/thing “emotionally”.

2.       We don’t want to be wasteful -  financially, ecologically, or just generally .

3.       We have a huge fear that at some point this particular item might be “PERFECT” and if we throw it away now we could be jeopardizing some major crafting success in the future.
Before you can address these concerns, you have to first identify your goals in getting organized.  Identifying your goals will result in a huge increase in your “Want” Power.
Keep your goal simple – one or two sentences at the most, i.e.; “I want to be more organized so I can spend more time crafting – less time digging and searching for supplies.”  “I want to be able to get 10 pages done in a weekend;  that will feel great, I’ll be the envy of all my friends, my husband will be so proud of me...”    Commit your simple goal to memory and/or write it down and post it where you can see it regularly. 
The simple truth is; the more you have, the longer it takes to find what you need.  Many times, this translates to:  using what’s closest/easiest.  This isn’t only true in your craft supplies, it’s true all over your home/life.  If you have 6 sets of sheets, you probably take the set off the top of the pile, when you remake your bed.  If you have a pile of 20 T-Shirts, you probably wear one of the first 3-4. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the male world. My sons would prefer to;  go down to the laundry room, pull the top shirt off their laundry pile, put it on and head to school rather than carrying the pile upstairs and putting their laundry away – “they’re just going to end up on top of the dryer again in a day or two mom, why do we need to do the extra steps?”  (Let me apologize to their future wives now – I’m doing the best I can.)
Now that we’ve got the backstory, let’s move on . 
If your goals are driving you to become more organized, there’s a significant chance that you need to rid yourself of some “stuff.”  If you don’t think there is anything in your craft supply collection that you can live without, stop reading here and start crafting!
For the rest of you – follow these easy steps.

ü  Create a purge box. (I use a paper storage box because it is tall and narrow)

ü  Identify a final resting place for your “purge.”  (I give to the local Children’s Hospital)

ü  Put the box somewhere that is EASILY ACCESSIBLE. (Mine is under my desk next to the trash can – always within arm’s reach.)
Let’s go back and revisit the reasons we have trouble getting rid of stuff.

1.       Emotionally attached – you’ll be able to remedy this “attachment” by using emotional transference. Choose a person, group, charity that will appreciate the items as much as you do. This makes it far easier to let them go.  In my case the Children’s Hospital where my youngest son spent the first 2 weeks of his life.

2.       Wastefulness – The money has already been spent, if I may be so bold as to say, the money has already been “wasted.”  Keeping products around that you won’t use, is now creating additional waste; Your Space, Your Time, and Your Energy…are just a couple of examples.  In the right hands or in the right can, these products will no longer be “wasting” stuff.   If money is your biggest concern, bag these items up and sell them by the pound on ebay, or simply take the tax deduction for donating them to your favorite charity.

3.       Future Crafting Success – what about your crafting success in the present?  If you’re not getting things done because you’re too busy “searching” through things you don’t need, to find the things you want to use – you’re sacrificing sure success today, for possible success in the future – does that make any sense?  No.
Let the Purging begin!
Whether you’re doing a major “Organization Project” like the Get Organized Challenge, or you’re just hoping to implement better systems as you move forward,  the Purge box will aid your success.  As you come across products in your supply collection you’ll have a variety of different reactions:
“Wow, this is outdated.” – Easy to put into your purge box.
“Gee this is ugly – I wonder what motivated me to buy it?” – Into the Purge Box.
“What would I ever use this for?” – If you’ve got an answer put it into the correct section of your 4 Section System, if there’s no answer, you guessed it – Purge Box.
As you work in your craft area, every time you put your hands on something, ask yourself – “What would I use this for?”  Then put it away or Purge it away.  If you get really stuck you can enlist your “Want Power” by asking yourself -  “How will keeping this item move me closer to my goal?, Move me closer to what I WANT?”
Good Luck and Please let me know how your Purging Progresses!
Post on our Facebook Page – click here
Email me at: CustomerService@TheScrapRack.com with Purge Progress in the Subject line.
Thanks for stopping by,


The World Wide Sock Sort

I was going to call this challenge the “Great American Sock Sort” but then I realized we have readers all over the world, so the World Wide Sock Sort it is – this we’re  thinking globally, but acting locally – right in our own bedrooms.
The goal this week is to eliminate any socks that are un-wearable, (holes and such) any socks that are lonely (missing mates), socks that are too small, too big, too ugly,…..etc., and to arrange the socks you have into an easily accessible organizer.
What you’ll need:
A garbage bag
A donate bag
Possible gas mask – if you have teenage boys
At least one sock organizer per dresser – maybe more
Time: 20-30 minutes
What is a Sock Organizer?
  A Sock Organizer can be anything you’ll use to keep your socks in place in the drawer.  You can buy then everywhere from the Wal-Mart to Ikea.  You can also use things you may already have around your home like regular shoe boxes.  The depth of your drawers might dictate the right sorter for you.  I’m a bigger advocate of the things that are rectangular in shape than the diamond shape type of organizer.  I just think it is “easier” to fill the rectangle or square more efficiently than the diamond.
Step 1 - Do all the laundry.
  This is important because you want to be confident that all of the socks have been washed and are in the correct rooms.
Step 2 – Plan your route
I started in the laundry room.  I took the sock basket, which had a few strays after doing the laundry, and headed into the furthest away bedroom.  I love moving around on a “mission” and having a route feels that way.  Plus if you stay the course, you’ll leave a completed room behind. Ahhhh, nice.
Step 3 – Empty the drawer
 Its quick work to empty a sock drawer and determine what is “wearable” – the unwearables go into the garbage bag.  The old Baseball socks, Soccer socks, etc. that have been hanging around my kids drawers since grade school went into the “donate” bag.  Other items that joined them in the donate bag were “gift socks”.  You know these types of socks, the colors, textures, fabrics, prints, designs….etc. that are just not your style – but they were a gift of some sort and you felt obligated to keep them – DONATE!!! 
 The donate bag should also be the lucky recipient of gift socks that you love, but you’ve NEVER, and most likely will never, wear.  If you were given a pair of pink socks with Bling around the cuff, 5 years ago, and you think they’re adorable, but they just aren’t “you” – but you’re torn because you love them and your favorite aunt sent them to you, and blah, blah, blah – either donate them or “re-gift” them to someone who will wear them.
  If you’re having trouble, try to think about how much easier it will be to find the socks you want to wear when you don’t have to dig past the socks you’ll never wear.  Think about how much easier it will be to put the laundry away when you don’t have to constantly rearrange things you don’t wear.
  As you sort through, pull out the wearables, and set them aside.  It will be fastest and easiest to reload the drawer if you can start with empty.

Empty the drawer.
Holey socks go in the garbage.
Step 4 – Organize
  Socks definitely come in different styles and have different uses.  Just like other things, you want to keep things together that go together.   Short gym socks, long gym socks, hiking socks, dress socks….etc.  The nice thing about things you wear constantly  - gym socks or black dress socks, is that they can be “stacked” .  Stacking is the most space efficient way to store socks, it’s very visible, accessible and doesn’t add any wear and tear to the elastic in the sock.  

“To ball or not to ball” – I’m not an advocate of “sock balling”.  Besides that fact that it takes up more space, things like holes, stains, and mis-matches are often concealed when socks are in a ball.  I’m a folder.  Besides the other things mentioned about balling, when you fold your socks, you always get the matching length – for some women it’s knee highs, for men it’s dress socks, for me it’s hiking socks.  These types of socks all look the same, yet come in different lengths. Folding them insures that they are perfectly matched with their mate of length (did I mention I’m a little obsessive.)

Step 5 – Set some limits
  This sounds a little bit silly, “Set your sock limit.”  Keep in mind that the reason you want to be more organized is so that your life is easier, less frustrating, not overwhelming, faster, more efficient, etc.  Whatever your reason(s), and you may have others – when you have too much, when you have more than you need (this is individually relative), you won’t meet that goal.  Ask yourself, how many pairs of gym socks do you need?  If you wear one pair a day to work out, and you do laundry twice a week, you could probably be happy with 4 pairs of gym socks, keep 7 to be safe.  This will make it even easier to “thin the sock herd.”    Define the amount of space, the number of socks, etc.  For me – I limit my regular wear socks to one Ikea sorter.  “Special socks” like ski socks are stored with the things I use them with, i.e. my ski pants, jacket, hat, and socks are all stored together. 
Step 6 – Put your socks away
Before you start refilling your sock drawer, think first about which socks you use all the time.  Which socks you use less frequently.  Be sure you are putting the most used socks in the easiest to access, and easiest to reload location in your sock drawer. 

Shoe boxes make execellent sock sorters if your drawers are deep enough.



Back to Basics - Why you need a 4 Section System

  What better place to start than at the beginning.  The key to being organized is having a system that is easy to use, easy to remember and easy to stick with.  Think about your system  as a foundation – it’s the thing that gives stability, ensures longevity, and provides security.  Many of us have started an organization task based on a specific storage container or space without ever considering a “system” for organizing.  In these situations what we’re actually is doing is “storing” or “containerizing”, we’re not actually organizing.  To be organized you must;  Function within a formal structure (a system), leave nothing out (take into consideration all the parts, pieces and uses)  be efficient in arrangement and function.
1. Functioning within a formal structure
2. Formed into a structured or coherent whole.
3. Methodical and efficient in arrangement or function.
   Since my goal with this email format is to keep the information short, easy to read and understand in small pieces, today I’m only going to tackle the first part of the definition – “Functioning within a Formal Structure”. 
  The formal structure we use for organizing our craft supplies is called the 4 Section System; a simple name for a very formal structure.  Don’t be afraid - formal doesn’t mean difficult.  In fact, in this circumstance the formality of the system makes things very simple.

Think of organizing your supplies into these 4 major categories:
  1. Alphabets, Numbers and Punctuation Marks
  2. Themes and Sentiments A-Z
  3. The Calendar Year
  4. The Rainbow
 These are large categories that will encompass a huge variety of products and ideas but at the same time they are very simple, which makes it very easy for your brain to connect to them.  Let’s talk a minute about how the brain works.  Your brain stores information by the spider web method, which means that one thing connects to another thing (or maybe several other things) to get you the information you need.

As an example – you walk by a restaurant and smell something delicious.  Your brain spider webs around trying to define that smell: you remember it from being a kid – you remember your mom putting big dollops of sour cream in it -  Ah… Beef Stroganoff!  You may or may not realize the route your brain has taken to get you to the answer, you just know you’ve got the answer.  After reading this, and maybe listening to me harp on you about “thinking about thinking”, you may become far more aware of what your brain is doing - and that’s a good thing.  Thinking requires practice just like playing the piano or doing algebra.  People who play the piano, do algebra, or speak French reach a certain level of expertise when all of those things become very natural to them.  They do it without thought – it’s a “thoughtless” exercise.  Most of us who don’t play the piano, speak French or do algebra think that these people are amazing as they are. But there’s another level of pianists, French linguists, and mathematicians who consciously “think” about their skills.  These people are constantly improving their systems through the process of “thought.”

 If we organize by what comes without thinking, we tend to “containerize” rather than “organize.”  This is what happens when we just put things in a box on the shelf without “thinking” about:

How will I remember what’s in this box?
How will I get things out of the box?
How easy will it be to put things back in the box?
How easy will it be to direct someone else to the box?
How easy will it be to take the things that are in the box to a crop or class?
Etc., Etc.

 Do these questions seem overwhelming and exhausting? When you have a good system in place that addresses them, they’re answered without being asked because you’ve already thought about them.

That is the beautiful thing about the 4 Section System:  the questions are answered.  So let’s talk about each section in detail and address some of the common and not-so-common questions that come up.

Section 1 – Alphabets, numbers and punctuation marks
  This is the place to sort, organize and store all of your alphabet stuff that isn’t theme or sentiment specific.  It doesn’t matter what type of product it is, if it’s alpha numeric and not theme specific you’re going to find a way to store it (or a representation of it) in this section.
  Because this section is about letters and words, I think about it as a whole – anything that relates to non-specific letters and words.  This means things like Journaling Templates or Title Templates, Journaling Stamps, etc. are also going to be represented in this section.  If you’ve got Titletopia from Creative Memories, this is the section where it belongs.
  Common questions:
  Should I group my alphabets by color in this section?  No, group your alphas by size.  This will make it easy to find the size you need quickly and easily.  It will really help when you’re trying to spell something out, but the particular color you want doesn’t have all of the letters you need.  Having your alphas grouped by size will make it easy to see that you’ve got the same font in a different color.
  Should I separate my chipboard type letters and put all of the “a’s, b’s, c’s together? Yes and No. I prefer to keep my chipboard type letters together by type and size - again, that makes it easier to know what I’ve got in that particular size category.  With that said, I will separate abc, def, ghi, etc. - into individual pockets. 

  Section 2 – Themes and Sentiments A-Z
  Baby, Birthday, Camping, Family, Graduation, Outdoors, Retirement…..All of these categories belong in your second section.  The categories are based on what YOU scrap/craft about – everyone’s will be different.  Put them in alphabetical order so they are easy to find, easy to use, easy to put away, and easy to add new items!  Are you seeing a pattern – EASY is important when things are easy we get them done

Common Question:
  Should I combine my cardmaking, mixed media and scrapbooking supplies all in one system? – YES!!!! All of these things can be used in all of these crafts.  No matter what type of craft you are doing, you are always working with a particular idea in mind.  If you’re making a birthday page, a birthday card, a birthday gift bag, or a birthday canvas – you’re going to find all of the supplies for that particular project in one place – Birthday.

 Section 3 – The Calendar Year
  January, February, March…Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall… you can use either or a mix of both in The Calendar Year Section. Grouping products together by month or season is really helpful when it comes to maximizing your use of seasonal products. 
Common Question:
  Why do I need a Calendar Year Section?  Why can’t I just put Halloween under “H”, Thanksgiving under “T” and Autumn under “A” (or Fall under “F”) – then I could eliminate this whole section? 
  In order to get the most use out of your supplies, it’s important to keep things together that could be used together.  If you separate Halloween from Fall and Thanksgiving, you’ll have to look in multiple places to find things like leaves and pumpkins that could work on any of those pages or projects.

Section 4 – The Rainbow
  ROY G. BIV and then some.  This section is the perfect place to store everything from Eyelets to Flowers.  This is where you’ll store anything that doesn’t fit into one of the first 3 sections.  These things will get grouped together by color - YIKES!  Does the idea of storing your flowers in the same container as your glitter, and your ribbons in the same container as your bottle caps, give you hives or make you nauseous?  I’m here to tell you nothing horrible will happen when you let your embellishments mingle.  In fact, you’ll be delighted with the outcome.    There are 3 really great things that happen when you store your embellishments by color.

1.     You can find what you’re looking for so much more quickly.  Need a blue brad? Flip to the Blue section and Bam – there it is.
2.     You’ll use more of your products, but you’ll also use more of your knowledge.  Look back through your scrapbooks, cards or other projects.  You’ll find that your projects reflect the most recent technique or product type you’ve learned to use.  They reflect whatever is easiest to grab on your workspace, which is usually the newest thing. Have you ever heard Jerry Seinfeld talk about the stages of garbage? Well, there are stages of craft supplies too.
3.     Lastly, you’ll become a better designer.  Instead of thinking this page needs a “blue brad” you’ll begin to think differently – “This page needs something blue and textured.”  Flipping to the blue section will inspire you to use more in different ways.

Common Questions:
  Who is ROY G. BIV?  Roy is an acronym that represents the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. 
  What about other colors?  You will definitely need more colors in your Rainbow section than the basic Rainbow colors.  Most likely you’ll want to add Black, White, Browns/Neutrals, and Metallics.


Finding the Will Power to get Organized

Being organized, Getting organized, and Staying organized, have so much to do with finding time and motivation.  In the hectic world we live in extra time is very difficult to come by and staying energized at the end of a busy day for an organization task can be less than motivating.
   If you’ve taken any of my online classes or you’ve come to see me speak live, you know I’m constantly talking about your brain and the power it wields in your organization process.
  Since we just concluded the first “Get OrganizedChallenge” of the year, I thought this would be a good time to share with you my latest, greatest find in motivation;  The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph. D.

  This book does an excellent job explaining how willpower works and the importance of not only “will” power, but also the importance of “want” power, and “won’t” power.  It’s always easier to follow through on something when you have better understanding and this book was an eye-opener.

 The Willpower Instinct uses humor, history, and entertaining anecdotes to explain what is happening in your mind that either aides or impedes your success.

  One of the best parts of the book are the “Experiments” at the end of each chapter. These small tasks give you the step-by-step instructions for putting your new knowledge to work.  I initially purchased this book on Audible so I could listen while I was walking.  After completing the listening I purchased the hard copy so I would have continued and easy access to the “experiments.”

  What would I recommend for you?  If you have a hard time finding time to read, I would certainly recommend the Audible Version.  It’s better to at least “hear” the information than it is to buy the book and have it collect dust on your nightstand.  Truthfully I do this regularly; listen on Audible and then buy the book.  It’s kind of a good “test” for me.  If I listen and then continually go back to try and find the “to-do” part of a book, I know I’ll use it, so I’m okay with buying the hard copy.  I usually visit the Half Price Books Store in Tacoma before buy a brand new copy.  You can of course purchase new and used editions on Amazon.
  Thanks so much for stopping by today!