Scrap Space Vol. 1

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Organization! This topic seems to be everywhere in the scrapbooking industry right now: 
Since it's been on my mind, I thought it was finally time to share my scrap space re-organization. I did all of this the first week of January. Yeah….six whole months ago. And of course I'm just now getting around to sharing! But I'm ok with that.

It all started with a book I keep hearing about: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I initially found out about it in the Simple Scrapper Facebook group. Jennifer shared an article she read about the Konmari method of organization. Which I then read. I thought this solution sounded interesting so I bought the book (according to Amazon on November 20, 2014). And then it just hung out on my Kindle app for months... 
I tend to do that, jump in on a new project without taking a second to stop and ask myself, do you really have time to do this?? I did not. If you'll remember this past Fall was one of the busiest travel seasons of my life. Of the 12 weeks, I was traveling for 8 of them: different cities, different countries, some for fun, some for business. 

It wasn't until after the holidays that things started to slow down. And you know the power of the New Year.  January approaches and it's a time for re-invention and a chance to re-group. For me, the first of the year is always a lovely idealistic time when I set expectations (or resolutions) for what I'll accomplish during the year. One thing I knew I needed to do was organize the mountain of stuff that had become my scrap space.

So on probably 1 January of this year, I read the book. It's a short book that's really easy to get through. I think I read the whole thing in just a few hours. It was a such an interesting read and interesting from both a tidying perspective and a cultural perspective (the author is Japanese). 
If you've heard anything about this book, you're likely familiar with one of its main principles: if something you own, an item that lives in your house and takes up space doesn't bring you joy, then get rid of it. OR, surround yourself only with items that spark joy.

That was huge for my organization project! As scrapbookers, we tend to have a lot of stuff. And a lot of stuff that we probably don't need and maybe even don't like! The odds and ends from a kit you purchased but didn't use because they just aren't your style. A whole collection pack of papers, when really you can only see yourself using a few sheets. A bag of things you purchased to create a project that you don't even have an interest in doing anymore. The stuff you bought on sale because it was such good deal! But once you got home didn't look nearly as fun or as versatile as you had imagined. I could go on and on!

With the idea of "does this spark joy?" in my head, I was really brutal about what I was going to give away. I tossed nearly all of my ribbon. I got rid of just about every bottle of acrylic paint I owned. I cut down more than six inches of my paper stash. 

So much stuff went off to my local CPS for their Lifebooks program. I wish I had snapped a photo of all that I gave away (Phone was left in the car. I had to make two trips to get everything inside and didn't want to lug my purse along in the process!). Visual a 5 ft tall stack of boxes plus a whole 12x12x12 cube full of all of my paper scraps.

It felt sooo good to give all of that away! Marie writes about the feeling you get when you lighten your load and it's so true. You feel it. I personally felt the spacious she describes.
The second big takeaway I had from this book, was the lack of organizational solutions. As in, don't go buy those pretty bins or that fancy wall unit just yet. You have to understand all that you want to keep (by purging the things that don't spark joy) in order to figure out the best solution for what you have. 

I have my stuff organized in some really gorgeous boxes now. But that didn't come until the very very very end of the process. When I knew exactly how much I had, and could therefore find solutions for organizing those specific things.

For me, this process meant going through every last drawer, bin, basket, magazine holder, bottle, jar and box I had. Looking at and touching each item. And once the triage--keep, toss, donate--was complete, figuring out where to put everything back. 

Over my next few blog posts, I'll share how I put everything back. I'll share how my desk is organized. What I have at my fingertips. Where I store my paper and embellishments. Where my kits and non-scrapbook/general office supply products live. I'll open up every box. Show a peek inside every drawer. I also plan to talk about how my shopping habits have changed.

I have a lot to say on this topic so I hope you'll join me here on the blog over the next few weeks.
I have some final words to say about that life changing little book (it's only 226 pages!) Which as the title suggests, is actually life changing. 

Here's what has changed for me, as I approached re-organizing my scrap space after reading this book:
  • My scrap space is organized. I know exactly where everything is and can get to whatever I'm looking for within seconds. 
  • I'm able to sit down at my desk and start scrapbooking. Like immediately! I no longer have to pick up a pile of stuff and figure out where to put it while I'm working at my desk, only to put the pile back when I'm done for the day. 
  • I shop less and use more. 
  • I feel that sense of spaciousness in my room
Not only is my space less cluttered, my mind is also free of the guilt that use to go hand in hand with this un-tidy space. So basically, not only does this book un-clutter your physical space, it also helps you un-clutter your mind.

If you consider reading it or have already read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Not only did I use what I learned to re-organize my scrapbook space, I've also re-organized my bedroom closet and bathroom as well. Next stops are the built-in bookshelf and chest of drawers in the dining area. For me slow and steady wins the race when it comes to these large organizational projects.

And an added bonus! This is one year when I've actually been able to stick with a New Year's resolution. Take that lizard brain!! But that's a sentiment from another non-fiction book...

cheers & besos,

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