Finally. I can breathe!

Yup, you guessed it. The Great Craft Attic Transformation is complete! And with that comes a warning... long post and lots of pictures ahead!

Anyway, It took two full weeks of working hours every day... never less than 3, sometimes more than 8... but it's done. I'm so unbelievably happy with how it turned out. But it was a very painful process.I followed a lot of Julie's advice, and I'm so glad that she did her Organization Week when she did because it was immensely helpful to me and the timing was perfect. Taking everything out of the room was the smartest thing I could have done. It sucked, but it worked.

I swear, this is the first time EVER that I have gone through every single item in the room. Every sheet of paper, every brad and button, every alphabet and sticker sheet. Everything. And I was brutal. It wasn't just a matter of whether or not I still liked something, or even if I thought I might need it at some point in the future. I asked myself if I could realistically say that I would use each item. No keeping things for contingency... in order to come back into the room, I had to be able to honestly tell myself that I not only loved it and had ideas for using it, but that it was truly my style and would fit in my projects and I could be reasonably certain that it would get used at some point. I had to do it that way... let me remind you what it looked like 2 weeks ago:

 Craft Attic Before Organizing

 You can also look back at this post to get an idea of what it looked like a few years ago, before the extra piles started showing up in any free floor space on either side of my chair. I couldn't walk anywhere, everything was buried, and I was avoiding working on anything because I just didn't want to come up here. Makes having a scrap space kind of pointless, huh?

I've often expressed the fact that my superpower is fitting more stuff into a small space than you can possibly imagine, but there comes a point where it's ridiculous. One of my biggest takeaways from my trip to Peru was that I have too much. Of everything. There were a few experiences that made me really understand the reality of that, but one of the results was my decision to re-do this room and get rid of all the extra stuff. Don't get me wrong, I still have too much. But my guest room is now completely covered with boxes of things I need to sell or donate. And it's good stuff! But what's sitting in that room is probably more than most people have and it's just what I'm purging. Ugh. But, I'm moving on and doing it right from now on.(And trying not to think of the size of the project that will be moving all that stuff out of my house!)

So without further ado, welcome to the new scrap attic!

 New Scrap attic - looking in

Yeah, it's hard to see anything around my monster chair, but it's too hard to take it out for a photo. But even with that, you can see how different it is. The room looks so much bigger... and clean! and organized! With no crap spilling from everywhere! It's amazing. The biggest challenge (aside from sheer quantity of stuff, of course) is the shape of the room. It's not only a small room, but because it's an attic, about half of the space is covered by a sloping ceiling and I can only stand up under a very small part of it. I had to get creative.

Let's take a tour, shall we? I moved everything back in based on how I work and what I use most often, and I think it's going to be a great change. When you first come up the stairs on the left is my printer / diecutting / themed and in-process project station. As much as I'd love a table where I can keep my diecut machines set up and ready, it's just not gonna happen in this space. So I just work with it.

 New Scrap Attic - printer station

On the shelves are 12x12 Iris cases that I got on sale at Michael's, 2 for $8. I also bought a Cricut cartridge organizer for 40% off and took my cartridges and books out of their boxes. The Iris cases are for in-process projects like travel albums that I'm working on every now and then, and also seasonal / holiday themes that I've found I work with a lot. One of the things I realized about myself in this process was that part of the reason for my mess was that I wasn't organized to match the way I work. I would pull out Christmas stuff from 12 different places and put it in a basket to work on my December Daily, and then have to put it all back in January. So why not make a Christmas bin with papers and embellishments so that it's always ready? I also did one for Halloween and Valentine's / Weddings. Last on the bottom shelf is a basket of my chipboard shapes. And note... I even labeled everything!

Continuing to move into the room, we have the shelves above my computer station. Some stayed the same, some are quite different (the very top used to be piled with finished layouts and projects from classes I've taken over the years.)

 New Scrap Attic - computer shelf tour

My sewing machine is still up there... I wish I could put that on a table with my Cricut and Silhouette and stuff so I could use it more, but for now this will have to work.

Moving on to the back-left corner of the room... when I redid the setup, I decided not to have any of the shelves or anything go into the corner since it's harder to get to stuff that way. I lost space by doing it, but I made a semi-circle and curved away from the corners so I could easily get to everything (and no temptation to pile things in the space for the drawers to open). I love it. Good thing I got rid of so much stuff, though, since I lost the room for the giant bin-shelf thingy that I had been using.

 New Scrap Attic - back-left corner tour

This is where I can just turn around from my desk and grab flowers or Thickers. One thing I realized about myself is that I actually enjoy pawing through a basket of things to search for the perfect embellishment, as long as they're sorted and organized to some extent. So the flowers are sorted by color and then certain types of them are in baggies and stuff in the basket. (Yeah, there are a LOT of flowers. Mostly Prima... and believe it or not, I got rid of some! But I did say I have too much... lol.) I also have way more Thickers than any sane person needs, but this is after I cut out about 1/3 of them! That warehouse sale is evil. (And I can't wait for this year! lol.)

At the very bottom are open "drawers" of punches... squares, stars and 6-petal flowers. Remember those old Family Treasures punch sets from like 10 years ago? Still got 'em. And I use those, they're just much more accessible now. The rest is mostly diecutting stuff and then the tower of drawers is mostly for paints and mists and a few art supplies I use a lot (like modeling paste! yay!)

Next up...

 New Scrap Attic - Paper Cubes Tour

Something I finally admitted to myself is that I rarely use colored cardstock anymore, so having 12 bins of it was kind of pointless. So I cut down to 5-6 sheets each of the colors I really loved, and the rest will be sold. I also cut my patterned paper down by about half. I thought it would be harder to get rid of the paper since I get attached to it, but once I got into the rhythm, I was able to really plow through it and really narrow it down to stuff I'll use.

And I love having my punches displayed! My other border punches are in a bin on the shelf just to the left... they just don't stand up, but I love how easy they are to get to now. And they look pretty :)

In the right corner is where my shape punches are and the beginning of my stamp collection.

 New Scrap Attic - Stamp and Punch area

For the two binders of acrylic stamps, you can see how those are organized here. I didn't change the organization of the binders other than to add tabs to label the sections by theme so I can flip to them more quickly.

Next is immediately to the left of my desk, and this is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I knew I'd have to sacrifice space for other stuff to do it, but it worked out and I love it.

 New Scrap Attic - Left of Desk

I used another tiered pantry organizer to set out some of my favorite mounted stamps. Before, they were piled in a basket on the bottom shelf of my desk, and I hardly used them because it was too hard to get in there (stamps being harder to paw through than flowers... lol.) Now that they're out, I know I'll use them more. And I love how they look too. :)

Looking down in the cubes, I have all my Papertrey Ink stamps on the left because I use them a ton, and then adhesives and washi / decorative tapes... I use those a lot and I had them stored in 3 different places before. Doh. I also put the colors of cardstock that I use the most right there - kraft, white and black. And I didn't until this point realize exactly how much American Crafts white cardstock I have. I think I'm good for a while. (Shaking my head.)

Next up: my desk.

New Scrap Attic Desk Tour

The room is so small that I couldn't back up far enough so I had to take several pictures to get it all... oh well!

I moved my circle punches over to the desk because I use them a ton and I think this will really help.

I bought very little to redo the room - I mostly re-purposed stuff I was already using. But, I bought this stamp pad holder because I was sick of having my stamp pads stacked 3-6 deep in a drawer (again, stored in 3 different places. No... 4 places! Yikes.) I tested every one of them and then set aside the ones I haven't used in a long time to sell / donate.

One of the other things I bought was a tiered rotating caddy Harbor Freight for my desk (thank you Pinterest!) It was only $20 and helps free up a lot of surface space and still keep things really handy. I've been seeing people decorate them, but for now I'm just going to leave mine plain (it's black metal). It holds scissors and pens, glue dots and my tape runner, my pin cushion, my most-used stamp pads and mini alpha stamp sets... stuff like that.

And the last part of the room - to the right of the desk under the other sloped ceiling.

New Scrap Attic - right of desk

This is where I have all my embellishments, ribbon and lace, journaling books, etc... Again, I don't mind rummaging to find what I want, but some of the drawers are a little full so I hope this works. This is the one area of the room that I'm not 100% sure on, but I think it will be okay for now. Besides - if I start using stuff, the drawers will start to get emptier, right?

A few last views:

 New Scrap Attic - close-up views

Whew... that's it! Sorry I got so long-winded with this one. I guess the length of the blog post is commensurate with the amount of time the project took, huh? But it's done! And I can breathe! It feels so good just sitting in here drinking it in. Now I need to actually do some projects... finish up my December Daily, maybe? (It's not February yet Erin!)

And I'm off... I think I'll sleep well tonight. Play time tomorrow!


The stamp storage dilemma.

Today I finally faced up to a little problem that I've been ignoring in my scrap room.  My clear stamp storage was really an explosion of acrylic just waiting to happen.  I had sheets of acrylic stamps of all sizes just crammed into a little bin and it just wasn't working.  Nothing was organized and trying to go through it to find what I was looking for became impossible.  Not to mention the alphabet stamps that were falling off their sheets and just stuck everywhere (I was lucky they were all still there somewhere!) 

So after seeing a few inspirational posts about stamp storage, I finally decided today to fix mine.  There was a Staples in the shopping center with the Jiffy Lube where I was getting my oil changed tonight so after they finished with my car, I dropped by and picked up what I needed.  I decided on a system that's kind of a cross between Jennifer McGuire's and Nichol Magouirk's.  I got a 3.5" binder, some 5x7 page protectors, some trading card holders (for small sets or individual stamps) and some of those report covers with the slip-on spines (those are tons cheaper than getting transparencies and work almost as well once you cut them along the fold into 2 letter-sized pieces).

I came home afterward and ran (er... hobbled quickly) upstairs and got all of my acrylic stamps that aren't stored in CD cases and spread it all out on my table.  I sat happily organizing for a few hours during the Avalanche game... I had so much fun!  (Yes, I'm a total dork.  lol.)

Here's what I came up with:  first is kind of a "before" shot as I was just getting started.  Yes, ALL of these stamps were somehow crammed into that one little tray/box/thingie.  See how that could be a problem?  lol.  The last shot is what the storage on the shelf of my work table looks like now including the little holders that I use for the stamps that are in CD cases (mostly Papertrey and Stampin' Up - I don't mount those).

Blog---Stamp-Storage
When I planned this, I had forgotten that my talent for getting the maximum amount of stuff into the smallest space possible meant that there was a lot more than I had realized.  My initial plan was to mix the 5x7 protectors with the smaller sets that fit into those into the binder with the bigger pages.  Obviously that didn't work out... lol.  So those are back in the little bin, but now that they're in page protectors they're all organized by theme and they aren't sticking to each other!  It's a beautiful thing.  I might go through and put tabs for the sections in the notebook, but we'll see... I'm usually pretty good at remembering the order I put things in and just flipping to what I want.

So anyway, that was kind of a verbose post for just talking about organizing stamps!  I just thought I'd share my method, though, since I know there are lots of people out there with the same problem I've been having :)

And now, off to start playing!


Welcome to my craft room

This post is mostly for Kayla who was asking me about my craft room the other night.  Apparently she's heard tales of the excess in supply hoarding so I thought I'd go ahead and share.

I'm in a little attic room over my garage.  No climate control, but it's generally pretty comfortable in cold weather.  When it's warm, though, I break out the fans and I've given thought to scrapbooking in my swimming suit... lol.  I have one fan that's there just for my computer... can't have it overheating!  I listen to music on it when I'm working, not to mention using it for Photoshop for printing photos and journaling and also for getting online.

(You can see my certificate for climbing the Great Wall of China hanging from my bulletin board.  Eventually it will be in an album, but I just love having it there as a reminder.)

Blog - Craft Room

And now, a quick little overview of the room when you get up there.  It's not really all that big... maybe 10x10 without furniture.  I tell myself that the small size of the room is the reason why it looks like I have so much stuff... nothing at all to do with the fact that I actually have WAY too much stuff.  I purge a few times a year, but it never seems to get any smaller... lol.

Blog - Craft Room 2

Note that above it should say "ribbons, stickets, etc..." but I'm too lazy to fix my image and re-upload it.  lol.

So that's it... a peek into my overstuffed craft room.  And with that, I'm off on a plane to Virginia for the week.  I'm doing some training for work so that I can become a power user on the testing platform I use to run my tests at work, and I'm going to spend time with family.  I still love that it worked out that my training is taking place in my home town during the week of my birthday while some other friends are in town.  Too funny!