Category Archives: Organizing

Organization Challenge Week 6 & 7

I worked on May 7th, then again on the 11th, then the 13th and the 15th , each day pulling more and more photos out of hiding.  Then I reached the limit of my first plastic photo box and started a new one, a blue one.

May-7-1-of-3May 7   This is what the drawer looked like when I pulled it out.  There weren’t all that many loose photos; the book is my father’s baby book.

May-7-3-of-3May 7 – the plastic storage box getting fuller.

May-7-2-of-3May 7 – what got put back. I think those contact sheets got put in the front of the blue box seen further down.

May-11-1-of-3On May 11 I worked on another drawer. This one was divided so sorting wasn’t as haphazard.

May-11-2-of-3May 11 the plastic box is even more full.

May11-3-of-3May 11 – The empty drawer.  I still have stuff in three of the four drawers; don’t know if I’ll keep the “chest” or not. The stuff in it is memorabilia or  large photos.

May-13-3-of-3This is a divided box that had two areas filled with pictures in plastic bags of our trip to England and France with my parents in 1993.

May-13-1-of-3The plastic photo box is now officially full.

May-13-2-of-3Don’t know what I’m going to do with this box. It’s photo safe but I’m storing my photos elsewhere now.

May15-3-of-5This is where the last box had been stored – it’s sitting on the left and looks like a suitcase. The other two boxes have photos in them I have to sort through as well.

May-15-4-of-5This is where I’m thinking of putting the white and the blue photo storage but I might put them out in the room somewhere.

May-15-5-of-5This is my next area in the room to clean out. The basket is cards my husband and/or I have received during our 34 years of marriage.  My next step is to start organizing my embellishments but also still work on pictures.

May-17Today May 17.  I’ve also been trying to work on my Father’s Day cards. I’m having difficulty on selecting a design. I’ve pulled out some things (like a Happy Father’s Day stamp) and looked in my collection of card instructions so now my table is a mess, again.

Organization Challenge Week 5 (finished)

Last week (Week 5) I organized 3 drawers, four if you count the one I didn’t realize was there AND the file folder drawer in the rolling Iris® cart. I finished the third drawer and then realized there was another drawer under that THEN the file folder drawer.  These are photos of the first drawer done on 04-30 from start through pictures out to pictures sorted and what went back into the cart.





Then on 5-1 I worked on the unexpected extra drawer and put all the manila envelopes in the hanging file folders. (I took all the “books” of Paper Pizazz and put them with the stash of 8 1/2 x 11 scrapbook papers that are in another Iris® cart.  Haven’t decided what I’m going to do with that size of papers.)




On 5-02 I grabbed a drawer out of a “chest of drawers made out of photo-safe treated cardboard and divided it up.






I also finished all the Mother’s Day cards I needed to make.

Now it’s time to start on Week 6. This is the actual week when you’re supposed to start working on your photos and negatives.  I’m not worrying about negatives. I have two more drawers in that chest.  The first one has a mishmash of photo sizes and subjects including my father’s baby book.  I won’t take anything out of that book but will use it when I work on that side of the family’s heritage photos. The second one (actually the third one because I worked on the first one last week) has dividers in it so that should be a quick transfer into my big plastic storage box.  There is a fourth drawer which has lots of ship’s photographer pictures from various cruises and other pictures.  Hopefully I can get through those three drawers this week.

And on the “card adjenda” I have three birthdays (my father, a granddaughter and a grandson) and three Father’s Day cards (2 for my husband one of which is from the fur-babies) and one for my father before the last birthday in June. In July is my son’s birthday but I may have one already made for him – just have to check.

May 2 – Blog every day in May

Obviously, since today is the 2nd of May, I haven’t succeeded even one day so far.

But – I’ve managed to take a walk with my husband more days than is usual this week and have at least three days of over 5,000 steps each.

Instead of getting just 2 drawers of pictures organized, I’ve done 3 plus put memorabilia into the drawer with hanging folders.  I need more folders because of the number of manila envelopes I’ve already got in them.  And, I thought I only had 3 drawers in the Iris rolling cart but there are four, one of which is the one with the hanging folders.

I’ve also made a number of Mother’s Day cards. I’ll have pictures of my organizing tomorrow or Monday.

Organizational Challenge Week 5

The first part of the week was empty enough that I could get two drawers gone through. Once Wednesday hit, though, not much got done in organizing but I did complete two Mother’s Day cards and a third may very well be completed today – just have to glue it all together. I won’t be showing any of the cards on here until after Mother’s Day as some of my TOPS members may find me on the web and I don’t want to spoil the occasion.


This Iris rolling cart is in the closet of the craft room. It has three small drawers (12X12) and one big drawer which holds hanging files.  The Disney Scrapbook kits are in there and I’m trying to decide if I want to keep them or donate them.  But not right away.


I started with the top drawer. It was filled to the top with pictures from DH’s family (and mementos) plus post card souvenirs from various trips, a small picture album of my first wedding that my mother had kept (and yes, I’ve kept that for my children so they have it down the line. The marriage didn’t last but he is their father.)


Here is the drawer ready to be worked on. I was able to get through this drawer in a little over an hour. I was relatively “fresh” and able to make some difficult determinations to let go of some things. Don’t ask what I let go of because I can’t remember.


It looks worse when I was done.  These are items that wouldn’t fit in my photo organizer. The large brown book is my husband’s father’s Navy Log book. It contains pictures his father had of his shipmates and things he had written down. I need to get a archive-safe box to put that in. I also need someplace to store the 3″ buttons, one of my son and one of his son in their baseball uniforms.


This is one of the two photo organizing boxes I have. The company that made them either isn’t around any more or isn’t making them anymore.  Hope I don’t have too many 4×6 photos to work through.

On April 22 I worked on the second drawer.


This is what the second drawer looked like in the beginning.


This is what got put back in the drawer.  Note that I have labels on this drawer.  I’ll have to go back and label the first drawer.

So, I’ve made progress.  This coming week I have some split-up days but I should be able to get the third drawer done and maybe start on another case of photos. Plus I need to work on the Mother’s Day cards.

Organizational Challenge – Week 4

I finished week 4 today.  During the week I went through every container on the shelf and listed the items in the inventory spread sheet I created. Then I alphabetized the contents of the Paper packs from Paper Wishes. They’re all in the containers with either Alpha characters (like A-F, … S-Z), my Artful Card kits, or my short papers – 8×8 or 6×6.

Yesterday I took everything off the east shelf unit and we (DH and I) moved the two middle shelves up, the first one (actually the third one from the bottom) about two inches, the second 4 inches. The rearranging of shelves left us short two screw and nuts.  But luckily, DH found two that would work in his large stash of miscellaneous fasteners in the garage.  Then I put everything back that needed to be on the unit.

Today I went through a lot of my card-making instructions plus pull-outs from various crafting magazines and put those and other binders on the second shelf.  I also put titles on the binder backs so I’d know which was which.  Then I took pictures.


This is the restocked shelf unit.  I put all my paper packs and the ROYGBIV cardstock up top.

Paper-and-Cardstock--bottom-shelfThis is the bottom of the unit.  The cardinal box has my card blanks, envelopes  and beside it my commercially bought note cards. On the bottom and shelf section are my Hunky Dory kits. I also have my DVD lessons for making cards. To the right are more writing pads.


The second shelf from the bottom has those binders I mentioned plus six extra (empty) paper storage units.  Above that on the third shelf are my neutral card stock holders (left side) Immediately to the right of them is a holder with my Premier Dazzles kits that I haven’t finished – I get one a month and sometimes need to get more supplies to finish the card designs.  Next to that are my Scrapbook Dazzles. There is also one that has miscellaneous non-Paper Wishes sheets of papers divided by Colors, Subject (Travel, sports, pets) and Holidays (Valentines, 4th of July, Halloween, and Christmas.) Dazzles are stickers and the Scrapbook ones are just larger sheets of the stickers, some of which are long borders. The holder next to that is works in progress. Next to that are three plastic envelopes with scraps – there are two for card stock and one for patterned papers. All the smaller holders have different kinds of specialty papers from metallic to suede to vellum. Those containers are smaller and don’t hold as much so they are divided up.

I thought that next week is for photos but it’s for scraps.  However, I have my scraps covered already so I now have two weeks to work solely on organizing my photos. The instructions tell me to pull everything out that has photos then to clear the largest table in the house and use it to sort, one container at a time, all my photos into various categories. Well, that won’t happen – the largest table is our dining room table.  We have two cats. (Nuff said.)  I’ll be working in the craft room on the craft table.

I’m supposed to decide whether I’ll be organizing by date or by people.  I’ll be doing both. Ultimately I should have the following categories: Travel, People, Events, Pets, Places.  I may add flowers since both my mother and I have taken lots of pictures of flowers without worrying about where they were.  There may be other categories that turn up.  I do know that there will be at least one album with the formal and informal pictures taken by cruise ship crew of us.  I haven’t put them in a scrap book and we always get at least one taken. This last trip I made sure we had the one they take at every port when you get off the ship to go into port.  I even did it on Martinique even though we immediately went back on board. I’d read too many things about how the natives apparently didn’t want us there – plus we were there on a Sunday and everything was closed.

As for where my photos are – scattered – mostly in either the craft room or its closet. Tomorrow I’ll dive into that quest but I don’t know if I’ll pull all the containers and stack them on the floor or grab them one container at a time. I’ll also have to get some special storage containers for the over-sized heritage pictures. My maternal grandmother’s wedding picture is probably 14 x 20 , maybe bigger.  Won’t get that one in an album.

Part of this process will also mean purging such things as blurry photos and those ever-popular pictures of your feet or the sky when your finger touched the button and you took a picture. Now days we take pictures of the inside of our pockets with our cell phones.

Pretty sure I’m going to start on the Iris rolling cart just inside the closet door.  The first drawer could potentially take me all week to go through.  But hey, I can do anything for 15 minutes at a time and that will get me through more than wishing will.  I do have to finish making Mother’s Day cards for the ladies in my TOPS group so I’ll be doing that as well as sorting through pictures.

I’ll try to take pictures of the current containers before I delve into them. Who knows, I just might find more storage space when I’m done.

Organizational Challenge – Week 3

Note:  If you double click on the photos, another page opens up with a much larger picture.

Now I’m somewhat depressed. Yesterday I started figuring out how I was going to do all this reorganization stuff and tried to determine where my card-stock and papers would all go. (That’s the assignment for week 4.)  Currently it resides, for the most part on a 5’1″” tall; 30″ wide; 11″ deep metal shelving unit with four shelves. The card-stock takes up one full shelf plus about half of a second one.  I was thinking of moving that shelf unit to the north wall where a set of bookcases is but the bookcases are 35″ wide and there isn’t room on the east wall where the shelf unit currently resides to put the bookcases (two doors get in the way).  Then I got to looking at what was in/on the bookcases AND in one rolling cart under the computer desk.

I think I need an intervention.

The very bottom shelf of the bookcase is about 12″ tall, just right for 8.5 x 11″ notebooks. The remaining three shelves are less tall, about 10″.  I have more empty scrapbook albums than I’ll ever get filled – especially since I work in digital now instead of glue-and-paper. TWO of the rolling carts are now filled with 12 x 12″ albums (and some 8.5 x 11″ ones.)  I have more that need to go somewhere. And then there’s the question of where will I put them?  There’s no room in the scrap room or its closet. Also, the back third to half of the bottom shelf of the bookcases is blocked by a rolling cart of scrapping supplies topped by 3 plastic boxes with more of the same.

I know why I have so many empty albums. When I first got started with scrapbooking I had plans to document all our trips.  We’d traveled with my parents and I wanted to make albums to remember them in as well as the times we went to Illinois to see my husband’s family. Each time I bought a new album, probably more stickers and die-cuts and more paper just for that trip. Since I started scrapbooking in 1993, the year we went to England with my parents, there’s a lot of photographs and memorabilia waiting to be scrapped in those albums. (Not to mention all the formal and informal pictures taken of us on our 12+ cruises! How about an album just for those pictures?  Sounds like an idea to me!)  And now that I’ve inherited all the pictures from both sides of my family plus my husband’s, there are heritage albums to put together.

Boxing up the large albums is a problem because book boxes (what we have the most of) are smaller than 12 x 12 in any of the three directions. And besides that, who wants to try to find a box of empty albums. I may have some room just right for the empty albums in the office closet which would make them accessible. In case you’re wondering, the filled albums that I do have are in the living room where we can look at them or drag them out when company comes. (Hey, it’s better than interminable slide shows or out-of-focus jumpy videos!)


    All-at-once-or-just-one-section-(1-of-3) All-at-once-or-just-one-section-(2-of-3)







Besides all the empty albums, I have enough 8.5 x 11 3-Ring BINDERS to give one to every student in the local high school! (Well maybe not THAT many, maybe just next year’s sophmores.) The majority of those are at least 2″ deep with a goodly amount that are 3″ or better. And that’s just in the scrap room – the “office” has 31 more, most of which are greater than 3″ deep. Most of the binders in the scrap room are full of stuff I’ve printed out and never looked at again!!!!  There are two or three that have card making instructions from Paper Wishes.  Those I do look at so I can make cards.  But once I’ve made a card I don’t get rid of the instructions even though I KNOW I won’t be making that card again. But I do write the date I finished the card on the instruction sheet. At least I’ll know which ones to get rid of when I go through the binders.  Which brings me to patterned paper.

Card-Stock-shelves-labled The turquoise writing/arrows/drawing shows where my speciality papers (Dazzles (a type of sticker), Glitter, Suede, Metallic, Velum) are (closest to the left edge) and my die-cuts and paper toil. I’m going to need to make another one for plastic “paper”. The pink is the patterned paper kits in their wrappers listed alphabetically so I can find them when I’m working on a specific instruction. The green is my card stock.

On the shelf immediately above the specialty paper is a ribbon storage system that just didn’t work plus several instructional DVDs. There’s also some large alphabet stamps by Close-to-My-Heart just under the green/yellow box. And there are some knick-knacks. (Thank goodness I stopped collecting dragons and other fantasy knick-knacks.)  Above that is a an X-box 360 that I was going to use to use with my Zumba DVD’s but I don’t have a decent DVD player to hook up to it.  Above that are some frames, brass bowls and padded envelopes for mailing cards.

Below the extra card stock (two containers of neutrals) has some Stamping-Up® stamps, refill bottles for Spectrum Noir® markers, 3 nesting woven plastic “boxes”, and my cutting dies.  To the right of the neutral card stock are envelopes (12×12) holding card stock scraps and one holding patterned paper scraps, then there is a box with Hot Off the Press® clear stamps and a three ring binder (white) with more of the HOtP stamps. All my Hunky Dory kits are in another rolling cart in the office closet.

I’m having to put myself on a Paper Wishes diet until I can use up some of my supplies. (But I’ll continue with my monthly Dazzles subscription. That way I’ll still get a little fix each month.)

I have been moving one box (~13 x 13 x 3″) full of all the supplies I need to make the cards I liked from the 2014 [Paper Wishes] Week of Webisodes last August. There are a lot of patterned paper kits plus die-cuts and paper toile (3-D stack-ups) plus the ribbons needed for most of the cards. There also may be some additional specialty papers like acetate as well. They all need to be with card stock.  Now I might be able to use a few of the 8.5 x 11 notebooks and page protectors to hold some of the die cuts and paper toile sheets. That way they won’t get damaged. Maybe, but I’m not too sure. Alphabetical in the large paper holders seems to work right now, but I will admit the sides are beginning to bulge.

All this just to get started on the card-stock issue.

Where do I go from here?  Well, I can’t say “crazy” because I suspect I’m already there. But, by looking at these pictures and thinking “out-loud on paper”, it appears that the metal shelf is the proper place for my paper “stuff”.  I’ll bring in my card blanks and envelopes to this area, too.  I’ll move the X-box – maybe give it to my husband to play with. I’ll pull off all the ribbons I’ve tried to roll into the storage set and donate the set and all the reels and winder to our local re-sell house. (The ribbons will get put in the plastic box where I’ve been slowly winding them, in their sets, around cardboard cards. That solution seems to be working for me.) The envelopes might be able to stay since they’re made of paper and used to send paper things through the mail. The instructional DVDs, if I keep them, may end up on the desk with the laptop. Stamps will be removed, they need to be all together and right now I have at least 3 different places where I store them – this shelf unit, on top of one bookcase and in the closet (which is behind the door on the left of this shelf unit). Plus all the stamp pads are on another shelf unit and I have no idea how many have dried up from lack of use.

So, stay tuned to see how I cope with paper this week. (And I’m now a week ahead.)  I think I need to print out these blog posts and put them in a binder to help me remember what I went through to get it all done; assuming I succeed.

Organizational Challenge – Week 2

The week we were supposed to dream – a dream of the ideal day of scrapbooking from waking up and going into your ideal scrapping place: a place that is clean and clutter-free and where everything you need is in the best spot for your work and you know where it all is. Then we’re supposed to look around this ideal-for-you-space and actually envision what is where. What kind of containers do you have – not that you’re going right out to get them, just picture what would work for you. Right now you don’t worry about finances or space constraints.

Then we were to look at our filled in Assessment and locate our first problem. Why is it a problem and what would make it easier, and how can I improve it.

Okay – here’s where I stopped. Although I had looked at my space and seen the mess, I couldn’t see my dream in it. Two things came to mind.  One, I had to get the floor clean! I was almost always tripping as my feet would run into a box when I tried to get to something. At my age, I don’t need to trip, much less fall. Ergo the number one priority is a clear floor. So I moved ahead a week and started sorting things and getting them out of the room until I had space for them. If you look at the picture of the desk area, you’ll see I have rolling cart there with a lid (and basket of cleaning supplies) on it.  In that cart is my “in-box” which doesn’t have a permanent location yet and in that are several cans with mainly pens and a few other of my go-to craft supplies. I’m keeping that there so I can still work on cards and/or layouts while I go through this process.

Scraproom clean-up (2 of 3)

I have already put my laptop on the desk.  I’ve realized that I really need to have an inventory of what stuff I have – that means an EXcel spreadsheet (or 20). And, when I get to the various markers and ink pads, I need to make sure they’re usable and either buy the refills/re-inkers or throw them out.  The other decision or actually realization I made was that I like to see where my supplies are, so closed spaces aren’t going to work very well for me. Even with labels, I still want to be able to actually see them. That means I’ll be getting more clear plastic boxes, bags, whatever, to put the stuff in.

Next week is our Choose Your Challenge week. There are two Challenges: one is to address only one problem area and two is to jump right in and start from scratch. I already know that I can’t logistically work #2 as it’s to take everything down and sort it into boxes then move all the boxes out of the room and bring the boxes back in one by one. We’d have to clear out the garage to make that much room. Challenge one is sort of what I’ll do but not quite. I know that week four is cardstock – I’ve decided that I want all my paper or paper-like supplies to be together – that includes not only my cardstock but also my patterned paper and I want both my 12 x 12 stuff and my 8.5 x 11 cardstock and patterned papers together as well as all my blank cards with their envelopes. I have some colored blank cards and envelopes that will also have to be in that area but I’m going to get rid of the extra colored envelopes that don’t have card blanks to go with them. Cardstock/papers need to be in a well lit area as well. I’m thinking of clearing out a bookcase in the north corner and using that for the paper supplies.There is a light there but I may be changing the shade on it to be less intrusive.

Scraproom clean-up (3 of 3)

The current storage of my cardstock.

Scraproom clean-up (1 of 3)

My scrapping area. The large note book on the table is the notebook for the project. It’s quite large and is mostly filled.

Scraproom clean-up (1 of 1)

This is the corner where I “might” put the papers.

I would have major issue here with the paper change – only the bottom shelf is tall enough to put my 12 x 12 paper in. I will have to empty these two bookcases (which I’d have to do sometime anyway) and the shelves on the east side, switch them around (and I don’t know if I have the room to put the bookcases in the same spot as the shelves are in now. An additional issue is the narrow cart in front of the bookcase with the plastic boxes on top (as well as at least two empty 12 x 12 albums.

So first thing I have to do is measure the shelves and then measure the space the bookcases take up. From there we’ll see where we go.

Organizational Challenge – Week 1

Progress on the first week.  The very first thing I had to do was create a layout of my scrap “place”.  To me that was the table where glue-and-paper scrap-work is done. So I grabbed my Nikon camera and started taking pictures of the mess.  Thirty-eight pictures later I was done (or mostly done – I didn’t open drawers or dive too deeply into boxes.) I chose three pictures for my layout.  Please know, though, that I don’t do too much scrapbooking with glue-and-paper. Usually I do it digitally.  But for this (and another project I’m working on ‘Scrapbook You’) I created an album and the first layout. The reason for this first layout is to start the assessment process where you figure out where you are before jumping in to rip-and-tear your current process. So I’ve worked on the assessment and now I’m ready to make two cards since card-making is really my glue-and-paper process.


(Click on the picture to see a larger version)


This is the before layout I did. The mesh in the middle serves two purposes, one is to separated the top of my work table and two to give a sense of disorder and clutter. I used pink letters because that was the only chip board letters I could find to write the word “Before”.

I’ll continue with the assessment of where my supplies currently are and what’s good or bad about it.  Mostly I’m finding, at this moment, that there is too much stuff on the floor and my feet are constantly being stuck.  Luckily, so far, I haven’t fallen down.  Hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

You can see the  larger shots of the photos here:



Organizational Challenge

I’m somewhat hesitant to actually post this as my track record for doing anything more than 3 days in a row is rather poor.

Besides occasionally posting on my Dragon Droppings blog, I also do scrapbooking (mainly digitally), card making (greeting cards – birthdays, holidays, just-because, etc.), take pictures, write fantasy fiction, and sometimes sew. I do my scrapbooking, for the most part, on my big computer (an Aurora R4) in the “computer room” [used to be my daughter’s room when she lived at home.] But the card making and sewing are done in the “craft room” [my son’s room when he lived at home.]

This is all about the craft room. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t really do anything in there. So, when said they’ve made changes, I checked out the site and came across their Get Organized class (at the bottom of the list of classes.)  Now, several years ago I “took” the class, downloaded all the instructions, printed each lesson and put them in a large binder which I promptly put away on a shelf and never looked at it again. (Best intentions, of course.) Fast forward to now – I actually found the binder and have started the first week.

I read the lesson and discovered that we’re supposed to do a layout – a Before version – of our scrapping place. Then, when everything is organized, we’ll do an “After” layout. While we do the Before layout we’ll be assessing our scrapping place. (where are the products I need; is it working for me; what is a potential solution?) Since I mainly do greeting cards with glue and paper, I’ve decided that I’ll also make at least one card while going through the assessment.

On Saturday, I took pictures of all the areas in the scrap room and closet and ended up with 38. Then I did the first step which was to clean off your scrap place. My work space was so cluttered that I opted to do the A choice which was to take everything off the scrap place and put it all in a box (any tools that showed up that had regular locations were put there – for me it was scissors and my glue glider – everything else ended up in two boxes.)

Yesterday I printed 22 of the photos (the remaining 16 are just of the closet), chose the ones for the Before layout, and put them in a photobox. These are the three I’ve chosen. The first is my work space – the place where I do any layouts and make cards. The second is the cubbies under the left side of the work space. The third is the cubbies under the right side of the work place. The work place is  54 inches wide and 25 inches deep.

Get-Organized-Before-(1-of-36) Get-Organized-Before-(35-of-36) Get-Organized-Before-(34-of-36)

After that I used the clean work space to start my layout which I have put away (in a bookcase) for the time being, in my page-in-progress box that I’ve had and not used for many years. The box has a metallic component and 15 small magnets to hold un-glued items in place.

Today I’ll work more on the assessment and add to the page – choose one or two patterned papers, maybe a few embellishments and start gluing things down. I’ll take a picture of the “Before” layout when it’s finished. Then I’ll start on the first of possibly two cards as part of the assessment process (with pictures to follow.)

Twenty-seven weeks would put me finishing around Oct 3.  But I know that we’ll be out of town for a week in July and that we’ll have company for several days in June so I’m giving myself until the end of October to have the craft room organized.