The Scrapjazz Guide to Organizing Your Scrap Space
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by Andrea Steed
Scrapbooking, for many people, is much more than a passing phase. It becomes a lifelong hobby. Not only are you able to artistically express yourself through a craft, but you’re also doing something very important at the same time—preserving your family history. Since this hobby in particular becomes a part of everyday life, it makes sense to have a dedicated area in your home to devote to your craft.
While each individual’s scrap space will vary in size, style, extravagance and frugality, everyone faces the same basic dilemma: How can I organize my workspace and store my scrapbooking supplies?
Within this Scrap Spaces guide, you’ll find fantastic organization, storage and decorating ideas for creating a work area that fits your budget, space constrictions, and style. The tips and suggestions given by our writers and contributors will help you take control of your supplies and increase your productivity during the time you have to devote to scrapbooking.
Find a Space
Attic/Loft – An unused area of an attic or loft can be converted into a scrap space with a little bit of renovation. The angled ceilings are a fun architectural addition to the room, giving it some additional personality and flair. A nice reason to use a space like this is to be able to keep your workspace out of the natural traffic flow of the house, especially if you like to get away and retreat to your own world when you are creating.
Basement – Finished basements are used for all sorts of things such as playrooms, storage, laundry areas, and exercise rooms. Why not add your scrap space to a section of the basement? The amount of open space available is usually a great benefit to someone with a large quantity of supplies. However, if your basement floods or has any moisture problems, find permanent solutions to those problems before you decide to set up your space in the basement. Moisture will damage paper, photos and other supplies.
Bedroom – Bedrooms are a common solution for where to store scrapbook supplies and set up a workspace. Depending on your home and space availability you may have a bedroom completely converted to a scrap space, a shared guest bedroom, or even a corner of your own bedroom to use for your workspace. Some benefits of working in bedrooms include the natural light from windows, closet storage space, a door that can close off the room, and of course the typical comforts of home.
Closet – If you can’t steal an entire room from your house, or even a corner, consider taking over a closet. Choose from front hall closets, bedroom closets, a pantry, or even a linen closet. Some are even large enough to include a desk, workspace and storage, all with a door to close it off and keep it out of the way when you aren’t using it. If your closet isn’t large enough, look for portable storage ideas, so you can store your supplies out of sight, but easily take them out and transport them to your chosen workspace when you are using them.
Dining Room – A storage armoire or buffet dresser is a great disguise for scrapbooking supplies hiding in a formal dining room. If your family doesn’t use a formal dining room, you can consider converting the whole room into your scrap space. Those that scrap in the dining room tend to enjoy being a part of the main traffic flow of the house and being involved with the rest of the family while they’re working. A downfall is that your space may be very visible to the rest of the house or even the entry into your house and will need to be kept neat and tidy most of the time, especially if you use your dining room table for meals.
Enclosed Porch –If your home has an enclosed porch or sunroom, it might make a fabulous scrap space retreat. Porches offer plenty of natural light, potentially a great view of the neighborhood, and the chance to designate an entire room to your supplies. Consider factors such as temperature control, lighting solutions, window coverings and moisture issues before designating this space as your work area.
Garage – With some thoughtful design and renovation, you can convert a portion of a garage into your scrap area. If the ceiling is high, consider adding a loft area. Particularly deep garages may have extra space at the back for a room to be built in. A two-and-a-half or three-car garage may leave an abundance of extra space that can be converted into a room. Since garages are often completely unfinished, this can incur some construction costs, but offer a designated space that is both convenient and private.
Home Office – If you already have a home office area designated in your house, simply expand your storage containers and options to include your scrapbooking area there as well. A computer, printer, and internet access available to you while you scrapbook will become some of your favorite scrapbooking tools.
Kitchen – Some have even found a little nook in their kitchen to be a great place to store their supplies and work on scrapbooking projects. An eating nook, breakfast bar with cabinet storage, or even a pantry off the side of the room are all options if you’re strapped for space in other areas of the house. Use your kitchen table as your workspace and store supplies in cabinets, drawers and other containers that can be closed up when you aren’t using them and they’ll be protected from any kitchen spills.
Laundry Room – If your house has a laundry room with only a washer and dryer in it, why not use the extra space for your workspace? Closets, shelving and storage space can be divided between scrapbooking and laundry supplies. Build your workspace into the middle of a shelving system, so your supplies are all around you while you work. You can even use the top of the washer and dryer as a workspace for your cutting mat and paper trimmer.
Living Room/Den – If you like to watch TV, hang out with your family, or watch your kids play while you scrapbook, a section of a living room or den area is another great place to locate your space. You can separate your space from the living space with shelving, a couch or even a folding screen if you’d like to be off-limits to the rest of the family while you work.
As you can see, it’s possible to convert nearly any space in your house into a scrapbooking workspace. Just a little bit of reorganization, rearranging and renovation and you’ll be on your way to a scrapbooking space of your own.
Sort and Categorize – First separate your supplies into types. Our lessons will cover how to store all of the following items, so begin by separating them into these basic categories.
As you read through each lesson, you can further sort each type of supply based on your own needs.
Assemble – If you have tools or supplies that need to be assembled such as stamps or dies for a die-cutting machine, take some time to put them together and get them ready for use. If they aren’t ready, you’re not likely to use them while you’re working on a layout.
Unwrap - Packaging takes up a lot of extra space. To condense your supplies to fit a small space, remove products from their packaging. Be sure to save any instructions you might need. If it is important for you to know who made the products (you may need to re-stock eventually) label the back of the products with the manufacturer name.
Label – While you’re labeling, use a permanent marker or labeling stickers to mark your tools with your initials or some sort of personalized indicator. If you travel to crops, loan out your tools, or scrapbook with other people, you’ll want to be sure you (and they) know which tools are yours. Since many people have the same brand and types of tools, this is important.
Discard, Recycle, Donate or Sell – As you sort through your supplies, you’re bound to find products and tools that you know you won’t use, damaged or bent items, or even duplicate materials. Anything that is not salvageable can be tossed in the trash or recycled. Create a donate and/or sell pile for any materials that are still useable. You can donate them to schools, new scrapbookers, or give them to your children to play with. Items with more value can be often sold via eBay, scrapbooking web sites, or local crops.
Apply a Storage System
Devise a Plan - It is helpful to plan out your space before you start buying containers. Even though nearly all of the supplies can be put into a storage system that resides right on your desk, you’ll quickly run out of workspace if you try to have everything right at your fingertips. Mix and match the ideas for storage based on the way you scrapbook and your space limitations. Choose storage systems for each type of supply that will complement the storage you’ve chosen for other supplies. Stacking bins, matching baskets, or a dresser full of drawers are all examples of how you can use one storage system to house several types of supplies. As you are planning out your room, it is also a good time to decide on any decorating themes or styles that you want to use, before you begin buying materials.
Go Shopping - Make a basic sketch or take a photograph of your space and write down the measurements of the area. Take your sketch and/or photograph with you along with your list, a tape measure and a calculator as you shop for furniture and storage containers. This will prevent you from buying something that is too big or too small. Make your purchases, and be sure to save receipts in case you need to return an item. Keep track of how much you are spending, so you stay within your budget. Buy the essentials first, and you can always add other items later.
Put the Plan in Action – Paint the walls, assemble your furniture, put your supplies into the containers, label drawers and boxes, and enjoy your fabulous new scrap space.
Decorate & Personalize
Choose a Color Scheme
If you are able to paint the walls of your space, as you consider colors keep in mind that the color will change with the lighting during the day. While you may love warm mustard yellow first thing in the morning, it might be far too overwhelming on the eyes in the bright midday light. A good way to test this is to paint a large piece of foam core or canvas paper in the color you are considering and move it around the room at various times of the day.
Another reason to carefully consider the wall color in your scrap space is that whatever color you surround yourself with might change the way that your project looks as light is reflected off walls and other surfaces. Neutral colors on the walls such as tan, cream, and white are a good way to assure natural lighting and reflections, especially right around your work space. However, don’t let that stop you from painting one wall the deep purple you’ve been dying to use!
Decide on a Theme or Style
Need ideas for themes? How about Funky Retro? Start with black, brown, white or silver furniture with clean lines and add pink, aquamarine, or lime green accents with photo boxes, framed pictures, and shelving.
Another style that might be fun to explore is Paris Chic. Rich burgundy velvet, black and white toile, and lots of vintage glamour would make for a fun and exciting scrap space. You might even add an actual divan in the corner for reading!
A shabby vintage garden theme can be achieved by adding accents from recycled garden or vintage items. An old garden planter can become a storage container. Convert a vintage dresser mirror to a framed cork bulletin board by removing the glass and inserting cork board inside the frame. An old, used lattice piece can hold small hooks for ribbons and embellishments, and vintage sap buckets can hold painting supplies.
Look at decorating magazines and websites to help you choose the style you like, especially if you don’t know where to start. Choose a special item that has meaning and build your room around its colors and style.
Fashionable, Yet Functional
Magnet Board – Purchase a large magnet board to display just-finished pages, to-do lists, magnet-mounted foam stamps and even supplies hanging from magnetic hooks or baskets.
Rug – Define your space with an area rug that matches your space. Take into consideration whether you will need a chair to roll over the top of the rug when you choose the size and thickness of the rug.
Quotes – If you are inspired by words, add your favorite quotes to framed pieces throughout the room. You can even purchase words and quotes that can be affixed directly to your wall for a more permanent statement. Wooden and metal words can be purchased by the letter for a custom word or phrase that fits your space.
Decorate your space so that it’s an enjoyable place for you to spend your time. The more you enjoy being there, the more likely you are to accomplish much during each scrapbooking session.
Once you’ve organized, stored, and decorated your space, don’t forget to keep it maintained so you can continue to enjoy it. Here are several maintenance tips that will help you keep your space in top condition:
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