Scrapjazz - The Scrapbooking MegasiteThe Scrapjazz Guide to Organizing Your Scrap Space


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Introduction

 

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

The first step in creating a space of your own is to choose an area of your home that can be designated as your scrapbooking space.  There are three categories of areas that your space may fall into: dedicated space, shared space, or portable space.  While most crafters dream of a dedicated room with a fabulous view, custom-built storage, and all of the latest tools and supplies, only a lucky few are able to enjoy that type of space.  Most have to share or “borrow” space from their home, and others still must tote their “space” to a local store or fellow scrapbooker’s house to have an appropriate workspace and environment.  The good news is, you can do any of these easily with a little bit of creativity.  Below are several options for finding room within your house to create your own scrap 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.

Organize

As you read through the tips and suggestions for storing the various types of scrapbooking supplies, you’ll find one common theme throughout them all: organize.  If you know what you have and how to find it, then you’ll be able to use it.  Each lesson in this guide gives specific ideas for how to best organize and categorize supplies.  Here are some basic tips to remember as you organize your supplies to fit them into your space.

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.

  • Adhesives
  • Embellishments
  • Ink
  • Magazines & Idea Books
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Photographs
  • Ribbon & Fibers
  • Stamps
  • Stickers, Die Cuts & Rub-Ons
  • Templates
  • Tools

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

Once you’ve read through all of the tips and options for storing each type of supply, you’ll need to make decisions about the types of storage containers you’ll need to buy, make or find.  You have several storage elements to consider such as furniture, shelving, cabinets, closets, drawers, boxes, bins, baskets, and lighting.  As you read through each lesson and look at the examples, make notes of the solutions that interest you and see how they can be implemented in your space.

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.

Make a List – You now have a pretty good idea of what you need for your space.  Begin a shopping list of items you need.  Include any measurements and requirements that will be helpful as you shop, such as you need at least seven trays for wooden stamps, three 4” 3-ring binders for stickers and die cuts, fifteen 12” x 12” hanging files, etc. 

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

Some people say that where you create plays an instrumental role in what you create.  Most people are creative when they feel creative and they feel creative when they are in an environment that inspires them.  Build your scrap space into an environment that inspires you to create, with these scraproom decorating tips.

Choose a Color Scheme
Possibly the most important step when decorating a scrap space is to choose the color scheme.  When choosing a color scheme, start by finding an inspiration piece—something that makes you feel creative. It can be a fabric swatch, a piece of art, a piece of furniture, or even a favorite scrapbook paper.  Often the inspiration piece will contain the color scheme you’re looking for and all you need to do is find paint and coordinating accents for the room.  If the inspiration piece doesn’t offer three to four colors for your scheme, use a color wheel to find accent colors that will work with your inspiration piece.

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
Your room doesn’t need to have a “theme” per se, but choosing a general style will make it easier to achieve a cohesive look.  By choosing a theme, you will know what types of containers, wall décor, and accents would help complete the look you are after.

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
As you add trinkets and style to your room, be sure to look for organizational items that can be painted or altered to match your décor.  Here are several decorative projects that also have a practical use in your scrap space:


LampLamps –You’ll need to have a combination of overhead, task and possibly additional accent lighting in your space.   Use the opportunity to bring some style to your room.  Look for interesting lampshades, decorative trim, and a  lamp body that fits the style of your room.  You can even spruce up plain lamps with stamps and paint, ribbon, and beaded trim.

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.

MagnetBulletin Board – Cork bulletin boards are a great way to temporarily move papers, notes, and new product packages off your main workspace, while still keeping them within sight.  Decorate them with paint, ribbon trim, and stamps to match the décor of your room.

Magnets and Pushpins – Use your scrapbooking supplies to make fashionable magnets or pushpins for your magnet or bulletin board.  Page pebbles with a patterned paper backing or stickers on top of buttons make great magnets.  Use strong liquid glue that dries clear and a roll of self-adhesive magnet tape.  For push-pins, simply glue the decorative element to the front of a flat pushpin with a glue that adheres to metal.

Lattice Board – Paint a section of wooden lattice in the color of your choice.  Then attach hooks and clips to hang baskets, buckets, tools, and supplies from the lattice.  Clothespins, large clips, metal “S” hooks, and even standard finishing nails are all effective ways to hang items from the lattice board.

Hardware – Don’t settle for a plain white plastic hook or knob if you can spring for a more decorative one.  Decorative hardware is a little detail that can make an inexpensive piece of furniture or storage instantly gain personality and style.

Furniture – A fresh coat of paint, stripped and re-stained wood, or even a table skirt are all easy ways to dress up an old piece of furniture.  If you’re buying new, look for a style that will serve both your workspace and storage needs as well as fit into the look you are creating in your space.

Storage Containers - Plastic, canvas, or metal bins, painted baskets or wooden boxes in an accent color create functional organizational containers that also serve as decorating pieces throughout the room. 

Decorations
To really make your scrap space your own little haven, add personal decorative touches that inspire your creativity. 

Layout Frames – Show off your masterpieces by displaying your favorite or most-recent layout creations in frames throughout your room.  Clear acrylic frames are an easy way to interchange layouts frequently and are available in sizes ranging from small 5” x 7” or 6” x 6” sizes to 12” x 24” frames for two-page spreads.  A wooden or metal frame is a more permanent way to display your artwork.  Also available are giant clip boards made to hang on the wall, perfect for displaying finished layouts.  Get creative and hang taut heavy-gauge wire from one end of the room to another along a wall.  Then use clothespins to hold the corners of your layouts along the wire for a unique hanging decoration that can change constantly.

Curtains – Just as you’d decorate a room in your home, don’t forget the accents that make it homey.  A fun fabric that matches the décor of your room is a great way to add texture, pattern and color to your room.  Use wide satin ribbon as a sash or a decorative hook to tie them back.

Curtains

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.

Favorite Photographs – Photos are what fuel the passion for scrapbooking, so don’t forget to include your favorite photographs in your space.  Create an elegant photo collage with coordinating frames, consistent matting and a grouping of black-and-white photographs.  Enlargements make a big statement; consider a poster-size version that inspires you.

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.

Candles – Appeal to all of your senses, and add a fragrant candle to set the mood for a relaxing session of scrapbooking.  Be careful with fire around your supplies.  Keep candles away from your direct work space where they can be easily knocked over.  As with anywhere in your home, do not leave them unattended.  For a fire-proof smell-good option, a soothing scented air freshener can serve the same purpose.

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.

Maintenance

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:

  1. Make it a habit to clean up and clean out your supplies regularly. 
  2. If you run out of room in a storage bin, see if you can discard older products before you expand to another container. 
  3. As you buy new products, put them right into your storage system. 
  4. To save time while you are scrapbooking, designate a “put away” basket near your workspace so you can put all of the extra products away after a scrapbooking session rather than while you are in a creative zone.   
  5. Clean up between layouts, so you can start with a clean slate for each new page.

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