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by Laura Arellano-Weddleton

You can never have enough patterned paper, and it seems like there’s always a new tool or gadget that you just have to have. The most important scrapbooking tool you’ll ever use, though, is your workspace itself. You’ll be amazed at how an organized, functional scrapspace will make scrapbooking both easier and more fun.

There are many elements to consider when creating a workspace, such as ample desk space, adequate lighting, and comfortable seating, which all come together to create a great place for you to work. Here are some ideas to help you create your own ideal workspace.

Assess Your Needs
The first step toward having a productive workspace is to assess how much room you have. You may want to begin by sketching out the area and getting an idea of what supplies you want to keep where, where your workspace is going to be, where the computer goes, etc.  This sketch is a starting point to give you an idea of what type of desk or furniture you can fit into your space and still have room for all your supplies.

If you are tight on space, you should first identify your “must haves” so you can be sure to include the essentials into your workspace design. For instance, so that you’ll have enough space to spread your in-progress pages out on your desk, pound eyelets, and use your paper cutter, your actual workspace should be at least 15’’ wide by 30’’ deep.  The surface you use should also be fairly sturdy, since you’ll most likely be hammering or using heavy equipment like a die-cutting machine.   Another essential to any workspace is good lighting.  Make sure to plan space for a few lamps, especially if your space doesn’t have great natural lighting, or if you work at night.  You’ll also want to have comfortable seating, especially if you sit while you’re scrapping. 

If you are using a shared space as your workspace such as a kitchen or dining table there are additional factors to consider.  If your workspace serves double-duty as an eating area, have a system to quickly and easily put away what you’ve been working on. For instance, keep your work on a tray (the kind you might use for breakfast in bed) so that you can move your project while the table’s being used and come back to it easily later.  Also, invest in a large self-healing mat so that you don’t damage your table.

Of course, the more space you can give yourself, the better! If you have enough room, think about creating more than one workstation: one for your computer, one for paper cutting and setting eyelets, one for putting together your layout, etc.

The next important step is to assess your own individual needs as a scrapbooker. Since you’re designing your own personal space, it should reflect your unique needs. Do you like to stand when you scrap? Sit at a desk? Sit on the floor? This will help determine the height and placement of your workspace. What items do you use most often? You may need a desk with a drawer, or a place on top of, under or near the desk to store those things. 

Once you know what your “must haves” are, you can begin to look for furniture that will accomplish those requirements.  Generally, scrapbookers have three options for creating an effective workspace: investing in furniture specially designed for scrapbooking, purchasing office furniture and adapting it to fit your scrapbooking needs, or creating your own desk or table from scratch or with found items.

Scrapbook-Specific Furniture
It’s not surprising that nowadays there is furniture made just for scrapbooking. Furniture like this usually looks a bit like normal office furniture, but has some important differences. For instance, there’s storage for unique scrapbooking items like 12” x 12” paper and deep shelves for storing albums.  Unfortunately, because of the specialty sizes and design, they are usually more expensive.

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