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Creative Organizing Blog

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March 31, 2006

Advice for Scrapbook Supply Collectors

Q:  What is your advice to us that tend to hoard "for someday" or "that perfect layout" and then find stuff...out of style, expired, etc.? I do this both in my everyday and creative life. And see myself basically throwing money away, yet can't seem to stop from buying the coolest and latest scrap stuff (and other items) even though I have more than I need already.

A:  Whether we’re talking about scrapbook supplies, shoes, or sweaters, the first step is to get real about what you have, what you need and most of all … what you love. If you don’t love it … loose it! If it’s an old item that you loved once upon a time but don’t anymore … chances are pretty good you won't love it again … ever.

Here’s the thing … the money is already gone. Holding onto things you know you aren’t going to use, won’t bring the money back. The negative feelings you have about your excess or outdated supplies is taking away from the joy of scrapbooking. Let it go. And as you do, take note of how you feel. Literally. As you purge outdated items, jot down how you feel on a piece of paper.

Tuck your notes into your wallet for the next time you hit the scrapbook store. Reconnecting with how you felt letting go of supplies may help curb your appetite on the next buying excursion. If you must stock up … stock up on things that are timeless, instead of loading up on things that will go out of style. Once you pair down you may feel a sense of relief and possibly a creative surge. Sometimes the most creative scrapbook pages come from having fewer options and using your supplies in creative and exciting ways.

March 28, 2006

Plan to Recreate Your Creative Space

Are you about to reorganize (or recreate) your creative space? If so … be sure to take some time up front to really get clear about your goals. Search the web, browse through design books like Pottery Barn Workspaces and Where Women Create … to find spaces that really speak to you aesthetically and functionally.

Right now I have the pleasure of helping Renee Pearson as she recreates her studio.  (Aren’t I lucky? YES!) Renee has done a lot of planning and research to figure out what type of studio and what elements in a studio inspire her and will help her stay organized and be productive. (Remember … the more we love our space, the more we’ll want to be there… the more we’ll get done. It’s a vivacious circle (perhaps the opposite of a vicious circle … I just made it up but I kind of like it.))

Anyway … here are some links to some great creative spaces (a lot of them are scrap spaces which makes me happy.) Check them out and remember … planning pays off … not usually … always!

Michelle Hill
Alannah Jurgensmeyer

Candi Leonard

Amy Butler

Carrie Owens


Donna Downey

And be sure to check out Wendy Smedley's blog ... she's always good for finding really great links to creative spaces that will make you green with envy ... I mean ... inspired ;)

March 23, 2006

Help is here: what to do with all that mail!

Q:  What should I do with mail that I want to think about and catalogs that need to be read?

Let’s tackle catalogs first. A great rule of thumb is to store things where you use them. So where do you use catalogs either to place orders or to casually flip through them just for fun? Store catalogs in a basket or decorative storage bin in either the location where you shop from the catalogs, or where you browse through them for fun. Give yourself enough room for the current edition of each of your favorite catalogs … and then, when a new catalog lands in your mailbox, pitch the old one. (If you know for sure you don’t need anything from that catalog anytime in the near future, by all means, pitch both of them!)

For other time sensitive items that you want to think about … use the same rule of thumb. Let’s take coupons as an example. Sure, coupons from The Gap, Bath and Body or your other favorite retailer are great …but do you need anything from that store? Will you have time to get to that store before the expiration date? If no, pitch it. If yes, store your coupons in a box for coupons or file pocket in a command central binder. (Follow the link to learn more about the command central binder.) Remember to purge expired coupons when you add a new one to the box or folder.

Weekly challenge: create luggage tags using scrapbook supplies

Don’t you just love it when ideas and inspiration pop up out of nowhere? So I’m at the Boston airport waiting for my luggage … watching all the nearly identical bags pass by on the luggage turnstile when it hits me … why not use scrapbook supplies to make fun and easily recognizable luggage tags? Since I’m still in Boston no pictures … but I’m envisioning brightly colored tags with your name and address in a fun font … perhaps using your own handwriting –or– using your computer and favorite scrapbook fonts. How about embellishing with a monogram sticker? Once your tag is designed and cut to size, laminate it, punch a hole and securely attach it to your bag with scrapbook ribbon. How fun is that? You’ll know instantly which bag is yours and no one will mistake your bag for theirs! (If you do this … email me a picture and I’ll post some pictures on my blog.)

Oh … and one more thing while we’re talking about handwriting. At the conference yesterday the lady sitting next to me looked at my notes and said “cool handwriting!” OK … having just started reading Heidi Swapp’s book “Love Your Handwriting” … I have to say this was a huge compliment for me. I love Heidi’s book. Want to learn more and see more of my favorite scrapbooking books?

March 21, 2006

Boston Here I Come!

I'm literally running out the door right now to the airport. Headed to the NAPO convention in Boston! Yeah!!

I'm taking my laptop and will be responding to the questions you posed in "How May Help You." Thanks for your patience ... have you ever noticed that things that need to get done pop up out of nowhere right before a trip???

March 19, 2006

Happy Day!

My class was just posted on big picture scrapbooking! How fun is that? I hope to see you in class!

March 15, 2006

Weekly Challenge: Intentionally Do Something Imperfect!

If there’s one thing that stifles creative pursuits and efforts to get more organized, it’s the desire to achieve perfection. People fail to start getting organized because they haven’t figured out the perfect solution for every piece of their project. Others don’t start creative projects or begin scrapbooking because they’re afraid the result won’t be perfect. Giving up the quest for perfection is liberating.

This week, do something, anything, imperfectly. Do something you’ve been avoiding because you didn’t think you could do it well enough. Try a new scrapbooking technique, even though you’ll be clumsy. Tackle an organizing project … even if you don’t have figured out every single last detail of the final product.

Now … a little story. I can speak to the topic of perfection very first hand …because you see, I am a recovering perfectionist. I am bound and determined not to pass this trait on to my kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are a time and a place to do your best and create the best possible project, product, output, whatever the case may be, that you can. However, there are also times to simply let go of pressure and judgment … and see what imperfect beauty you create along the way.

In December, my son had a Young Authors project to do for school. His quest was to author and illustrate a book. I went out and bought a blank bound book, handed over a pencil, eraser and colored pencils … and let him at it. Collin and I talked about possible topics for the book. It seemed the project was supposed to be fiction …something the child would create with characters and a plot. My son wanted to write about cars, a non-fictional, fact-based book. “OK,” I thought, we’re not doing this to win … we’re doing this so Collin can enjoy the experience of creating a book … HIS book.

So Collin wrote about cars and drew pictures of cars and wrote about being safe in cars and rules of the road. It was completely his creation. He chose what to write about. What pictures to draw. I corrected no misspelled words. I didn’t worry about places where the eraser didn’t quite catch all the stray marks and mistakes. I simply adored his creation and watching him create.

His book is precious. It’s pure. It’s real. It’s something far better than perfect.

The icing on the cake? Collin and his little book have been selected to represent his school at the State Young Author’s competition. Yes, I’m a proud Mommy. And after this experience, a wiser one, too.

See … there is something better than perfect. I call it … authentic. Seek authentic and see how freeing it is.


March 09, 2006

How May I Help You?

First .. a quick story. At the ripe age of sixteen I got my first job at McDonald’s. Glamorous? Uh … not even slightly … especially considering my reign as drive-thru queen happened to fall during the polyester uniform era. (I’m here to tell you … polyester has many faults, one of which is retaining the smell of French Fries even after going through the wash. My best friend’s Mom used to hang her uniform in the garage … it was that bad. (Yes, my best friend Liz worked at Mickey D’s too making the job a bit more fun yet no more glamorous.)) OK … back to the story and eventually the point. :)

As drive-thru queen, I said over and over again “Welcome to McDonald’s, how may I help you?” I said this so much so that when I went out to post this today … typing “how may help you” instantly conjured up this silly (ancient) memory.

OK ... now to the point. And it is this ... I’d love to help you “crack the code” on your organizing dilemmas and create the changes in your life that you’re longing for. What’s getting in your way? Is a disorganized creative space making it impossible to … well … create? Are you lacking time to pursue creative endeavors like scrapbooking? Are you overwhelmed by a box (or plastic tub) full of photos … and wish you could find a way to get organized and start scrapbooking? Is your kitchen counter covered with paperwork making it impossible to cook, let alone pursue something fun or creative?

How may I help you? Post me a post … and I’ll pull some creative and inspiring ideas from the happy scrapper (or my head!) and help you create the changes you’re looking to make! Give it a try! I’m here to help (and so happy to do it — especially since there’s no polyester involved!)

March 07, 2006

Weekly Challenge: Create a Goals Board for Your Creative Space


In honor of the Craft and Hobby Association's National Craft Month, I'll be posting a weekly mini-project to help you create an organized and inspiring creative space!

This week's challenge ... creating a "goals board" for your creative space.

The board shown in the picture is the goals board in my office. As you can see (maybe?) my number one goal is the happy scrapper ... first to complete writing it (goal accomplished!) and now to market and sell it. I also have a list of my professional goals hanging in eye sight ... so if ever I start day dreaming, right smack dab in my line of vision is a list of my goals to guide me back on track. This board is for my top three business priorities, but behind me I have personal goals with magazine clippings to represent different personal goals I'm working towards. Once you create the board, fill it with images that inspire you to create the life you want!

OK ... here's what you'll need to create a goals board of your own:

  • one piece of homasote board. (mine is 2' x 3' ... I say go as big as your space can accommodate!) The link is for a dealer locater so you can find a homasote dealer near you. I highly recommend asking your dealer to cut the board to size ... since cutting this stuff makes the biggest mess you've ever seen. (Wish I had pictures of that!)
  • one piece of burlap sized approximately six inches larger (in both directions) than your homasote board. Check out Hancock Fabrics for burlap.
  • house numbers — numerals 1 through 3 (This is optional, but great if you'll use your board as a priorities board.)
  • staple gun
  • safety goggles
  • images of your goals and priorities

All you have to do to complete the project is wrap the burlap around the pre-cut board. Staple the excess fabric to the back of the board to secure the burlap tightly in place. Then ... find compelling images of your goals and tack them up. Type your goals on the computer, print them, and post them on your board, too. Then each day, take action to work towards your goals!

p.s. the happy scrapper is loaded with ideas like this for creating an organized and inspiring scrap space. I hope you'll check it out!

March 05, 2006

Are You Getting in Your Way?

I write a monthly column for a local paper called Today's AdVantage. I thought I'd share this month's column on the blog because I find many similarities between people's beliefs about creativity and their beliefs about organizing.

Beliefs about what we should be able to do often get in the way of actually doing. We feel we should be more organized, more creative, better in one way or another.

How are your beliefs about yourself getting in the way of your creativity and creative projects? What's getting in the way of making progress on your organizing? Let it go ... strive for progress, not perfection.

Here's this month's column:

Q: I feel like I should be able to get organized on my own. Why is this so hard for me?

Many clients feel embarrassed asking for help getting organized.  For them, organizing feels like something they should naturally know how to do. I’m here to tell you, there is no more reason you should be born knowing how to organize, than you should be born with a beautiful singing voice! For some, it comes naturally. For others, organizing is a learnable skill. And that is one of my main goals when I work with you: to teach you how to get organized and stay organized.

The process you will learn breaks down organizing into manageable steps. This step-by-step process works just as well for small projects like a junk drawer to large projects like a basement, overflowing with year’s worth of stuff.  Once you learn the process, you’ll tackle future organizing projects with confidence and ease!

To learn more about my services visit 

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