On the 19th of December, we had our carpets cleaned. That meant we had to move "STUFF" from the office, the dining room, the living room, the master bedroom and my bedroom. The house was in chaos and, on the 22nd, was still not totally back together. I was paying bills and endorsing checks for deposit on the 22nd. when it came time to put the bills in the mailbox for pick-up and the checks at Charlie's pick-up point in the kitchen, I COULD NOT FIND THE CHECKS! I searched the entire dining room table (where my bill paying, tax files and computer live). Four times. COULD NOT FIND THEM! I went to the mail box where I had placed the bills and they hadn't somehow got mixed in them.. As I trudged up the driveway, I thought I'd check one more time... and WHEW! - found them stuck into the bank statement envelope in my tax prep pile.
While I am fairly organized, this was scary. So I have decided to set the month of January aside to clean up my messes: the taxes (and associated receipts and documents) in the dining room, and my craft space in the basement.
For the former, there are boxes of tax material dating back nearly a decade piled in the corner of the dining room, two more (last years taxes and this year's receipts) on the dining table, and stacks of scrap paper, note pads, expired pens and mailing stuff on the rest of the table. Also, my husband uses half the table for assembling jigsaw puzzles and, right now, that space is also covered with two-year's worth of framed stitchery that needs to go into archival storage in the basement. While the act of preparing taxes will clear some of the clutter, I really need to move those boxes and the stitchery to storage.
As for my craft space, it encompasses needlework, quilting and paper crafting. It is next to Charlie's craft space (currently totally inactive so he tends to flow over into mine, and also a mess but I'm not cleaning THAT!) and the media "room". Anyone coming to view movies or listen to music with Charlie has to pass by my mess...
- In my stitchery area, there are uncounted floss skeins, bead containers, charms and ribbons that need to be sorted and stored properly rather than in a pile on my cutting table --- the top of which cannot be seen, let alone used. What is more, there is a pile of UFOs that need to be pressed and "finish-finished" that occupies one corner of that table.
- Luckily, with only a few random items in a UFO pile, my quilting space in that same basement is in pretty good shape, although the cupboards that contain supplies COULD do with a clean-out.
- In my stamping space. I have all my recent stamp, die and stencil acquisitions stuffed in a postal service flat-rate postage box which clearly is NOT acceptable, to say nothing of accessible. I have all my cards made for challenges this year stuffed in a shoe-box-size box which is balanced on top of a toppling pile of scraps of card, and there is simply no more room --- they need to be sorted and filed so I can find a card as I need one, rather than making an altogether new one at the last minute! The floor is littered with cardboard cartoons of various sizes holding embellishments, tools, inks and the like, stacks of 12 x 12 and 6 x 6 patterned paper pads, an accordion file of more paper scraps --- so much stuff that moving my chair is an exercise in spatial geometry! In addition, I constantly spend a lot of time searching for a stamp I KNOW I have or card that will work with something or a refill for adhesive or ink tools, all of which takes away for creative time.
All of this stuff has a place to go and I plan to put it there, clearly labeled so I can find it. And I hope to set a new goal for myself --- PUT THINGS AWAY WHEN I AM FINISHED WITH THEM!
So there you have it... I have a New Year's Resolution and I hope to get it well underway in January. If that means I won't be able to craft as much for a while, or participate in challenges or swaps or other creative things, so be it. In the long run, I hope that cleaning up my area will lead to more creative play time later!
Wish me luck!
P.S. Here are some random photos of my craft space, taken on New Year's Eve, so you can see what I mean...
The Dining Room:
Top left shows the tangle of cords that lead to my two laptops (the old one, currently not in use is visible in this photo) and iPad
Top right, rotating to my right from the previous photo, shows half of the dining room table and the chaos that is my bill-paying/tax return center - AND my current, in-use laptop. The pile to the left of the laptop is bills to pay and receipts to enter into Quicken. The box behind that pile is last-year's return data. immediately behind the laptop is pile of receipts to be filed. To the right of my laptop is a relatively clear space with scratch paper, pens, etc., and behind it is a box of charitable solicitations I have NOT dealt with (and which needs to be trashed, to be honest.
Bottom left, still rotating to my right, is husband's jigsaw puzzle work space on top of which is stacked the aforementioned framed stitchery.
Bottom right, moving around the table and looking toward the window where I started --- a stack of tax return data boxes from the past (a guess) ten years...
My Craft Space in the basement...
Starting with stitchery, which really doesn't belong in my paper crafting clean-up report EXCEPT that it has encroached on my paper crafting space (and I do use some of teh supplies, like threads, beads and even some fabric in paper crafting)!
Top left: My cutting table! As you can see, only half of it is visible, let alone useable. It is the flat dumping space for things I haven't put away! The blue bin is beads that need sorting; the cardboard carton is piled high with threads that need sorting; the plastic bags are ribbons that need sorting; and the black bag on the far right holds stitchery that needs finish-finishing! Under the table is stamp storage in Iris Carts (mainly Stamping' Up!) and a set of bins that hold MORE stitcher (this dating back to the 90s in some cases, that need finish-finishing), empty "project bags", and loose 12 x 12 scrapbooking papers...
Top right is mainly paper crafting but those six stacked white sterlite baskets are my DMC floss which used to live in a cabinet and will go BACK when I get the aforementioned cardboard box sorted and into the proper baskets!
Bottom left is a stack of bins with yarn, mostly leftover needlepoint wools from the 90s. I need to find a better place to stack them that in front of the cabinet which should be storing my floss baskets! Maybe back in the little corner between cabinets which currently holds my blocking board and lots of bags of polyfill...
Bottom right is my sewing station. No too bad, actually, but the floor on either side holds an old Singer sewing machine and more plaststic bins that have been there so long I don't remember what is in them. Needs looking at at least!
Now to the REAL issue
Papercrafting! part one.
Top Left: I walked to the back side of my work space and shot over the desk to get this picture. Then I scanned from the side of the same space. If I move from nearest my work space (Top right) to the cutting table behind me (Bottom right) you can see that the floor is literally covered with product that needs putting away, Behind all that is my 8 1/2 x 11 paper storage (not the papers mentioned above in sewing and not a large 12 x 12 hanging file under my desk on the back side, neither of which I photographed) in bankers boxes. I have to move all or parts of thstuff in front to get to my paper (which probably could also do with a good sorting but that's another story!).
Top right shows a cardboard box with stamp sets, dies and embossing folders that need to find a place to live. Under that box you can see three white boxes with label tags on that already hold cling stamp sets (there were six more visible under my cutting table in sewing and along the back of that table are stacks of many more, some holding embossing folders and some holding stencils). They were not meant for storage the way I use them as they have three ring binders inside that are meant to hold plastic page protectors for smaller stamp sets. Once the binders that come with the boxes are full, one can't add more or the box won't close. So I either remove the page protectors and store stamp sets in loose, or store many of my larger sets in Iris cart drawers but I've run out of room in the ones I have and have no place to put more so...A conundrum!
Bottom left and right shows 12x12 paper collections (no place in the paper storage behind or in the hinging folder or the bins previously mentioned) and boxes and bags of Idea-ology, Prima flowers, markers and pencils, Nuvo drops and Wow embossing powders, as well as various tools, storage solutions (that I THOUGHT would be cool but don't really work in this space), etc. SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE here!
Oh, and on the other side of all this, accessible from the other side of the table, is a row of Iris carts filled with wood-mounted stamps and the odd drawer of unmounted rubber, foam, poly (many magazine freebies) and cling stamps as well.
I took the Top left and Top right from behind my work space. Top Left shows an "in box" basket piled high with scraps of paper, instructions for projects, and cards (in the pink box on the far right) and the like, all of which I periodically sort and put away, But clearly in the last few months, I have not. And in the view, behind that pink box of cards is a stack of all my stamp positioners (MISTI, Tim Holtz, and an old-fashioned INkadinkado for wood mounted stamps) which perch on top of a series of Cricuit cartridge boxes, Cricket tools and metal embossing tools. Clearly, I rarely use the Cricut stuff (read never, actually) or the tools... and this may well be a candidate for a donate bin...
Top right shows the space to the left of that file basket: stacks of ink storage (Mini Distress, Archival and several other brands of mini- ink cubes) and two totes with tools (ranging from rulers to scissors to glues to...). I lose things in those totes for weeks! Barely visible under that desk are empty Tim Holtz storage boxes for dies I have yet to acquire (I planed ahead as he threatens their discontinuing every once in a while) and some Art Bins full of Lindy's Gang sprays and the like, Ken Oliver and Brushos powders and sets of colored pencils and Zig markers....
Bottom shows the other side of my work space where you get a glimpse of the stuff under the desk (I have limited leg room here) with that box of larger chipboard kits and the like on top of a Sterlite three-drawer unit with more 12 x 12 papers and more art bin boxes with more sprays, stains and paints (mainly Tim Holtz and Dylusions, but also some small selections of Tattered Angles and other brands). On the left of my work space is another Sterlite bin, this one filled with 'tovers - pieces I had prepped but decided not to use and so I filed them in little envelopes for future use (assuming I can find them!). On the right is my sewing basket (the dark brown wicker) with my blank card bases and my most used acrylic block on top. Plastic cups hold more tools, brushes, water (which my cat persists in knocking over!) and blending foams. Behind the cups and sewing basket are cleaning solutions, glues and media currently in common use and (out of view to the far right) a large wicker wine tote with four compartments, holding glue pens and tape rolls, cutting tools (scissors, craft knives), markers, labels and the like.
As the month progresses, I will post some before-and-after photos as I get into the organizing for real. I will do the sewing space stuff on my stitchery blog as part of the 2018 WIPocalypse challenge. When I do something paper-crafting related, I will post it here. I'm hoping that this "promise' will keep me focused on my goal for 2018: A better organized work crafting space!