Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Pack Rat's Guide to Getting Organized Part 2: All's Well That's Planned Well

I've often heard my husband use an expression he refers to as "The Seven P's—Perfect Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. Basically, he's saying that when we plan ahead and know what we're doing before we tackle big projects, we'll have better results. It's true. It's always the things we don't plan for that wind up causing problems! Organizing a room is no different than planning a banquet or building a house—you have to decide what you want to accomplish before you can start any work. Otherwise, you'll waste a lot of time thinking and rethinking everything after the fact. 

The best place to start when getting organized is to think about how you want to use the room. Is it *just* for scrapbooking, or do you plan to do other crafts as well? My room also serves as a sometimes dance studio where my daughter and I practice belly dancing. Because of this, I have to have large amounts of open space. I also do a lot of other crafts like sewing, crochet, and of course I store some of the supplies for our Crafty Neighbor products. If you need to share a room with the rest of the family, it might mean keeping some supplies out of reach of children. Knowing how you plan to use the room is a big step in designing the perfect space for your needs. Once you know what your needs are, you can start planning how to deal with them. 

Break it into smaller projects/set small goals

Sometimes getting organized can be overwhelming. A big mistake people often make is in only seeing the big picture. You may know what you want, but getting there can be a scary process. The key is to not think of your room as a whole, but instead to break it into smaller projects. Tackle one small job at a time and make it work. Don’t waste time and energy worrying about the rest of it.

For a craft room, you might want to work on a single area, like cleaning up a specific corner of the room or simply organizing one shelf. If you want to break it down even smaller than that, you could sort all your scrapbook paper or organize all your knitting yarn. The key is to work on only one thing at a time. When you get it the way you want it, then you can move on to another project or area of the room. 

Deciding where to start was pretty obvious for me; I started where I had the biggest "emergency"—with my photos. The photo bug bit me at a young age. I just love having pictures of all my favorite memories, and so I take pictures of everything. Lots of pictures. Rolls and rolls and rolls of pictures. I take pictures faster than I can scrapbook! As a result, I had a lifetime of photographs stuffed into every conceivable place. Pictures were glued into construction paper scrapbooks; pictures were slapped into "magnetic" photo albums—I even had pictures stored in shoeboxes! And we won't even talk about what happened to all my digital photos! Unfortunately, when it came time to make a scrapbook page with those pictures, I could never find the ones I wanted! 

In my next installment, we'll talk about some different ways to safely store photos and negatives along with the importance of digital archives and the care and treatment of other kinds of memorabilia. Until then, start thinking about what you want to accomplish, make your plans, and remember to break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks.