Organizing your scrap area, part 3: Determine YOUR needs

Once you’ve purged your stash and decided how to sort your supplies for storage, then you have to decide how and what to store them in. For today’s scrapbooker, the options are almost endless. So how do you narrow down all the possibilities to what is the best plan for YOU?

The first question to ask yourself as you begin to design the functionality of your scrap space is “what do I use my scrap area for?” Now, before you think I have completely lost my mind, consider the many different ways that different scrapbookers utilize their scrapbook areas. Some scrapbookers use their spaces as actual work areas, some just for storage, some are computer scrappers and some paper scrappers. There are as many different scrap area needs as there are scrappers. So how do you decide what YOU need?

The most basic question is, do you actually scrap in your scrap area, or do you wish you could? Do you use your scrap area as your actual work area, or do you usually haul your supplies to crops or to other areas of your home to do your actual work? Are you happy with this current arrangement, or do you want or need to change it? Setting up a storage area requires consideration of different factors than a work space, i.e. portability of containers vs. reachability of critical supplies from your workstation.

If you do not actually work in your scrapbook area, what storage functions does it serve? Do you move whole containers of supplies to another area to work, or assemble page packets to take to crops? Obviously plastic drawer storage such as I use is impractical if you want to be able to just grab whole containers and take them to a crop outside your home. But they are very useful if you want to grab a drawer and just take it to your kitchen table to use. Other questions: Do you have a large crop tote that needs to be accommodated? Is your scrap area in a “public” area of your home so you need your storage to be visually elegant or discreet? Do you need to worry about issues like storing certain supplies in a child-safe manner? Answers to these questions and more should provide you with a good framework to start from in designing an area that will suit your needs.

If you do work actually in your scrap area, some of the above questions are still relevant to you, but there are additional things to consider as well. Are you a computer or paper scrapbooker, or a combination? Do you need to accommodate a computer in your work area? Do you like to have multiple layouts in progress at once? Do you like to have others come to your home to scrapbook with you and share your space and supplies? Do you engage in messy techniques like ink and paint usage that you need to have space for? Do you scrap in a very controlled process of creating a page that you already have pre-envisioned in your head, or are you like me, just hauling out stuff and trying it out to see what you like and making a big mess?

In addition to asking yourself the above type of questions to determine your scrapbook space needs, another method I found very useful in designing my current scrapbook workspace was to go through books, articles and online photo galleries of scrapbook workspaces and mark the ones that really appealed to me. Then I looked at all of those together and tried to figure out what they all (or mostly) had in common that I could apply to my own workspace. In my case, I had previously set up three scrap areas with a table in them to work at, but was still always hauling my things to the kitchen table to work. Looking at photos of spaces I liked, I came to the realization that I liked spaces with tables not against the wall. Perhaps I am a bit claustraphobic, but I didn’t realize until I thought about it in this way that I didn’t like having the wall in my face. Now that I have set my area up with my desk angled out into the room, I work there all the time! (And the kitchen table is now cluttered up with my laptop computer and magazines instead of my scrap stuff! Some things never change….)

Spending some time determining YOUR specific needs before you embark on creating your scrap space is a great investment of time and effort. It does no good to have a picture-perfect scrap room – if it is perfect for someone else, and not for you. So take a good look and ask yourself hard questions and give honest answers, and then you will have a solid foundation for your scrap area design to be built on!

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