2011 is winding down and soon it will be 2012. Most of us will probably start the new year off by making resolutions, some scrapbook related, and many of us are already planning scrapbook projects that will span 2012.
But, as we look forward, we have to admit that there is something holding us back: this year’s unfinished projects. Whether it is a Project Life album we didn’t keep up with, or a Big Picture class like One Little Word, or another creative project that we tasked ourselves to complete in 2011 and haven’t, it weighs on our mind and creates guilt and leaves a sense of failure already hanging over us as we try to embark on next year’s projects.
Unless, of course…we come up with a way to finish them or get them off of our mind. Which is why this week Scrapbook Update is launching Operation Clean Slate. It’s all about closing out 2011 with a finished project and a clear mind!
So let’s get started!
Each week, we’ll try to move a bit closer to completing something, and to letting go of the rest – to creating a clean slate for 2012. I know this is a busy time of year so we’ll take it slow and try to create doable tasks. Remember, the goal of this is not to commit to a huge project. The goal is to do something manageable and then give yourself permission to let go of what is not possible to complete, to let go of the massive pressures that we put on ourselves to be superhuman.
The holidays can be a time when we are so busy doing for others that we forget to take care of ourselves. Operation Clean Slate is intended to be a way of taking care of yourself, a way of giving yourself permission to take a break to do something that you enjoy, while at the same time freeing you from pressures you put on yourself. This is your mental health break from the holiday insanity, not another item on your holiday to-do list.
So how do we get started? The first step is all about planning.
1. Make a list
We’re making a list and checking it twice! Before you can complete something and let go of the rest, you need to figure out what it is that you committed yourself to in 2011. So, start by making a list of all the major creative projects that you had promised yourself you would do in 2011. Don’t worry about the list being too long – just dump everything onto it and we’ll sort it out in the next steps.
Here’s my list:
One Little Word class
Monthly Tags Album
Envelope Album (for letters from my husband)
2. Status Check
You need to pick one of the projects on your list to actually complete in 2011. One factor influencing your choice of project will be choosing something manageable to complete. To decide what is manageable you’ll need to know where each project currently stands in terms of completion. Take a few minutes and jot some notes on your list about how much still needs to be done on each item.
Project Life: Partially complete through January. Lacking photos to fully complete as designed.
One Little Word class: Mostly complete through June.
Monthly Tags Album: Short one tag of being up-to-date.
Envelope Album (for letters from my husband): Album purchased but that is all.
Hometown Album: Album purchased & pictures printed.
Another factor influencing which project you choose to complete will be its personal importance to you. Look at your list and place a star next to a project (or a couple, if necessary) that are the most important to you personally. Yes, they are all important or they wouldn’t be on your list…but which ones are really important?
*Project Life: Important for a lot of reasons to create a record of 2011 for my husband and daughter.
One Little Word class: Important more for the process itself than for the album that it creates
*Monthly Tags Album: Very therapeutic project
*Envelope Album (for letters from my husband): Important to me for sentimental reasons
Hometown Album: Scrapping my present is more important to me than scrapping my past is.
4. Make A Choice
All right…it’s time to take all that information you put together in steps one through three and make a choice. What project has the magical combination of being the most important and the most doable in 2011?
For me, from the three projects that I starred, I chose my Project Life to complete in 2011. It’s designed for quick and easy scrapbooking, so it is the perfect project for Operation Clean Slate. Completing it will also result in the greatest “bang for my buck” as far as the record of memories that will be completed for my family from my time invested. And that is a high priority for me right now.
That’s not to say that I’m abandoning the other projects. I didn’t choose the Monthly Tag Album for Operation Clean Slate because it is almost up to date without needing to make a special effort. I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing all along on that, which should keep it up to date through the end of the year. The other projects will be addressed in a later part of this Operation Clean Slate process.
5. Gather supplies
Organization really helps with completing a project quickly and well. Now that you’ve selected a project to work on, it’s time to take a hard look at gathering what you need to complete it. Gathering everything ahead of time means you won’t be interrupted during the process of creating by a lack of materials.
One thing to keep in mind when assembling your materials is to look for materials that you can use that provide shortcuts of some kind, and to avoid planning complicated techniques that take a lot of time. Quick and easy is the mantra for Operation Clean Slate: pre-made embellishments, simple techniques, and not making anything too complicated.
How I am doing it: For my Project Life, I’ve had a basket assembled all year in my scrapbook cupboard that has my Project Life kit elements in it. I’ve also tucked into that basket a few other elements that I have gathered that work with my Project Life – My Mind’s Eye 4×6 overlays, some Elle’s Studio journaling tags, and a corner rounder. I also stick small pieces of memorabilia in here, like receipts.
I also have a stash of papers assembled to use that will make completing my album easier. There’s the Project Life kit papers, and some Simple Stories 4×6 journaling card sheets along with some of their coordinating patterned sheets.
In addition I have a large number of calendar and date items stashed as part of my monthly tag album project that I plan to draw on, especially the items that are dated for months in 2011 that were left unused after I made the tag for that month. It’s unlikely that those items will get used for scrapbook layouts so Project Life is the perfect thing to use them up on.
Another thing not to forget to stock up on for a project like this is photo paper and ink (if you print at home). If you need photos and can’t print them due to running out of supplies, everything comes to a screeching halt. I have a large stash of my favorite 4×6 Canon photo paper on hand (I buy it 400 sheets at a time from Amazon for a big discount) and enough ink to keep me going until Amazon Prime two day shipping can get me resupplied if I need more.
Next week, I’ll be back with week two of Operation Clean Slate, when we’ll be figuring out some ways to streamline projects as we tackle them at this busy time of year.
So…what project are you going to tackle for Operation Clean Slate?
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