Anatomy of a Scrap Space Design Overhaul, Part 1

About 15 months ago, I finished the creation of my new kitchen scrap space. This moved my scrapbook work area out of the spare room at our house and into the kitchen. Now, for the past few months, I’ve been in the midst of overhauling my original kitchen creation again to fix a variety of problems with it. How can it need an overhaul so fast? I believe that organization is something of a living, breathing process. It’s never really done because we as people are always changing and growing, which means that our organizational needs shift and change as well. What worked a year ago, or even a month ago, can suddenly be unworkable for us today.

So let’s look at what I got right, what stood the test of time, and what I outgrew and got wrong in my original design of the space that I am reworking in this next go-around.

To refresh your memory, here’s a look at what my kitchen scrap space looked like before I started the overhaul:

Just because I’m overhauling my system doesn’t mean that the original design is a complete failure or that I’ve totally outgrown it. Some things about the space as I originally designed it do work really well, and are staying the same or only slightly modified in the new arrangement.

What Works:

Desk Drawer: I’m barely touching a thing in the built-in desk drawer except adding my rulers to the things that are stored there. It’s convenient, easy to use, and keeps key basic stuff right at my fingertips but out of sight.

Rolling Paper File: The rolling file crate that holds my patterned paper and some of my sticker sheets works so well at feeding my creativity that I rarely bother to reach for my “overflow” stash that is still kept in the spare room.

Tool Bucket (Desk): The tin bucket that I bought in Target’s dollar section works great for keeping some of my frequently used items like pens and scissors and my paper piercer right close by and easy to grab. It’s also portable, so I can move it onto my work surface while I ‘m creating if I want.

Tool Surface: Having the flat surfaces on top of my storage cart and cube that I can leave my die cut machine and paper trimmer out on for immediate use have been wonderfully convenient. That feature, while maybe not making for the most elegant home decor, has helped streamline my work process immensely.

Large Baskets (Cabinet): The large plastic baskets in the cabinet have been great for storing a variety of items. Two currently hold an assortment of embellishments like sticker sheets and 3D embellishment packages. Another basket holds my spray mists and templates right now. The baskets, like the tool bucket on the desk, are great for making items easily accessible and then cleaning up fast. I can take a basket down from the cupboard to work, and then put it away when I’m done for instant clean-up.

A few things, however, are not working so well from in the original design of the kitchen space.

What Isn’t Working:

Stamp Storage: Under the original plan, my stamps were spread among 3 different places in the kitchen and then another storage area in the spare room. With the volume of the stamps that I own and use, it became impossible to locate the ones that I needed with them that spread out. I could never remember what I had put in which storage area. I also started using my stamps differently, which mean I was looking for them in different ways than they were sorted in the organizational system.

Small Baskets (Cabinet): The small baskets on the middle shelf of the cabinet were originally a good idea but they didn’t age well. I outgrew the space pretty quickly after setting them up. They were being used for small bottles like Stickles, Distress Stain, and other products, and the growth of mixed media rapidly grew my collection of those items. Another one of the things in this space that I really wanted better storage for was my Project Life kit elements. They were stored in their original kit box, and I wanted storage that was more open and easier to use. The desire for more shallow storage space for small items like this actually led to my biggest change in the space (see below).

Drawer Cart: The cart with drawers was another good idea at the start that just wasn’t quite working anymore as time went on. My Distress pads quickly outgrew the drawer set aside for them, and I found that the drawers weren’t quite deep enough for many of the other things that I wanted to store in that area.

Desktop Storage: The desktop storage has been working pretty well, but has felt inefficient. After contemplating it for awhile, I was sure that I could make better use of this space and fit more into it if I worked at it. (And I was right – see below).

Many of the difficulties that evolved over the course of my first year in my kitchen space came from changing trends. My increasing use of stamping and mixed media techniques required new tools and supplies, which needed different kinds of space. It’s meant more bottles of things, more ink pads, and the addition of things like rolls of decorative tape, and ribbon rolls that I hadn’t been using in large quantity previously.

So after contemplating all of the above, I came up with a plan to overhaul my kitchen scrap space and make it more workable. If you’d like to see what the changes look like, come back for part two of this article to see!

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6 Responses to Anatomy of a Scrap Space Design Overhaul, Part 1

  1. Debra August 18, 2012 at 1:45 am #

    I will!

  2. LindaBabe August 18, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    don’t you gals ever sleep? Love the space as it is, Nancy, but totally understand how you have to tweak it. Mine is in my kitchen too, but much much messier. I started out with just what was on the one wall where my workspace is. Now, I have storage spread across bins in the diningroom bookshelf, and hall closet. I even got rid of my “good” china so there’d be more space for my toys. Hope you don’t have to go to those lengths!

  3. linda August 18, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I’m curious – why move from a spare room to the kitchen? Space looks great! Do you find you prefer all your supplies in one area?

    • Nancy Nally August 18, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

      Linda, I decided to move to the kitchen because I realized that I didn’t like being isolated in the spare room away from the flow of the house. I like working better in the middle of things. It also means that I can work at the kitchen table which seats more than one person, so I can work with my husband or another guest.

      I still have some storage in the spare room, but it is limited and mostly in containers that I can retrieve and bring to the kitchen to use, and then put back when I’m done.

  4. Vicki Jackson August 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    The quote that sums it up: “I believe that organization is something of a living, breathing process. It’s never really done because we as people are always changing and growing, which means that our organizational needs shift and change as well. ”

    I will be sharing that quote!

  5. Gab August 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    Great pics!

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