My upline Jessica gave a little talk on organizational tips at one of her meetings and one section really struck home. It was on having "zones" around yourself when you're settled in your favorite stamping chair. In the closest zone, the area immediately in front of you, you should have the tools you use ALL the time, on a daily basis (see my list below). In the next zone, the area within arm's reach, you should have the tools you use the next most-often (like once a week or more). The next zone is things you'd have to stretch, bend, stand, open or otherwise disturb yourself to get 9thing you use once a month or so). The final zone is things you'd have to get up and walk to get, which encompasses the rest of the room and should be things you use only occasionaly or seasonally.
It makes a lot of sense and I am in the process of converting my stamp room to this zone system (within the parameters of my vintage house and it's layout and quirks. Right now I have to get up and move to get every single piece of cardstock--but let me tell you, stamping is a sedentary job and a little movement is a good thing). I began to realize how much JUNK I have within my first two zones--things that I honestly don't need right at hand, which I could move to make room for tools I DO need right at hand. There's a thought!
So here's my list of the top ten items I need right at hand. I keep them on my stamping table and in a spinning tool organizer I got from Pampered Chef that works perfectly for this purpose! My adhesives are all in a little open, shallow basket on the shelf immediately to my right hand.
1. Bone Folder--honestly, I can't fold a simple piece of paper in half any more without this great tool. And yes, it's made of real cow bone. And no, I don't know why that works so much better than the fake plastic "bone" folders in the stores, but it does--no comparison. My favorite thing to do with it is stick in the the groove of the paper trimmer and use it to score when I'm too lazy to pull out the scoring blade.
2. Paper Trimmer--what on earth does one do without this item? Some of you are still cutting your cards by hand with a ruler and pencil. How tedious! And can I let you in on a secret? It really does show. Time to take your projects up another professional notch! Not to mention the trimmer makes scoring incredible easy, which is absolutely necessary for many projects. If I had to choose ONE tool (heaven forbid) I would choose this one. The SU one has more measurements and since they are not painted on like other companies' trimmers, they won't wear off over time.
3. Paper Snips--they're tiny, but they're awesome! These are the sharpest scissors you will ever own. Be super careful with them, but enjoy the tiny, precise cuts they make, as well as how cleanly they cut ribbon and how accurately you can trim out images.
4. Stampin' Scrub and Mist--our super cleaning system is the best on the market and very compact, too. The Mist has a mild detergent and glycerin in it to condition the rubber, and the Scrub has a wet AND dry side, unlike others out there, and has a nice deep pile to get in all the nooks and crannies of the fine details of our stamps.
5. Adhesive Remover--for those little adhesive blunders we all make. Yeah, me too. This cheap item (two bucks) will even remove sticky strip!
6. Mono Adhesive and refills--this is by far my favorite adhesive.I love that I never get a sticky fingerprint on my project. My hands stay completely clean. And it works out to be only a penny an inch, making it one of the most affordable adhesives on the market. It's lightweight and works great!
7. Dimensionals--honestly, it's a toss-up between these and the paper trimmer, getting back to that horrifying "lost-on-a-deserted-island-what-would-you-take" scenario. Flatter and softer than ANY other pop-dot on the market, these won't catch in the postal machines, cost only a penny apiece if you use the whole sheet, and add that awesome dimension to your projects.
8. Sticky Strip--it's a must-have. There's so many things you can do WITH it, and so many things you can't do WITHOUT it. Your projects will last until the year 2089 if they're made with this. Trust me.
9. Sponges--anyone who stamps with me knows this is my best "fix-it" tip for smudges, partial stamps, mis-stamps, and ghosting. It also adds instant panache to any project and helps draw the whole thing into a cohesive whole. In a pinch you can make a whole background just by sponging. But don't just run out and buy any old sponge. You need the rounded ones (which, coincidentally, SU sells) or you will get those blechy straight lines instead of a nice overall blur.
10. Craft and Paper Scissors--you could never have told me that a pair of scissors could make such a difference, but these babies really do. I was lucky enough to win a pair in a contest, or I might never have tried them because they're a little pricey. But I'm completely in love with them now and I get quit put out when I can't lay my hands on them. They cut ribbon without any tension--you can literally cut the ribbon without holding it. The longer blade length is great for cutting paper in a straight line, too. Yes, a straight line! That's worth it right there.
So there you go. I would encourage you to put together your own Tool Kit of "must haves" and put it in your personal zone. Even if you don't own a stamping space per se, you can create a tool kit to put in your rolling tote that you can lift out and place in your zone when you are at a crop or event. Save yourself time and frustration--and as Martha would say, "That's a good thing."