I know I'm not the only one with the organizing bug right now! Here's to a New Year and a fresh start, to plans to cease destructive behaviors and begin positive ones; to cleaning out clutter and filling our lives with only what's important and most meaningful. Enjoy this article, expanded from a clumn in my snail mail newsletter.
1. Start the new year off right by putting away all of the Christmas stuff strewn about in the haste to get your cards, gifts and last minute tags done. Make a goal to put away the previous project before you start in on the next one. If the first project isn't fully completed, put it and everything you need for it in a basket or large ziploc bag, and it will all be together when you do go to complete it.
2. Sort your scraps for maximum efficiency. I have all my scraps sorted by general color in extra plastic stamp cases (SU sells these). I check there before I cut into a new sheet of cardstock. Store your main stash out of direct sunlight--preferably in a cupboard with a door that can be closed.
3. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and good lighting in your stamp room. Paint it a warm, inviting color. If area room is cold, drafty, or dark, you will naturally find reasons not to stamp in there. Get some music or a little TV in there. Add a motivational saying or some pretty Decor Elements. This is the room where you create beautiful things--you should be surrounded by inspiration.
4. If your table’s surface is not perfectly flat, get a piece of custom-cut glass or a 12x12 stone tile. You will be amazed at the difference a truly flat surface will make in your stamping.
5. Store your products correctly. Pads should be stored label-side up. Markers should be stored on their side. Stamp sets should not be stacked more than eight high due to pressure—store them on their sides if you can. The new punch style can be stored on end or stacked flat. Check to make sure the locking mechanism is all the way over to lessen strain on the parts.
6. Vow not to purchase stuff just because it is on sale. Make wise decisions according to the colors and embellishments you already own before you buy new papers that won’t match. if you purchase things on clearance after a holiday and won't be using them until the next holiday, put them away, labelled, instead of tripping on them multiple times during the year.
7. Purchase quality products from reputable sources. Look at product reviews and ask the opinion of crafting friends before you buy a big-ticket item. What is the guarantee? Who is going to train you to use it? What if there’s a problem? Often the lowest price also comes with the most hassle and the least customer service.
8. Make sure you are stocked up on adhesive and have the correct adhesives on hand for different projects. Nothing’s more frustrating than running out in the middle of a project! There is an excellent adhesive chart on page 206 of the current Idea Book & Catalog that will help you figure out the proper adhesive for your needs.
9. Stop working inefficiently. De-gunk your sticky scissors, rinse out the pads on your Stampin’ Scrub, sharpen your watercolor pencils, and pitch any crumpled or ripped papers. Throw away dry markers, faulty gel pens, dull or chipped scissors. sharpen old punches with aluminum foil and lubricate sticky ones with wax paper.
10. Finally, mail what you make! Don’t just be a collector. Take a photo to preserve the idea, and send the card on the way to brighten someone’s mailbox. It will bless both of you!