Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tool Organization

Photo Collage by P.Lynne Designs
Hello, it has been a minute since I posted something on this blog.   I am slowly getting back into my routine.
Today, I want to talk about tool organization.  As crafters, we have many tools to deal with that are part of the trade.  This is a brief guide into how to organize them in one spot. I am actually going through an organization process myself.  First, a brief background on my personal organization:
About 10 years ago, my father bought a house and it was meant for me to live in.  When he and my mom asked me about the house (actually a 2-bedroom condo), I liked the condo, but I was not totally sold on the place.  Well, for him that was good enough and ended up moving in.  Well, it has been over 15 years later, and I am ready to move into a new place, but since moving in, I have accumulated some stuff and started a business.  I am bursting out at the seams, and I am tired of being the longest person to live in the 4-unit quadruplex.  (side note:  if you are not a smoker, smoke travels through walls, and it is not very pleasant smelling either)
So, this first process is to purge and put (as I call it) all my stuff so I will not have a ton of unwanted stuff moving into the new place when I buy it with me. 
Since this on my craft blog, and I am only going to cover what is needed to organize the crafting items, but this system (if you call it that) works for any area of the room, and if you are moving or not.
1.      Plan.  This is my first action of getting it done.  This includes the day, time, and month of the planned decluttering.  One warning:  do not plan this just before you are ready to close on your new house and the new buyers are ready to close on your current house.  You need time to process the task and deal with unexpected issues.  (good or bad). 
2.      Location.  If you are not moving, but moving the location of craft room, know where you are moving the stuff to, even if it is just across the room.  You need room to put the stuff, especially, if the room is doing double duty (i.e. Craft room/guest room).  In my current home, I have two rooms that are pulling double duty.  My second bedroom (which is upstairs) is a craft room and a guest room.  My dining room is actually pulling triple duty (Home office/craft room/eating space).  I am hoping that my next home will at least have 3 bedrooms.
3.      Am I going to use it?   Let’s get real for a moment.  How many of you watch the HSN’s (Home shopping Network’s) 24-hour craft day?  Now, how many of you when you watch this channel see an item, like how the demonstrator shows the product, falls in love with it, and next thing you know, it is on your doorstep days later?  Guilty as charged.  In fact, today is that special day, and I have 2 products coming as I write this. Almost 3, but I had to remind myself that I have a cruise that I am leaving for in September.  Anyway, next thing you know, it is collecting dust.  I have two We R Memory Keepers products that I must use or get rid of.  If you use your stuff, congratulations, now skip this step.
4.      Finally, get rid of it for good.  Do not hesitate on this step.  Do not say, “I will use it next week.”  That was step 3, and it is finished.  If it a fairly new item that is still on the market, do not buy it back when you see it in the store.  In fact, have a “no buy” month for crafts, unless you run out of something WHILE you are working on a project.  I have seen women have a no buy month and talk about it on Facebook.
5.      Place in its permanent home.  Or in my case, carry with you.   Use it when you are finished purging, and give yourself a 2-month rule (or if you follow Peter Walsh, his rule is 6-months).  If you are not at least thinking about using that tool in a project, toss it out, or donate it a school or Senior center.
So, that is the basis for this project.  It can be a big project or small, your choice.  I am going to use steps 3 and 4 on the tools, using my stuff:
Step 3 and 4: Am I going to use it?  Gather all your tools and look at them. Pick up each tool, and try to remember why you bought it in the first place.  Ask yourself these questions:
·         Was it a good deal?
·         Do I even know how to do the craft that it was meant for?
·         Have I made anything with it since I bought it?
·         Do I have any planned projects that uses it?
·         Finally, Can I do without it?
An example of this question and answer had to do with today.  On one of the segments of this 24-hour craft day on HSN, I ran upon a Cinch.  In case you do not know what, a cinch is, it is a book binding tool.  You can punch holes with it, and using wire binding or spiral binding to build a book, you can “cinch” it closed.  I already have one, but I have had trouble with it since day 1.  I bought it when I was working at Archiver’s, but I did not have the heart to bring it back with me to work the next day to get a new one, because the binding machine was heavy.   Anyway, there was a special today for the newest one, and I have been going back and forth to buy that one to replace the one I have.  “Sold”, said the online ordering area, as I looked up from my Ipad. So now when it arrives, I need to get rid of the cute pink one I currently have.  It is still good except I was having problems with two of the pegs.  I could donate it to a school, rec center, or senior center, warning them of that default, but it must leave my house.  I did have planned projects with it, but I could not bear using it one more time, without crying in frustration.  I make books and it is time for me to start back.  I have a cruise to go on and bills to pay. So, to answer the last question, no, I cannot do without it.  I also have an extra Cricut Electronic Die Cutting Machine I am no longer using.  It is an Expressions 2 5th Anniversary edition, and I am happily using an original Cricut Explore (with a Bluetooth adaptor).  I need a Cricut Explore Air 2 to help with the current one.   These are real examples of the decisions you have to make when decluttering your tools.
Step 5:  Placement.  Before you start step 5, you should have a place to put the tool.  If not, repeat step 4.    Assuming that you know where your tool is going, you simply find a table, if it is big enough or a container to put it in.  nothing should be stacking up in a mess. It should be neat and tidy, like you do not have it.  My craft room space 1 can be seen by all when I open the front door, Upstairs, not so much, but the same rule applies.  For my Cricut and Cinch, I need a table to use them on, and for other tools, I need plugs, tables, and just a space to store them in.  Your space may be different from mine, but it is supposed to serve the same purpose.
No matter what tools you use for your craft, it is important to find the room to use them in, as well as the space.  Declutter well, and declutter often.  This goes for your other stuff as well, such as paper, fabric, adhesives (glues), the tiny objects of the trade (embellishments).  Soon you will have a space that you will be proud to work in.