Here is my little scrapbook studio - my 12’ x 13’ space (cabinets included) above the garage – my creative haven.  When I first started my blog in 2009, that was all the space I had, but it has gone through at least 2 substantial "spiffing ups".  And through the years, my scrappy supplies, tools and even full scrapbooks have encroached into the library space adjacent to it. Here are just a few shots to give you the feel of my space.


The studio is a horseshoe shape centered around an island, with a small window on the outside world and a skylight on 1 sloping side ceiling.   My maple cabinets coordinate with maple Longaberger baskets from my 10 years as a consultant. I have added more black storage units that I anticipate I will be able to take with me, when hubby and I eventually downsize. They go nicely with the Longaberger wrought iron, which is handy because it allows me to "stack” the baskets and make good use of counter workspace.

As you can see, I have a good amount of storage behind doors, the benefit of which is that I am not distracted by what I cannot see.  On the flip side, it poses the challenge of forgetting what I cannot see.

There are two working surfaces, the wide desktop at the end of the studio and the counter height task island in the center of the room. I stamp mostly at the lower desktop, and scrapbook at the island, standing on the left side, with natural light streaming over my shoulder from the skylight. I have 2 not-so-lazy “Susannes”, a basket of adhesives and reference materials, my paper trimmer and a crock of rulers, close at hand on the front of the island.

Now to the adjacent library with its entertainment center and wing chairs. My patterned papers are stored by manufacturer in vertical file holders which sit atop a glass-front bookcase.  A nearby whitewashed cork board stands ready to display finished layouts, and two Raskogs of supplies stand guard in front. To the left of that is a desk that I use for pocket page scrapbooking.

The library also has a small kitchenette with a sink and accommodations for snacks and music too. 

Well, that's my studio. Lucky, aren’t I?  I hope you enjoyed the tour and picked up an idea or two for your creative space.  Just below you'll find some of my favorite organization tips.  If you have questions or need suggestions on specific storage ideas, please feel free to email me. 

Spiffy Organization Tips: 

1)  My most often used concept in setting up my studio was to put things in open baskets and bins where I can see and flip through them.

I store patterned paper in vertical files on my bookcase, paper scraps in a bin with dividers by color, chipboard in a bin, and embellishment packs in open baskets.

2)  Leave the pretty stuff out and hide the staples. 

I sort cardstock in rainbow color order, but I don't need to see all the colors of cardstock to know that I have all the colors.  My cardstock is stored in vertical files on rolling carts underneath the desktop, where they are out of direct light. Thickers are stored sideways in a drawer with dividers by color. Buttons, ribbons, washi tape are other examples that are sorted by color.

3)  Have a plan for embellishments, especially those that come in mixed packages. 

I set up an embellishment center on the counter top so I could "shop" for pretty pieces to add to my pages.  My small Clip-It-Up is where a lot of unique items end up, but even that is subdivided with categories like metal, epoxy, etc.

I also have a plan for the leftover bits and bobs, once a package is half used or more.  I have color binders for my leftover stickers, and a bin of loose pages of leftover chipboard also sorted by color.  Two sets of small Iris photo cases hold buttons, brads, and other dimensional items in the first set, with flats like die-cuts, tags, etc. in the second set.

4)  Place accessories next to the tools they will be used with.  

For example, embossing folders should be near your die-cut machine; stencils rest near your mists and paints; and sewing supplies nestled in with your buttons and floss.

5)   Set up an index system for some items that are out of sight.

I have stamps that are stored in various places throughout the studio, with a master file of photos of all my stamp sets, sorted by theme, in a little library tray.  For example, I can flip through the photos to find birthday stamps and then locate them easily in whatever location they are stored. 

Die-cuts are another example, samples are included in several reference albums.

6)  Repeat organization systems.

Not everything in my studio is sorted by color, but those that are, can be found in my version of ROYGBIV order (red/pink, orange/yellow, green/gray, blue/purple, black, white, ivory/brown, metallics). This works for markers, stamp pads, Thickers, paper scraps, etc. I can expand or combine color combinations based on my personal preference.

7)  Corral and compartmentalize, use see through storage for closed containers.

I use small containers inside of drawers and on shelves will keep things tidier. I like divided baskets too.  Washi tape fits nicely in bamboo silverware trays.  For buttons, flair, and other items that I need to see, I prefer clear divided boxes or little jars. 

8)  Spinning storage is very efficient for both tools and embellishments.

I have 2 lazy "Susannes" that hold mugs, cups and crocks of tools.  I can easily spin them to see and access all the containers. In addition to two mini Clip-it-ups, I have 2 spinning organizers of Stampin Up embellishments (once upon a time I was an SU demo). I am big on symmetry, often using pairs in my studio.

9)  Consider which items you need to store in a way that makes them mobile.

I have a separate small tool bag that I use for crops.  It has duplicates of the most used items, along with a card that tells me which single items I need to take from my desk/stash.  Keeping a list insures that I don't forget something and also makes it easier to unpack after the crop.  The color boxes I mentioned above are perfect for taking to crops and still having lots of choices without having to regather items every time.

I set up a separate desk for working on pocket pages, moving some items to this location makes sense, without making them inaccessible for regular scrapbooking.

10)  On occasion switch around where you store your stash (its proximity to your desk).

I don't have room to have everything in the open, so I rotate stuff into and out of cabinets from time to time.  It is amazing how moving the position of something can help you see it in a new light.