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Welcome back to my scrapbook studio - my 12’ x 13’ space (cabinets included) above the garage – my creative haven.

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The studio is set up almost symmetrically in a horseshoe shape centered around a window on the outside world.   I am blessed with pretty maple cabinets that coordinate nicely with maple Longaberger baskets amassed during my 10 years as a Longaberger consultant. (I gave up that addiction in favor of hoarding scrap supplies).

A single row of baskets and other containers around the cabinet tops are filled with supplies.  It is convenient to pull a basket down to the work island and then put it back.

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Some baskets contain generic groupings - like scraps or chipboard, while others have become very specific based on current product trends - like butterflies, wood pieces and mini-tags.   There are a couple instances where baskets hold more than one type of item at a time – a new arrivals basket and a return/refile to stash basket.


I have made good use of  wrought iron pieces so that I could “stack” the baskets and make good use of counter workspace.


It is less distracting for me if my space looks clean and neat, so much of my storage is hidden.  Yet baskets and bins make it easy to pull items out when they are being used and then put back when no longer needed.  If the cabinet doors were attached differently, I might remove a couple to have more open storage, but I don’t think it would look attractive due to the type of hinge used.  Oh well – I will still give you a peek inside!

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On the raised countertops I created an embellishment center on the left side and a die-cutting station on the right. Other embellishments spill up onto the cabinet top where you will find my mini Clip-it-up and my Stampin Up carousel. These two systems had significant impact on my productivity. I can “shop” all my embellishments so much quicker now that they are out in the open but still contained.

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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 right behind me additional stamping tools and finished card storage baskets are tucked in the end of the island.

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Large machines like my Cricut, Sizzix and Xyron are placed on the lower desktop.  In shallow drawers to the left are hand-sewing supplies and to the right office supplies.  Extra stock of expendables like adhesives and page protectors, bins of unfinished projects, my handywoman tool bag and some reference materials are stored underneath.

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I scrap mostly at the island, standing on the left side, with natural light streaming over my shoulder from the skylight. I have a not-so-lazy “Susanne”, a rotating tool caddy, a small basket of adhesives, that trusty paper trimmer and markers all close at hand.

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Behind me, bins are holding scraps sorted by color, pads and notebooks, flowers and other embellishments.  I grouped like items together in the same vicinity.  If I look up, the tops of the facing cabinets hold baskets of coloring mediums – chalks, pens, markers, pencils, inks, mists and paints.

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I had underutilized my Sizzix Vagabond machine because the dies and other supplies were not handy.  Now they are found either on that side countertop or in cabinet closest to the machine.  Underneath there, you will find 3 drawers of punches and other tools.

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On the opposite side  there are two bins of chipboard alphabets in the top, with other chipboard elements in a drawer underneath.  The other two drawers contain “stock” embellishments of buttons, brads and ribbons.

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Behind the widest sets of cabinet doors you will find my journaling basket, a shelf devoted to my Project Life supplies,  Stampin Up ink carousels, and some assorted paper packs.  Supplies gathered for specific projects are contained in 12 x 12 Iris flip top boxes and stored on inside shelves behind the single doors at the corners along with my distress ink pads, extra albums and a three drawer unit of naked chipboard.

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Across the room behind the other double-wide doors are small bins of clear stamps, baskets of envelopes in various sizes, plus odds and ends.  In the corner cabinet next to it, my embossing tray, cling mount rubber stamp sets, and painting/stamping supplies.

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My wood mounted stamps are located within the two end cabinets.  I have created a photographic file of all the sets for handy reference.  Tucked into the recesses of all four corners are boxes of memorabilia.

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My cardstock is kept in hanging file folders - 8.5 x 11 in the desk drawers and 12 x 12 in rolling Cropper Hopper carts that roll under the desktop, where they are safe from the damaging effects of sunlight. A few scrapbook kits are kept in plastic storage bags in a large basket under the island along with a file of large masks and transparencies.

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My studio only occupies part of the space over the garage; the other larger section is a small library with an entertainment center and wings chairs. I have moved a large space hog, my patterned papers, to vertical file holders which sit atop a glass-front bookcase.  Sorted by manufacturer, you will also find a page protector of large sticker sheets and/or die-cuts tucked in the front of each company’s section.  A nearby corkboard stand ready to display finished layouts.

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Also in the library I have ample bookshelf space for reference materials and scrapbooks.  It also has a small kitchenette with a sink and accommodations for snacks and music too.  Tucked in between bookcases is my mother-in-law’s sewing machine – on loan to me in the hope I can learn to sew (on paper).

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As for decorative elements – the end wall in studio and the “bistro bar” is painted in “Antique” by Eddie Bauer Home, the first color swatch I chose at Lowes’s; it matches the “Linen” countertop perfectly.  The window treatment by Waverly is also from Lowes, the calendar is from Lang, the plates and the tole tray were flea market finds.  The various crocks are, not surprisingly, Longaberger and other dishes and bowls from my kitchen are mostly Pfaltzgraff centered around nature’s motifs.

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The rub-on wall saying and the flowers were unearthed from my supplies.  I like the touches of black here against the Benjamin Moore China White wall/ceiling color.  The end of the island visible to those sitting in the library is filled with mainly decorative items.  Touches of whimsy can be found here and there.

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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:

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.  For me files work better than stacked containers. This works for patterned paper and scraps, journaling cards, sheets of stickers and diecuts, Thickers, cards of buttons, sheets of little labels, packages of flowers, chipboard and lots of other things.

I sort cardstock in rainbow color order, but pattern papers by manufacturer and then line.  When I have just a few sheets by a particular company, I consolidate it under "various".  I use vertical storage for paper, either hanging files or upright plastic files.

Embellishments are sorted in one of two ways - first by type and then by manufacturer.  Generic items like miscellaneous buttons and ribbons are sorted by color.  It is okay to have a few "miscellaneous" containers in your system - just keep them to a minimum.  My small Clip-It-Up is where a lot of odd items end up, but even that is subdivided with categories like metal, epoxy, etc.

Leave the pretty stuff out and hide the staples.  I set up an embellishment center out on the counter top so I could cruise by and shop for pretty pieces to add to my pages.  I don't need to waste valuable real estate on items like adhesive, plain chipboard, and punches.  I know where to get those when I need them.

Place accessories next to the tools they will be used with.  For example, embossing folders should be near your die-cut machine.  Stencils near your mists and paints.  Sewing supplies near your buttons and floss.

It might be wise to set up an index system for some items that are out of sight.  For example, I took photos of all my stamp sets, sorted by type of stamp, and sit them in a little 7 Gypsies library drawer so that I can flip through them. It is easy for me to see what kinds of birthday stamps I have at a glance.  My sis-in-law has a ring of punch shape templates that work in the same way.

My Stampin Up ink pads and markers are sorted by color in roughly ROYGBIV order. My markers are on the work island, but the matching stamp pads can be stored out of sight because I will know what colors I have. The markers serve as an index.  I also have some Tim Holtz Distress Inks that are sitting out because I am not as familar with them.  At some point I may make a card index of those inks.

Corral and compartmentalize - using small containers inside of drawers and on shelves will keep things tidier.  Raid your kitchen for miscellaneous storage containers - I use lots of little bowls, Tupperware, even muffin tins!  Trays make great project stations - for example, I have all my embossing powders and tools stored on a tray that slides into my cabinet.

Spinning storage is very helpful too.  I have a tool basket that spins and 2 lazy "Susannes" that hold mugs, cups and crocks of items.  I can easily spin them to see all the containers.

It is okay to have a small amount of adorable miscellaneous – just keep it manageable by purging or reincorporating it back in your stash every so often.  This past year little bits and bobs ended up in my Project Life tray and many have been used as a result.  I have a similar box of bits and bobs for taking to crops.

My final tip for good organization that leads to stash busting would be to switch out which embellishments are closest to your desk on occasion.  I don't have room to have everything out, so I rotate stuff into and out of cabinets.

These are just the highlights of  a whole series of blog posts from the last time I reorganized the studio.  Take a peek at those if you want more details on any aspect of the project.  Happy organized scrapping to you!