Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Stamp/Scrapbook Room Reorg, Part 1

Warning: Long post ahead - my longest so far... And, if you aren't a stamper, scrapbooker or organizational person, then you may think this is just crazy. The first time my Mom saw my room, she asked me if I had a store (love you, Mom!). But, I know you crafters can relate! Oh, and I say Part 1, not because I have a several part series planned, but I will add to this if/when I do reorg again!

Like many stampers and scrapbookers, I have constantly reorganized my creative space. In the end, you can try many ideas, but you have to find the best solution for you. I am fortunate enough to have my own room, and I started on a major reorg of it at the end of last year. I think my room will always be a work-in-progress, but I have come to a point where I am ready to show the progress that I have made (plus, I have several friends who keep asking to see photos now!). I often search online for ideas, so I hope this helps someone. It is often difficult to imagine the true layout of a room since the photos only show pieces here and there.

My room is a typical bedroom in a single family home (about 11' x 11') with a single door entry and one long closet (the door and closet are along the same wall. We had our house built just a few years ago and this is how my room looked when we first got our keys. View is from hallway, looking into room. Closet is directly to the left of door opening. One window on far wall -- other 2 walls are solid (referred to as L wall and R wall in future). This tour will be 360 degree, counter clockwise.

Before we moved in, I painted most of the house a neutral taupe color. For my stamp room, I wanted a different color, so I went with a lighter green (Ralph Lauren Polo - Sage Sweater). Then we added the natural maple shutters. This is my first photo of the room after we moved in (just the necessities -- i.e. my computer!).

Fast forward a couple of years (below is the first photo I took when I got serious about a reorg). My computer eventually moved along the L wall and my desk chair positioned under the window. I first started to tackle the R wall, which I had full of a hodge podge of furniture. Along that wall, I had a bookshelf, then a large oak entertainment center. Since we have 10' ceilings and the entertainment center was only about 6' tall, so I felt that there was a lot of space up there that I could be using! So, Dan and I looked into the idea of building a wall of cubes to replace the bookcase and entertainment center. The trick was that the cubes had to fit my 12"x12" scrapbook paper storage and albums, so we knew that we couldn't go with the standard cubes you normally would find. We thought that building our own would be the best option, until we found these double cubes.

My disclaimer: Please note that this points you to the actual brand and cube that we bought, but we did not buy all of them from this source. Long story short, I've seen these cubes priced from $20-$40 each, some with free shipping and some with outrageous shipping (they are very heavy). I bought these in phases from various sites (but I never paid for shipping) -- first, to try them out to see if they worked, then in batches when pricing changed. It was very frustrating at times, but in the end, it worked out for me. I also read some reviews where people thought the quality wasn't the best, so please don't take this as an endorsement -- they work well for me and they do what I need them to do, so I am happy with them so far.

By the time I took the next photo, I had completely unloaded the fully packed bookshelf (in preparation for the first set of cubes that I ordered), and you only see part of the entertainment center! For this photo only, think clockwise instead of counter clockwise.

The entertainment center worked well at first since it had many different places for me to store my things (and I also had a 20" tv in the center). It became less effective since there were small areas (for VHS tapes) and enclosed spaces that didn't work for me. That's when I decided that even though I like things put away, I also like to be able to see some of the things. That's when I started to look into cubes.

And, while I was reorganizing, I moved everything to the floor of my stamp room AND the guest bedroom. Here is the floor of my stamp room:

The first order was for 6 double cubes (though we knew we could go 7 high), but one of the pieces was cracked (once contacted, the manufacturer replaced it with no problems), so the first trial only shows 5 double cubes in the corner to replace the bookcase. Even though I knew I would have to move everything out again (we wanted to attach each column to the other for stability), I loaded up the new cubes to see how they would work. They worked great, so I ordered more!

Several weeks later (after the new year actually), we received the last of our cubes (and the broken replacement). We ended up going with 6 double cubes high and 3 double cubes wide. I'll come back to this area later. {The cubes were my Christmas present from Dan!}

Over a month later, I have had many attempts at organizing items inside my cubes (I did give up my 20" TV and moved that into the guest room -- so far it hasn't been a big deal). It isn't perfect, but here is my space right now.

From the door: My desk, computer is still in the far L corner. My desk holds (from R to L): my big computer monitor, Wishblade die cutter, photo printer/scanner). My wish list for this area is 1) a flat screen monitor (possibly wall-mounted); 2) a flat counter top to replace desk (and extend left to the closet w/ storage underneath).

To the immediate left of my desk is a set of modular drawers/cabinets with an unfinished top (bought at Lowe's several years ago - I think it was meant to be garage storage). It works fine for me now, storing some misc office/stamping supplies and provides a workspace (when it is clear). Immediately to the left of my printer is my prized possession -- my Genesis Trimmer, which I finally got after a 3-year wait-list (and yes, I it was worth the wait!).

The next photo shows a straight view of the area shown by the above photo. The white cubes are a shoe storage module that I got at Target. It holds my main stamping tools -- ink pads, some reinkers, cleaners. Right now, on top (L to R) I have my label maker, Gold Canyon candle, the last card I made and my Copic markers. To the far left is my Cuttlebug. In the drawer directly below it, I store my Cuttlebug accessories (extra plates, embossing folders, cutting dies) and my beloved Spellbinders dies.

That covers the L wall. The next wall is the closet. Here is a view of my closet R to L. There is a top shelf across the entire closet that holds empty scrapbook albums, alterable items, etc.. Below, I removed all of the hardware to hang clothes and put a tall dresser inside. It holds more office/stamping supplies. On the top of it is an oak ribbon holder (that my BIL, Dave, made!) that holds bulk ribbons on spools as well as other organizational drawers.

The left side of the closet is split into 2 levels (intended to hang clothes on the top and bottom). Again, I removed the hanging hardware. On top I have more organizational storage drawers and below I have rolling carts with drawers and more storage drawers.

If you are still with me, you are a true crafter! Moving farther to the left will bring you back to the open door, so now we will continue along the R wall (aka the wall of cubes). The first set of cubes is something I just added recently - I bought a 2x4 set of smaller cubes at Target (Closet Maid Cubeicals), assembled it and added the 8 pink cubes. They are perfect is for Sabrina's things. She can put all of her things in these cubes (and stop using MY storage area!).

On top of it are my tilt bins which were previously across the room where I replaced it with the shoe storage module. I had planned on putting the shoe storage module here, but the white laminate above didn't match the white laminate below (argh!). But, I made it work. In the smaller tilt bins, I store A-Z chipboard, etc. (one bin for each letter) and in the larger tilt bins, I store necessities like glues dots, binder rings, sponge daubers, thread, waxy flax, hemp, etc. They are great since you can see what you are looking for.

Immediately to the left of Sabrina's cubes begins my wall of cubes (which you saw earlier, but just empty). This is where the oak entertainment center used to be. I kept heavier things to eye level and below (and all cubes are attached to each other). So, my paper, scrapbook albums, punches, etc. are lower and lighter things are above them. I use these great Sterilite shoe drawers on many shelves (the white ones that are 6 per shelf). They hold most of my stamps and punches that I use often.

Some of the plastic bins with blue lids (also bought at Target) are empty now (they will be filled and labeled soon) -- I love that they hold 12" supplies (great for scrapbook supplies) AND they are stackable. The blue woven bins are also from Target. On the far left (2nd from the top shelves) are my embellishments (flowers, buttons, etc.) sorted by color in jars and in the cube to the right of them are my ribbons (see this post for how I decided to store them). Sabrina was curious why I was taking photos of my room and not her, so there she is sitting at my "Kraft" table.

Turning the corner yet again brings us back to the "far wall", the one with the window, which you see as you enter the room. At this point, Sabrina moved yet again. The slim white bookcase holds my "go to" sketch and idea books and my on the go supplies on the bottom. On top is a basket which holds my latest card creations.

My final photo is of my current "Kraft" workspace. It is a sturdy square table which was given to me by my friends, Steve and Cara, several years ago. It was my first dining table in the first house that I bought in California. It has survived many moves and still looks great and is reliable. Against the wall, I have the items I use most (from R to L - sewing machine, tool caddy, acrylic blocks, portable paper trimmer). Where Sabrina is standing is where I typically where I sit on my chair (which swivels between my workspace and my computer). The wooden chair is where I sit when I sew (or in most cases, where Sabrina sits when she tries to take over my workspace and make it her own!).

As I said, this is a work-in-progress, but I'm very happy with it now and probably won't be doing any major reorganization for awhile. I have no decor on the walls yet since I was undecided if I wanted wall shelving/cabinets or what, but I do intend to one day as I continue the quest for my perfect space. I will post new photos as I do!

If you've made it through this entire post (and you are not completely bored or asleep), thank you! If you have any organizational tips of your own that you'd like to share, please let me know, too! I am always open to new suggestions.