Monday, 9 February 2015

Purging and Organizing Your Paper

With the start of a new year, I like to sort through and reorganize my art supplies.  It gives me a fresh start and a fresh perspective.  Since I can’t accomplish all of this in one month, I continue my reorganizing up until February or March. 

Because paper is by far my “largest” supply, I try to sort through it at least every 6 months.  This is a time-consuming project, so it usually takes me a few days to complete.  It is worth it, though, because I often discover gorgeous papers that I had completely forgotten about.  It’s like celebrating Christmas all over again!

If you’d like to tackle a project like this, I have some tips and advice that I’d like to share with you.  Please keep in mind that these tips and methods might not work for everyone, so you might have to adapt them to suit your own personal needs.

·         Decide on the location for your paper, and determine how much room you have for it.
·         Try to use what you already have for storage.
·         If something is already working, don’t change it.
·         Try to keep all of your paper in one location, where it is easy to reach.
·         Have a “helper” to encourage you and keep you from backsliding.
·         Make 4 piles:  Keep, Give Away, Re-purpose, Recycle.  
·         Remember that “Recycle” doesn’t mean “waste.”  Those papers will eventually be re-purposed and re-used somehow.
·         Keep only papers that you absolutely love, or that you will use for envelopes, bags, or boxes.
·         Separate envelope/bag/box papers into a separate holder, and keep them near the tools you use to create these items.
·         Don’t second-guess yourself.  Once you make a decision to purge something, stick with it.
·         Whatever you do, do NOT rescue anything from your Give Away or Recycle piles.  (No backsliding.)
·         It is definitely OK to keep old paper that you really love, but promise yourself that you will use it this year.  Put it in the front of your holder so you don’t forget.
·         It is definitely OK to part with new paper.  If you don’t think you will actually use it, give it to someone who will.  We all make mistakes in judgment when we’re buying things.  Forgive yourself and move on.  Don’t agonize over it.
·         It’s OK to give away half-sheets of paper.  I wouldn’t go any smaller, but half-sheets can still be useful to someone else.
·         Don’t keep scraps that you haven’t used in the last 6 months.  You need to purge those too!
·         It’s OK to purge paper that others have given to you.  Just don’t give it back to them by mistake!  They meant well, but others don’t always know our taste and style.
·         Sort your paper in a way that makes sense to you.  Ask yourself how you look for paper to complete your projects.  This is probably one of the hardest parts of this process, but it is key to staying organized and productive.  
·         Repeat in 6 months.

Now, this might sound like a painful and time-consuming project; but after the first time, it gets easier.  You’ll notice that it only hurts for a little while, and the feeling of accomplishment and making a fresh start will far outweigh the sadness of saying goodbye to all those papers that have been holding back your creativity and productivity.   I purged about 12 inches of paper last month, and it felt like I had lost 10 pounds of weight that I had been carrying around for a long time.  Yes, it had been much longer than 6 months since the last time I had done this, and I was sorry I had waited so long.  

Now, I’m sure you can guess what the big reward is for doing all of this purging and reorganizing, right?  Yes, you guessed it!  Now I have room for MORE PAPER!!  Oh, well, July will be here soon enough....

Scrap Your Scraps Design Team Member


  1. Oh, the pain!!!! The pain!!!!!!!! . . . okay, you're right, my paper could use a purge. A BIG one. Want to come to TX and help? I'm pretty sure you said I needed a helper! (;

  2. It's a deal! Texas will be my next vacation spot, Tink!

  3. This is a great idea… but… but… but… I can't. I can't decide myself to give away some paper, I always want to keep everything…


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