Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Clean House!

OK. I know including the word "clean" in my post title will scare a good number of readers away, but let's face it - sooner or later, "clean" is a necessary evil in creativity.  We creative types are natural born hoarders who see the creative possibilities in nearly every item we look at, and more often than not, we welcome and embrace the item into our home to give it new life.  I don't know about you, but I have a terrible time getting rid of these treasures.  


Let's begin with those avalanching piles of crap, er, precious papers, postcards, and ephemera right next to your my work space.  Make sure to weed out everything that doesn't belong (oh - that's where the water bill went!)

Now, let's go through all those folders, bags, and other places you have your  I have my stash.  When's the last time you looked through all those magazine images, quotes, phrases and other items that you've torn from books and magazines?  If you're like me, you've had some of these images for a couple years or more.  Do they still speak to your creative muse?  Did you come across a page, flip it back and forth and wonder, "why did I save this?"  You've outgrown it.  Get rid of it and make room for new images that appeal to you!

OK.  On to the paint.  (Am I the only one that has little piles of art supplies everywhere?)  I have paints located in several different areas.  I have my "stock supply" (which is fairly neat and organized), and I have a bag of assorted paints in a tote bag.   When I run out of a color in my bag, I go to my stock supply to replenish.  

Now is a good time to assess your paint.  What colors are you running low on?  What colors might you add to your collection?  Do you have tubes with just a smidgen of paint left?  Put those aside and use those up first when you begin prepping more background pages.

It's also a good time to remove those items that don't belong to the paint family!  (Anyone know of a Stevia technique?) You may also want to look through your mediums, pens, brushes, etc.  Make a list of the things that need to be replenished.  It's not too late to ask Santa for some help!


If you haven't guessed by now, this post is selfishly more for me than you today.  Cleaning is a breeze, but when it comes to my 100 list of strong points, organization comes in at around 637.  Seriously - when it comes to organizing my materials the word that comes to mind is "overwhelming".

I'm determined to start my 2012 year of journaling in an organized fashion.  My main dilemma is categorizing paper.  Do I group by color or subject?  Do I group by genre, ie., Asian, texture, primary, seasons?  It makes my head spin!

I'm working on this today and it occurs to me that I'm over-thinking the entire process.  So here's what I'm going to do until I hear from you.  I'm going to sort all of my paper by color.  Then I will sort each color into 4 categories: 1.People (faces/body parts)  2. Nature (plant life, animals)  3. Things (inanimate objects)  4. Textures.  

That will at least put some organization into the paper for now.  I'm already thinking that I will make "Asian" a category as I already have plans for an Asian inspired journal in the new year.  

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!  Please let me know what has worked for you when organizing your materials.  I'm especially interested in organizing the paper, but please do feel free to leave a comment on any helpful solutions you've found!


Do you still have a couple projects that need some finishing touches?  Now is the time to complete those journals so that you can begin fresh in the new year.

Think of how wonderful it will feel to have your 2011 projects completed and tucked away for safe keeping as you move forward into new adventures in 2012.  When January arrives, all you'll have left to do is "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


  1. You have asked a good question! I too have to face this problem too as a new artist in this area. So I too would love the know the answers to this.

  2. Ahhh...the paper. Before I discovered mixed media, I was BIG into scrapbooking, so I have faced the paper question many times. I have had my paper organized in many different ways over the years and I keep coming back to separating them by color. It just works the best for me. I have a large canvas bin from Walmart that I store my scraps in. I used a blank sheet of white 12x12 cardstock and glued a little tab to the top of each for dividers. Then I just file away my larger scraps behind the right color divider. I have a couple of other dividers for book pages, magazine pages, and specific projects (like your Asia items). I am also in the process of putting my smaller scraps in a gallon size zipper bag for each color and filing them with the larger scraps. I'm kinda excited about the bag thing. I'm hoping it will make my little scraps easier to keep track of, but I'll have to let you know on that. I'm also thinking it will be nice to be able to just grab a bag for journaling on the go. We'll see. Good luck to you.

  3. I was actually organizing the other day and once I got all the yarn set aside, it opened a half a drawer for product! Frankly, my papers are a nightmare, but your system of 'I'm going to sort all of my paper by color. Then I will sort each color into 4 categories: 1.People (faces/body parts) 2. Nature (plant life, animals) 3. Things (inanimate objects) 4. Textures' actually makes so much sense!

  4. I sort my paper by color and find that usually when I am looking for something, I am looking for a specific color. I have 8.5x11 paper in one area sorted by color, 12x12 paper in another drawer sorted by color and scraps are sorted into a stacking container that has several drawers. I used to hold on to every little scrap. Now, I trow them into the trash easily because I have loads of big sheets to play with and unfortunately have collected so many papers that I will never use them up in this lifetime. So, I have allowed myself the luxury of tossing little scraps and only saving pieces that are a 1/4 sheet or larger.

    Best wishes to you on this project. I think the stevia packet was probably going into a project of yours once upon a time. I really like the color and writing on it. Maybe you did too at some point. LOL.

  5. I found this post very amusing. I have a stack of clippings and magazines that have begun to yellow. I recently looked at it and thought "what was I thinking?" at that point I should have tossed them. Instead they still sit. I will toss them next trash day.

    My husband bought me one of those tool storage carts that you find in many garages. You know the one that has drawers and is on wheels. This was his solution to my ever growing collection of supplies that was encroaching the kitchen counter more and more each day.

    While it's not pretty, it's very functional. I have the drawers organized for my storage needs. However, my worktable is a whole other issue!

  6. Thanks so much for all your comments, suggestions and experiences! If nothing else, I feel much better knowing I'm not alone - as they say, "misery loves company". Stephanie, your story had me ROFL! A tool storage cart is INGENIOUS!(But don't tell your hubby - it will be our little secret :o) Sandy, the Stevia packet was in with the paint because I had it in my bag for class. I'm so disorganized that I switch bags and materials every week. I love your idea of not saving any scraps smaller than 1/4 sheet. I shall adopt that! Luna, I hope my suggestion helps you - let me know how it turns out! Jolene - I'm anxious to hear how the bag thing goes, so please let me know. I may have to adopt that for toting things to and fro from my journaling classes. I think that's part of my nightmare as each class does something different. I'm constantly adding to my bags without cleaning/reorganizing. Missham, I hope you've gotten some great ideas, too. Thanks again, everyone!

  7. Oh Angelia, you have been in my head again haven't you. And yes you did strike fear in this girl's heart when you said cleaning up your art space.This could have been me writing a description of her workspace and the angst that goes with the cleaning up and organisation of it. I have stashes of paper all around because I think I will forget about the idea if I file it away, then I have little sets of paints all around for the same reason. Trouble is that by the time I find these little piles of ideas again I forget what I was going to do with them. I tell you what, a dictaphone would be good for me so that I can just say my ideas out loud and then I wouldn't have to stop what i am doing to write it down. Oh and a person to scribe and file the ideas would be perfect. Now is that too much to ask ?????
    As for my scrapbook papers, I do file the plain colours by colour but the patterned paper is all in one box at the moment but my collection is growing so I need to categorise these too. Where is that little helper when you need them?
    Oh dear my heart is still fluttering in anxiety thinking about the job I need to do in my studio too. Better just get stuck into it I suppose. I know I will feel so much better afterwards.
    have a great day


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! It's a pleasure sharing the creative world of art journaling with you. I love hearing from you, so comments and questions are always welcome.

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