My journey to shoot for the moon.

Scrapbooking in a Small Space

We live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment of 1093 square feet.  We, would be David, Michael, Chris, our 2 dogs (Kirby and Sugar), our 2 hamsters and me.  It is not a lot of space for all of us.

Chris’ and my room has a king sized bed, 2 dressers and a TV.  We also have a walk-in closet (with a large dresser in it) and our shelves are piled to the ceiling.  In our bedroom, I have also created a “haven” of sorts for myself.

When we moved from Illinois to Colorado, I started scrapbooking.  In the last 4 years, I have managed to accumulate a large number of materials.  I am of the impression that, if I find something on-sale, or in the $1 and I like it, I should buy it.  Even if I don’ t know what I am going to use it for.  I rarely buy paper or embellishments knowing what I will use them for.  Stickers are a different matter and those I watch for sales to buy what will coordinate with events in our lives.  For example, David will be graduating from 8th grade this year and I bought graduation stickers when I found them on clearance this summer because I know that I will use them.

The summer of 2009 we went to Disney World with Chris’ parents.  I took a large number of pictures, saved keepsakes and jotted down notes all for the purpose of scrapbooking our vacation.  And boy did I.  I have almost a page per ride.  The pages fill 2 full books and I need to purchase a 3rd book for the remaining pages (that were carefully set in the back of the second book).  It may seem like overkill, but I really enjoyed doing it and I believe that we will be glad that we have it, as it was the last summer before Chris was diagnosed.

In addition to those books, I have a book for each boy plus a “scrapbook cookbook” for each of them.  I also have a family book.  I haven’t kept up with the cookbooks as well as I should have, but the other books are all overflowing and I need to purchase more albums so that I can start 2nd books for all of us.

The problem with scrapbooking in a small space is that I never seem to start and finish a project on the same day.  I used to work at the kitchen table.  But then, when the project would take more than a few days, I would either collect all the materials and stick them in a bin (rather than putting them where they belonged) and have a mess or we wouldn’t have the kitchen table to use.  Re-organizing all of my tools and putting things away became a dreaded chore and really took away my enjoyment of my hobby.

So, this summer I set out to really organize my scrapbooking stuff and to see if I could come up with a way to leave my materials accessable.  The ultimate goal was to create a space where I could leave a project that was not finished and to be able to work on it here and there when I had a little bit of time, rather than having to find large blocks of time.  I am still working on organizing some of my stuff, but I have created a scrapbooking corner for myself and have finished a couple of pages!

I am so excited!  I know that I have looked on the internet for ideas and was unable to find much that didn’t cost a fortune.  Most of the stuff I already had, having purchased it over the last 4 years to try to corral my supplies, so the outlay of money was minimal.  Here is what I came up with.

Scrapbook Storage

This is an area of storage for paper, stickers, tags, and other miscellaneous, unorganized materials

Sticker Storage

.  It is between the door to our bedroom and the bathroom.  On the right there are 2 sets of stacking draws and on the left,  there are 3 Itso cubes with various inserts.  I got the Itso cubes from Target and I have found that it is the perfect size for 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.  As you can see by the area on top of the Itso cubes, I still have some organizing to finish.  The coffee can on top of the drawers is filled with beads and the tall tube, is items that haven’t proven to store well (over sized pictures, posters, etc) that are loosely gathered around a paper towel holder (that I got from the Target $1 section).

After much deliberation, I decided to get binders and page protectors for my sticker storage.  I spent hours organizing and setting up the binders, but now when I need something, I can find it.  I got a few binders at Dollar Tree and hope to pick up a few more so that I can take the large blue binder apart and make it easier to find what I need, but this works for now.

More Storage

The other area I am using for storage is between the TV and the closet.  I had purchased a small rolling cart with a nice top (for about $20 at Wal-mart), thinking that I could use it to put everything on when I wasn’t actively working on a project.  It didn’t work.  So, I’ve used it as the bottom piece of storage for tools.  Next to the cart are photo boxes (and shoe boxes).  This is where I have photos organized (in the photo boxes) and unorganized (in the shoe boxes).  I am in the process of writing  what is in each box on note cards and taping it to the tops of the boxes.  The two boxes on the top (the striped and green print) have miscellaneous embellishments in them.

Ribbon Storage

The purple box is my ribbon storage.  I tried to make a ribbon box, but didn’t like the way it came out (using a box and grommets).  I also tried using a paper towel holder, but found that much of my ribbon didn’t fit on the tube.  So, I designed my own.  I found a berry box at the health food store and painted in purple.  Then I used dowel rods of different sizes with caps on the ends to hold the ribbon.  It isn’t perfect, larger spools of ribbon won’t turn on the rod, but beyond that, it works well and I can easily see what I have.  It is attached to the wall with 2 3M hooks.

More Ribbon Storage

The ribbon that was loose or on spools too small (or without holes) to fit on the dowel, got organized by color and put into clear storage containers.  These were leftover from when I reorganized the pantry.  I could use one more so that I can separate the red, pink and purple.   These containers are on “floating” shelves that I got at Target and paid $4 for.  The shelves sit above my worktable.


My worktable is the part that I am most excited by.  I got the table at Ikea (remember, I LOVE Ikea) for $20.  I had to rearrange the dresser and some of the scrapbook storage to make a place for the table, but it was well worth it.  The table is in the corner of my room, under the window and fit snugly between my night table and dresser.  When I pull my chair out, it hits the bed, so I don’t pull my chair all the way out.

Under the shelves

As you can see, the ribbon is on the shelves above the table.  I also placed 2 hooks under the shelves so that I could hang items.  The one hook is holding stencils/templates that I use frequently (the other templates I have are in the Itso storage cubes).  The other holds a second cutting mat (one that I have painted on).  The black area is a photo frame with cork board underneath that I got for $1.50 on clearance at Target that I thought would be a nice addition.  Right now there are some stickers hanging from the corkboard.  These are stickers I thought I might use for my scrapbook project for our living room wall.  But I’m still thinking about it.

WorktableThe white basket has a paper cutter and straight edge tools that I use frequently, and a glass vase filled with floss (it is too heavy for the shelves).  You can see the scissors in the purple bin, along with some other tools I use frequently.  The comics on the purple box are ones that I want to cut out to use on a page (at some point) but haven’t gotten around to it. The purple box holds the remaining paper at pictures that I plan to use on the living room project.

Book, Magazine and Scrapbook Paper storage

To the right of the worktable, is my dresser.  On my dresser, I have my scrapbooking books and magazines and some paper.  Along with a little white basket that I am using to hold my index cards and tape.  And I also have a purple bin with a blue sand bucket in front of the window.  Sounds like a strange combination, but I am working on figuring out what works best for me.  The blue bucket is for garbage.  The purple bin is for, well, I’m not quite sure yet.  I think that it will hold pieces that I am working on, scraps of paper, etc. while I am working on them.

And then there is my workspace.  It isn’t very big, but it is adequate.  I usually place the purple box on my bed while I’m working to give myself some more space.  There is a 12 x 12 cutting mat on the table and room around it, so I can spread out a little bit.

And the whole thing is amazing.  My little corner of space has made me quite happy and has eliminated my stress about my hobby.  If I spread my stuff out on the bed while I’m working, I can just place it on the worktable when I am done and leave it.

I get a nice breeze through the window (although it does blow the papers around at times) and lots of sun.  There is a pretty nice view of grass and a tree outside the window.  And, this weekend, in addition to working on getting everything organized, I managed to finish 3 pages.  Here are shots of 2 of them, from the AAUW Carnival in 2003.

I really love how my space has turned out.  Ideally, the scrapbook storage would be by the worktable, but when you are living in a small space, you can’t be too picky.  And the only things I didn’t show you were the embellishment storage containers and the memorabilia storage.  They are on top of the dresser in the closet until I figure out another place for them to go.

AAUW Carnival - Scrapbook Page

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