Friday, May 12, 2017

5 Steps to Speedy Scrapping!

The one thing I have heard over and over again since I started scrapbooking is:

"How do you find the time?" 

As a full-time working mother I won't say that I have all the time in the world. But the reality is that it has never been hard for me to find enough time to complete my projects.

Part of my personality is to do things really fast. I talk fast, I type fast, I think fast and I scrap fast. It's just who I am.

But I do believe there are other factors that play a role, especially as I have worked to juggle motherhood and full time work in the last two and a half years. I really believe that anyone who makes these adjustments will see a huge difference in productivity.

So, here are my 5 tip for scrapbooking with speed and efficiency to maximize your craft time.

1. Have an organized and dedicated space. 

It's best to organize according to how you work. For example, if you sit down while you scrapbook and don't like to get up a lot, then make sure that all of your products are within arms reach. (I call this the lazy scrapper method and it's certainly the way I do it. No shame, people.) If you like to move around more then make your space more mobile, perhaps with a higher desk and rolling furniture.

When considering how to organize your products, think about the way you add elements. Do you like to search for embellishments by shape, color or theme? Do you only use your die cutting machine once every decade but have it prominently on your desk?

You won't use it if you can't see it, so the more accessible your products are the more likely you are to use them. My favorite organization piece of furniture is this set of drawers from Ikea. I also love this one and use their white table tops as well.

I am lucky enough to have an entire room devoted to scrapbooking right now but this wasn't always the case. For the majority of the last 17 years I was confined to a single desk with some drawers underneath. If I ever lose my room, I am 100% sure I would invest in the Scrapbox. It holds SO much but doesn't take up much space at all. Plus, it comes in different colors and finishes so it's pretty versatile design-wise.

Another option is this portable workstation from American Crafts and We R Memory Keepers. You can keep your supplies organized and work straight from it so that no cleanup is necessary. That combined with a fold down wall desk would work great if you don't have a lot of room.

The reason that having a dedicated space is so important is that you don't have to start from scratch each time you work. Digging out boxes and setting up a workstation isn't the creative expression you're probably looking for so don't make yourself do it each time. There are lots of other scrapbook organization products that allow you to work directly out of them, without having to rifle through boxes or bins.

2. Have dedicated time. 

When our daughter was about 6 months old, my husband and I found evenings became draining time instead relaxing. It's hard to come home from work and go right back to work caring for a child. So, we started "splitting time" and it has made a world of difference. Every night, even on weekends unless we have plans, we each take 60-90 minutes to do something of our own choosing while the other one watches our daughter.  We have really clear boundaries during this time, there is no spillover where we get roped into watching her because she's banging on the door or crying for one of us. She's used to this routine and it's actually helped a lot in terms of delineating tasks. I always do dishes and start her bath and he always picks up at tooth brushing and puts her to bed. It works out perfectly for us.

I am aware that I have the luxury of a helpful partner who will do this and that some might find it hard to get that support. It might not be every single night but having a structured and routine time that you set aside for yourself is very healthy. Taking care of yourself is important and ultimately important for the people that you care about. I often use the analogy of a flight attendant on a plane when talking to my clients about self-care. Flight attendants explain that if you are traveling with a small child and the oxygen masks are deployed, that you must put yours on before your child's. Why? Because if you aren't OK, then they aren't going to be OK. Same applies here. Modeling good self-care and carving out time for yourself is a perfectly healthy and appropriate boundary to set. Here's more info on boundaries in case you are interested. (I'm a therapist, I couldn't help myself)

3. Maximize the time you have at your craft desk.

When it comes to scrapbooking, there is a lot of "prep work." This can include choosing photos, editing them, printing them, organizing them and writing journaling. Thanks to technology (it's a great time to be alive!) you can do these things during "downtime" and make sure that time are your craft table is reserved for fun.

4. Use technology! 

I highly recommend using your phone, tablet or laptop to edit photos and write journaling when you're out and about. You can use time in the car (not when you're driving- I don't need a lawsuit on my hands!), in line at the store or bored at work. I use two photo editing apps, Afterlight and PicTapGo. Both are great for editing and cropping. I import them into my laptop to arrange them on an either 8.5x11 or 13x19 page to prepare for printing at home using the Epson R2000. This means that when I sit down to scrapbook the only "prep work" I have to do is the actual printing and that takes less than 5 minutes.

5. Keep Perspective and Just Say NO to Perfectionism!

I miss the days of the scrapbook "crop." It was such a blast to sit around with other scrapbookers and work on projects late into the night, fueled by candy, adorable chipboard embellishments and adhesive fumes. I've attended crops with all types of scrapbookers, beginners and experts, kitschy and modern, old and young- we are a diverse bunch.

One thing that always made me sad is when someone would get stuck on a detail about a page for hours, slowly losing excitement and steam. I remember one specific time when I was at the late Archiver's (I miss brick and mortar stores) and there was a woman frantically running around looking for a "Belle" sticker. She explained that her daughter recently went to Disney World and met Belle and that she needed this sticker to complete her page. She was imploring employees to look in the back, having friends scrounge the sticker bins all the while having no fun at all.

Now, I'm not one to judge someone's embellishment choices. That's not the point. The point is that she was losing perspective. Did she get into scrapbooking because of her interest in matching stickers to events? Was the Belle sticker worth the frustration and would it add to the page in such a critical way that it needed to be found? It's important, especially in frustrated moments, to return to your "why." Why are you scrapbooking? Why does this matter? What's the most important part?

This is one of the many reasons why I love Ali Edwards so much. She instills a focus on intentional embellishments and storytelling. In the end, the stories are what will matter. I may love the new Pinkfresh stickers but I can promise you that in 100 years when my grandchildren are looking at these albums, they will care the most about two things- the photos and the journaling. The embellishments are fun but they aren't the point.

When it comes to productivity, you get to define what productive means. You get to define your own "enough." You might make a goal of completing one scrapbook per year or one scrapbook per month. You might put one embellishment on a page or a hundred. You are the queen of your scrapbook universe! My current "enough" is to do Project Life and other scrapbook pages as I feel inspired, usually about 1-2 a week. To read more about Ali Edwards' thoughts on how to define your own "enough," head over to this link.

Lastly, don't compare yourself to others or try to be someone you aren't. Be who you are - it takes less time!

What are your biggest obstacles to maximizing your productivity and your craft time? Do you have any other ideas? Please share in the comments below or on my Instagram.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Thanks for this post! I'm going to bookmark it so I can reread it in a time of need. :) (Except that's when I should probably be scrapbooking instead of reading stuff online, hmm.)

    1. That's awesome!! And I say whatever you need is the right thing in the right moment!!

  2. I love this!!! I always get hung up on the details. My perfectionism rears it's ugly head all the time. Wish I could eliminate it. Recently I keep telling myself progress over perfect and it's helping. Loved this and so needed it! Thanks!