Organizing is a journey, not a destination

Nikki Kann
Nikki Kann

I am certainly no organizational expert, but you could say I am an avid student of organization. Discovering new hacks, resources, or techniques to improve in this area is exciting. But honestly, often these ideas remain theory as opposed to practice. My creative space (which serves multiple purposes as my crop room, art studio, craft room, sewing room, and also as a guest bedroom with a pull-out sofa bed) is usually in some state of “organized” disarray (until days before we have guests, then cue the stress cleaning). What I mean by organized disarray is that I usually know what is in which pile. One of the books on organization that resonates with my brain’s way of thinking is called Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White. She also has a blog called A Slob Comes Clean. I love her witty perspective and that she coins her process deslobbification. 

Somewhere there is a photo of me in my teens, sitting on the floor of my childhood bedroom, surrounded by paper chaos with barely an inch of carpet visible! When I was a young person, out of college with a full-time job during the 90s, my mom would make remarks about my tendency towards clutter and inconsistent routines. She would (politely? with resignation?) comment, “Creative minds are just not prone to neatness,” or, “I think you should consider hiring a wife to keep you organized.” I would laugh out loud at the second statement. Really, Mom?! A wife? It sounded so 1950s at the time. I readily admit that I would have totally benefited (and still would) from an administrative assistant and perhaps a cleaning person. Much to my surprise, when I moved to the New Orleans area (with my husband and two children), many years after my mom’s comments, I discovered that someone had taken her idea and made a very profitable business out of it. The business is called “The Occasional Wife”.  I have not employed their organizational services yet. However, I keep the idea in the back of my mind for a time when I may truly get desperate or decide it is worth the expense.

The old Gossamer Blue traveler's notebook from my stash that I've been using to document 2021 stories.
Paint bottles organized by rainbow color in an upcycled wooden CD holder. I now realize this needs to painted white.

This brings me back around to the layout I created for this blog. Recently, I have been enjoying working in a standard sized (4.33” x 8.25” old Gossamer Blue) traveler’s notebook (TN). I am in the process of working on two at the same time: one for 2020/Covid stories and another that is more of a 2021 journal sprinkled with unofficial One Little Word entries, currently LOs, and LOAD prompts. Ideas swirled around in my head about what direction to take the TN spread for this month’s topic of organization. I decided to document both my unorganized reality and the elusive dream craft room. Clutter (especially with paper) occurs regularly in my world, yet I also implement some solutions that work, while continuously striving for a neat, colorful space that invites joyful creativity. For example, I love upcycling and find new uses for various containers. Years ago, I successfully converted an old, wooden CD holder into shelves for acrylic craft paint. It is not only useful, but also gives me joy when I see the the colors organized in (mostly) rainbow order. I decided to use a photo of this on my layout, with a contrasting photo of my cluttered desk. Then, I found a photo of the perfectly organized, bright, and colorful craft room at Speaking of contrast, I searched through my stash for background papers. I selected tiny black dots in a symmetrical pattern (might be BoBunny but can’t recall) to symbolize the neat and organized dream and a playful, colorfully stained Vicki Boutin paper from an older Mixed Media paper pad to represent the spontaneous chaos. 

early layout
Beginning the layout with only photos and papers selected.
I sketched out my plan for this layout, whereas I usually seek out other resources for sketch inspiration.

I usually need design inspiration to help narrow my choices because a blank page can be intimidating. Wonderful resources that I like to use, (in addition to our very own ScrapHappy monthly sketches) include Pinterest, PageMaps or Simple Scrapper’s Spark magazine (available as a members only perk at work well for me, among others. Oddly enough, for this layout, I didn’t use someone else’s sketch this time, but I decided to draw out an idea along with notes of initial concept ideas. I was surprised by how quickly it came together as it doesn’t usually work that easily for me. Hurray!

My latest (favorite) style tends to be somewhat minimalistic or simple with a focus on photos and journaling. On this layout, a handful of embellishments were added to help the viewer’s eye move around the page. My choices here included a few word chipboard pieces from Ali Edwards’ Habit story kit, two die cuts from an old Gossamer Blue Ephemera by Banana Fish Studio pack and a couple from a recently purchased The Happy Planner’s Watercolor Goals sticker pack. The title was stamped using a Recollections clear san serif font in uppercase and Tim Holtz’s Black Soot Distress ink pad, onto a piece of acetate, then adhered across the bottom of the spread using tiny dots of Tombow Mono Liquid Glue that dried clear. I added a few aqua enamel dots to form a visual triangle. Lastly, I added hand-written journaling to fit in the lined space on the right.

I chose some embellishments from Ali Edwards' Habit Story Kit.
Recollections san serif alpha stamps and Tim Holtz's Distress Black Soot ink pad used for title. I prefer alpha stamps that include both upper and lower case.

This assignment helped me to refocus on art room goals that I let fall by the wayside. By making this layout, my intentions are renewed for a bright, colorful and clean room that supports and encourages my creativity. Cheers to that!

My completed layout for September's theme of organization. Photo credit for the dream craft room at left:
Imagine yourself living in a space that only contains things that spark joy. 
— Marie Kondo

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