Category Archives: organization

Re-visiting The Category Drawers

Re-visiting The Category Drawers

A big part of the Library of Memories system that Stacy Julian pioneered are the category drawers. (Not necessarily drawers. Mine are photo storage boxes.)

The purpose of category drawers is to organically find and source stories that are deeper and more insightful through the juxtaposition of photos that you wouldn’t normally find together. You can do this in a digital catalog by using keywords and metadata, but with physical photos, you need category drawers. Typically there’s a drawer for people you love, things you do, places you go, and one all about yourself and your immediate family. Within each drawer you add tabbed cards with related topics. For instance, in my category drawer “things we do,” there are sub-headings for reading, art, playtime, etc.

Last week I dug out a random drawer, and poked through what was already in there that could spark a story. The first thing that popped out at me ware a few pictures of my boys when they were younger, and getting along really well. Which made me think, “When did getting along become the exception rather than the rule?”

With that in mind I pulled a few pictures from the category drawer, and then poked through the more recent pictures I do have printed to find a similar, more current one.

when ||

Everything on the layout came from a kit put together last spring. It was a kit making frenzy around here for awhile. It’s going to take some time to use them all up, but it’s so handy to be able to pull out a kit and limit yourself to that, and the bins I have on the desk. (Currently on my desk: scraps bin, small jar of embellishments mostly intended for Project Life, and bin full of journaling cards and labels.)

This layout makes me happy, because it reminds me that my kids do like each other, underneath all the petty bickering and button pushing. Plus it’s a slice of real life, because it seems like the silly arguments are all they do right now.

Anyone else have some category drawer inspired pages they’d like to share? Anyone else want to create their own category drawers so they can find stories like this that are just waiting to be told?

Mastering School Memorabilia

Mastering School Memorabilia

As I mentioned before, one of the biggest sources of memorabilia in this is house is the mountain of papers that come home from school with the kids, especially in elementary school.

There’s artwork and worksheets, tests and report cards, and it ends up being a huge pile of stuff. There are a few things I try to do to keep it under control.

First of all, when school papers arrive in the house, they get the once over from the relevant kid, who lets me know if they think the paper is worth saving or not. My youngest is very good at choosing papers that are meaningful, versus things that are boring or repetitive. (How many spelling tests do you really need to save?) My oldest has gotten to the point where he’s self censoring all his papers before I even see them, so things that I think show where he’s at developmentally, or that illustrate his unique take on the world are frequently disappearing before I see them. The perils of having a middle schooler I suppose.

Once the kids do their initial sort, the papers are supposed to go into a file folder labelled with their name and grade that’s located in a file cabinet right next to my desk. Luckily that was mostly enforced the past few years, so fixing the mess of papers I had lying around was much easier than I thought it would be. (The kid sort is a new step, and has been a wonderful way to deal with all the school papers!)


At the end of the school year, the file comes out of my file cabinet, and goes into a file box for the relevant kid, and a new file is set up for the following year.

But what about giant, bumpy artwork?


That’s got a place too. Way back when, Pottery Barn had these boxes, that fit most large art papers. I’ve got one for each kid, and one for photographs and large memorabilia that’s not kid art. Additionally, because every kid needs a place for his art to be appreciated, I have a wall dedicated to displaying kid art, that gets changed as new art comes home.


Finally, since I am actually caught up with the kid’s School of Life albums, I’ve added choice bits of memorabilia from each year to their books.


Man, I feel so organized right now!

Except for my photos that I haven’t been maintaining, or the piles of non-school memorabilia that are overflowing their containers. But those are problems for another day. Let’s revel in being caught up in this little piece of everyday life for a little bit before moving on to the next disaster.

Do you have any tips or tricks for organizing school papers? Share them with everyone!

Memorabilia Mountain

Memorabilia Mountain

With school winding down here, a veritable mountain of kid-related memorabilia has made its way home in backpacks and bags.

We’ve got worksheets and tests, essays and artwork. There’s beat up binders and folders, and broken crayons and dried up markers, and random school supplies coming back home after a year of hard use, and we have to decide what to do with all of it.

Luckily, my kids are old enough to help and take responsibility for most of the sorting. Things that are broken get tossed, things that can be reused get stored either in their rooms or my office till next year, and memorabilia they don’t want gets tossed in the recycling.

That still leaves a huge pile though.

And that’s not all!

The piles of memorabilia have been collecting here for a while.

There are receipts and ticket stubs. Story ideas and notes about family history. Cards and letters from friends and family near and far. In short there are piles everywhere.

I do have a system for dealing with it all. But, as with most things, if a system isn’t used, it’s not going to work.

On the other hand, if a system isn’t working, it’s not going to get used. It’s a vicious feedback loop.

Regardless, my memorabilia storage methods have to be addressed. It’s too scattered and unorganized and under utilized.

Then again, maybe I just need to pick up.

memorabilia || noexcusescrapbooking

Just a small pile of memorabilia, neatened up for you.

What are your memorabilia nightmares? How about memorabilia success stories? Share what works for you and what doesn’t with everyone here. You could even post pictures in the No Excuse Scrapbooking Flickr group if you’re so inclined.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some sorting and filing to do before my memorabilia is ready for its close-up.

It Might Be Done. Almost. I Think.

It Might Be Done. Almost. I Think.

The great craft room switch of 2014 is done. I think. It’s at the stage where I can work, and I could invite people over to scrap and craft as well.

Want to see?

craft room reveal 1 ||

That’s the view from the doorway. Let’s step inside, shall we?

craft room reveal 2 ||

There are now three tables in the middle of the room for people to work at. You can just see my husband’s work desk on the left, with the file cabinets next to it. Once again, the printer is on a shelf on top of marker bins on the low file cabinets, next to my computer station. The Silhouette and Cricut are on the other side of the computer, plugged in and ready to be used.

craft room reveal 3 ||

The most frequently used tools and newest product were more attractively displayed until I realized I didn’t have room in the closets for the Big Kick and dies and associated product. I’m thinking of getting the Raskog cart from Ikea and turning that into a mobile die cutting station, but for now, all the die cutting tools are on the table under the new vision/inspiration board.

Moving over to stand in front of the computer, you can now see my son’s worktable, and the stamping station.

craft room reveal 4 ||

At the end, there’s even a bookshelf now for craft books and business books!

The closets are organized as well, but are considerably less well lit.

paper closet ||

project closet ||

Along the top of both closets are old rubber stamping and scrapbooking magazines, and the bottoms contain bins of fabric and my crop bags. The closet on the left (with the orange box) is filled with photos and papers and memorabilia. The one on the right has lots of project materials and business supplies.

I think it’s ready for some crafty mayhem, what do you think?

craft room reveal 5 ||

Let me know if you want to see anything in detail. I love sharing my craft room with you!

(Oh, and for anyone interested, the paint color is Indian Ocean by Behr, and the flooring is Country Pine by Trafficmaster/Allure.)


Quick Craft Room Update

Quick Craft Room Update

Just wanted to show you where I am at right now:

Almost done!! ||

Yes indeedy sir, the main part of the scrap room is almost done. I just need to finish giving my husband’s computer a thorough dusting, and set it back up, and the working area will be done.

Then all that will be left to do is the closets.



Did you see how much stuff I had in the other closets? And have I mentioned that I will have to install more shelving? Again?!

But that’s the next thing on the agenda.

I’ll post a full update/walk you through the whole process once everything is done. Maybe even a new video tour!

Speaking of tours, anyone have a craft room they’d like to share? Link it up in the comments!