When I was growing up my Papa called me his princess. My husband and son treat me like one to this day. Yet, for the longest time I was a pauper to the clutter in my every day life in my home and my finances. Then one day I decided it was time to stop living like a pauper and to be the princess everyone thought of me as. This is the journey I took to de-clutter all aspects of my life and become a true PRINCESS!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


With snow falling outside I was sorely tempted today to just hide under the covers, but the night before I had remembered that besides the two packed drawers and two full sacks of ephemera I also had two or more storage envelopes full of it taking up valuable space on my bookshelves.  The sorting and culling needed to be done.

So after braving the 10 degree weather, two inches of snow, and wind to feed and release our critters I ran for the warmth of the office upstairs to start again.

First I tidied up a little bit of the leftover mess from the day’s before organizational efforts and then dove in to the first drawer.  

Everything was all mixed together, so I made stacks on my work table of I went, breaking it down by states.
Once the states were all laid out I then labeled 1 gallon zipper bags with the appropriate state and site we visited location, and year if I remembered the year off the top of my head. I then put all the small items into the bag.  If an item was too big to fit in the bag it was placed under the bag in the appropriate stack.  The work actually went faster than I expected.

Soon I was into the second drawer and discovered it was all Disney World souvenirs.  This isn’t surprising considering we had been over 30 times.  So I bagged the small stuff up into numerous bags right there at the drawers. 

This I followed up with the items in the bags sitting around the cabinet.  As I went I culled out things that were obviously major duplicates like travel brochures—how many do I actually need of the Fire and Ice cave and volcano to do a single layout? 

 I kept the better copies of the road maps that I might use, while discarding the tattered ones.  

This resulted in a large reduction of materials to deal with. It also resulted in bags of burnable trash and magazines to recycle. I have to admit there was a certain satisfaction in that.

I then bagged up the storage envelopes from the bookshelf to go with these Disney bags because they were both totally Disney as well. 

 It soon became clear to me that my dreams of getting it all down to one drawer were not going to happen, especially since I knew of items that were still in the camper and my room from recent trips. 

So I put the Disney stuff in the second drawer and all other trips in the bottom drawer, laying them flat.I did them in this order because there was actually a lot more of the miscellaneous other trips and it is far better to put the main weight in the lowest drawer, especially when dealing with the Sterilite drawers I was using. 

The end result was two organized drawer of starter kits for scrapbook page making when I had the time.  I could choose a trip then grab the appropriate ephemera and scrap to my heart’s content without having to dig through numerous  junk piles of papers, cards, receipts and airline tickets.  

This is something that has held me back in times past.  When I want to scrap I want to do it right then.  Not dig around looking for things.  I want to be able to lay out what I have in its entirety and go from there. I cannot tell you how many times I've started to do a layout and realized I had no idea where to look for the souvenir map of a historical landmark or something was and by the time I found it would be either out of time or the mood to scrap.  These pre-packaged kits will now make that possible quickly and easily.

When I am ready to scrap I'll grab a bag, print out the photos I want to go with it and be designing a layout in no time at all.  How fun will that be?
My plans for future trips is to bag as I go while traveling.  I always have gallon Ziplocs with me whether I am flying or driving so it won’t be hard to do at all.  I should have thought of this years ago. 

Once it is warmer that below freezing and I can work in the camper without freezing my tush off I’ll bag the materials from our last trip out there and then add it to the bottom drawer.  I’ve already gathered the stuff from my room. 

So this project today once again not only organized a hot spot it helped free up an area on the room bookshelves, helped take excess out of my room and will, when it is warmer, give items from the camper a place to go.  A major plus all the way around. 

Jan who dreaming of taking another trip and adding more to scrap to this collection soon in OK

Monday, February 24, 2014


Continuing on with my self imposed office challenge I climbed the stairs early this fourth day mulling over the possibilities for the day.  I considered various hot spots in the room and different overall organizational things I wanted to do.  By the time I reached the top of the stairs I had decided today was the day I would organize the dreaded souvenir drawers!

If you follow all my blogs you know we are folks who like to travel and in those travels I collect ephemera (souvenirs) to scrapbook with at a later time.  Well, as with everything else around here I am a true S.H.E (Sidetracked Home Executive) when it comes to that.  So I have a set of plastic drawers that I cram those souvenirs in. It’s three deep drawers and all three are generally so packed I can barely open and close them. There is so much in fact that there are also bags sitting nearby of other items to “be filed”.  
On top of this big cabinet there is also a much smaller drawer set that is suppose to be holding specialty scrapbook items, chalks, colored pencils and the like, but at this point I don’t even know what all is still in it. 
My ds has also added things to the top of that.  So today’s challenge.  Clear that tower!  Look out I am going in!
So I started from the top and started working my way down.  I discovered much of the stuff on the top of the little set was artwork, projects (more to bag up like I did the previous day) and trash.  That section went fairly quickly.
I was surprised to find most of the little set of drawers was empty---ahhh PRIME territory to store things in!  I’ll fill those later as I sort other areas of the room I am certain.
The top drawer of the big set of drawers actually was fairly empty too—then why were there sacks of stuff sitting on the floor?  Because the sacks had been taken out of the big drawer when I was trying to get to the marker brushes below it one day and I got sidetracked.  Hmmm, first challenge.  A better way to sort all those markers, chalks and such.  Think, think, think…basement time!
Down to the first landing, down to the sunken living room, up to the second landing and down the basement steps to the first landing, then on to the basement floor I went. 
 I knew I needed something that was heavier than a plastic container, but not so heavy it would make the drawer hard to slide.  I also knew it needed to be something that would not fall over easily.
I looked all around my stash of “stuff” down there, ruling out first one thing, then another.  Finally my eyes fell on the tall baby food jars a friend had given me years ago to put jellies in.  I had never used them for jelly, so there they sat gathering dust and taking up valuable shelf space.  
After a visit with the dishwasher they became my new pencil and pen holders for in the big drawer.  I sorted implements of my trade by type, ie: water color pencils, color pencils, brush markers, permanent markers etc.  That way when I was doing a project I could just pull out the appropriate jar as I needed it.
One thing I ran into was my colored pencils were just a fraction of an inch too tall for the drawer, so they’ll go in my craft carousel on the table where my watercolor pencils already were for the same reason. 
As I organized the jars by type and color I realized how much space I was going to have leftover.  Looking around I wanted something seldom used to go behind the jars of the often used pens and brushes, but easy to access.  I finally decided on a large Ziploc storage container/bowl to put my cords (gold, silver, red etc) in that I seldom use except around the holidays. This will not only keep those strings from rolling around and unraveling, but will provide back support for the jars in the drawer.
A second one was turned the opposite direction at the end of the first one.  In this one I placed a package of washable markers that were too long to put in the jars, exacto knives , film cans of magnet buttons and similar other small seldom used items that I could get to as I need them.  These I labeled so in the future I could grab just the right film can without having to open each one to see what was in it.  
During that search my eyes also landed on a very large barrel of gel pens I purchased long ago.  They have been taking up over a square foot of space on dh’s desk for the longest time because I had nowhere else to put them.  A quick measurement showed I could put them in the drawer too!  BONUS!  Dh will be thrilled they are gone off his desk. 
To help keep the jars from sliding and tipping over I lined the bottom of the drawer with some foam packing material that had came in a recent order we had received.  Once again recycling and repurposing as I went.  
By repurposing these items I had less to put in my non-burn (the packing material—wish I could find a place to recycle it). I gained that space in my soon to be food storage area with the removal of the jars. Plus the freeing up of that space on my husband’s desk.  So it’s a major plus all the way around, and that was just basically one drawer. 
I find this often happens as I am working the Princess Plan. While organizing one area I actually improve several other areas around the house and property. So with each progressive project the entire property improves more and more. 

As I did this sorting I found more rubber stamps and punches, but there was still room for them in the shoe caddy so that didn’t create any problems.  It was nice to be able to turn around and put them in without a second thought about what I was going to do with them.  
I also found still more completed cards that needed filed.  Again with that system already in place that was accomplished easily. 
If you don’t already have tall glass baby food jars (do they even still sell baby food that way?) any scrounged jar of the right height and neck opening would work.  Because I am constantly using jars for sorting items, splitting out large container purchases, infused water and storing leftovers I wash every jar that we empty in this house and store it.  So I always seem to have the right size jar when an organizational project comes up. Once all my organization is complete I will recycle any non-essential jars to keep from having clutter there as well. 
If your jar mouth is too wide to keep your pens upright one person on a list I’m on suggested using dried beans, rice or marbles in the bottom of the jar to keep the pencils in place. With the baby food jars I didn’t have that problem.
No packing material?  Again trot over to Wal-Mart or your favorite Dollar Store and look in the shelf paper section.  They sell some no slide rubber shelf liner by the rolls that I also use an abundance of in the camper.  Since I am not worried about color for these in the cabinet out of sight type projects I always look for whatever color they may be closing out that week. Closeout discounts are not as good as free, but they are close.
While I had hoped to get that whole cabinet done today it soon became clear that because of several issues I would have to be satisfied with just the little drawer set being nearly empty and the top drawer now totally organized.
Guess I’ll work on the ephemera tomorrow.
Jan who took time away from the office today because she is trying to maintain a bit of clean in the rest of the house as she brings the office under control in OK

Friday, February 21, 2014


Day 3 of the one thing a day challenge started out as a basic idea and segued into what I think will be very handy and easy to use and make.  It is kind of a combination of various ideas I’ve seen, but as always on a shoestring budget.

Many crafters purchase stands that come with plastic bags and clips to organize small things on like the Clip Up (would require purchasing both it and the specialty bags to go with it.  I try to avoid spending money on such purchases like the plague as you well know), others have done various versions of this ranging from using pant hangers in a closet (this could get quite costly quickly with the volume I hope to need) to rednecking an idea using an old lamp and a stripped down lampshade with the purchased bags.

Me I wanted to use what I had on hand and for it to be as near free as possible.  You see I plan on eventually needing a lot of this particular storage idea.  

I hate waste, so when I am cutting into a new 12 x 12 piece of cardstock I want to cut as much of it as I will need in that color for projects in the immediate future.  This not only saves paper, but saves time as well if you set your machine up to do all the cuts at once. Plus because I am hoping to build up inventory for our card business I will need to make up several cards of each type at a time and then find a way to store them until they sell.

So here’s my cheapie version of the systems above.  I have an over abundance of wire hangers.  I’m not even certain where they all came from.  I think they breed like rabbits.  I also have a large supply of clothes pins from my clothesline days….I bet you can see where this is going. 

I placed the parts and finished cards in gallon size zipper bags and labeled them clearly with what cartridge from my die cut machine they were from, the card name and our stock number on it. I added any special notes I had made, instructions on any particular aspect of it and such.  Zipped it closed and then folded the top over the bottom bar of the hanger, holding it in place with two clothes pins.

Because I want each one easy to find I color coordinated the hangers, well not exactly the hangers, but the “collars” I made for the top of each hanger.  Similar to the color tags some stores use to indicate what size a garment is on the neck of a hanger—another idea I “borrowed”. 

To start with I don’t have many of these bags made up, so I am simply doing a few categories.  As volume increases I will add more colors.  

I started with green for spring, meaning all the holidays that fall from March to the end of May.

Yellow is for summer and all the holidays that fall between June 1 and Labor Day.

Fall is orange for back to school and all the holidays from September 1 through Thanksgiving.

That brings us to white for winter.  These cards are all the Dec-Feb cards.

Specialty celebrations like birthday, anniversary, new baby are blue collared.

Finally a striped collar for miscellaneous.  These could be cards that don’t fit into other categories, random shapes, frames, envelopes or pieces waiting to be filed.

Once I find a category getting too full I’ll subdivide them using a print/stripe of the same color grouping for the main section.  For now just the main groups are needed.

The collars are simply 1” x 1” squares of paper in the appropriate color I wrapped around the neck  of the hanger and taped in place with a wrap of scotch tape that went all the way around to help prevent tearing of the paper.  These are easy to see and fast to do.

You could tie a bit of ribbon or yarn, but what paper crafter doesn’t have scraps of paper laying around? 

If you don’t have wire hanger breeding stock or have never hung a piece of laundry out you can still do this project fairly cheaply.  Many thrift stores sell large bundles of wire hangers super cheap.  No thrift store? They aren’t that expensive at Wal-Mart or your favorite dollar store.  

 Clothes pins can be had at those places as well for $1-$2 for 50-100 clothes pins.  I used two clothes pins per hanger for security purposes.

Once all the collars were made I added the appropriate bags and hung them on the empty rod in my craft room closet by color groupings.   

You could do other craft items, or other bagged small  items  like hair ribbons, knitting needles, or similar items elsewhere in the house in the same manner. 

Because I started this right off the bat it was quick and easy to do.  I will make more as each bag is created in the future to stay organized with this section. Finished photo is at the side as usual.

Jan who says it’s in the bag in OK

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


On day two of the challenge I decided to organize my punches and stamps that I use in the card and scrapbook page making.   

Again I don’t have a large amount of these, but enough they needed to be organized.  Truth be known, I wasn’t sure how many or what ones I had.  It had been so long since I used them and they were scattered about in various bins, boxes, drawers, etc.  I needed them easy to access and visual.

This is not a new idea, but it is a very good one I borrowed from someone, who borrowed from someone, who borrowed from someone.  You get the idea, it’s been around a long time.

If you have one on hand you can repurpose it.  I didn’t so I invested $5.50 in the purchase of a clear 24 pair over the door shoe bag from Wal-Mart.  I had originally planned to hang it on the inside of the closet door, but my husband (once again the brilliant one) suggested it would be better on the outside of the door where I could see it at a glance.  

I started out by gathering first all my punches and dividing them by category.  Trees/leaves, Disney, Celebrations, Flora, Fauna, you get the idea.  This is when I realized I had far more pockets than I needed for just punches and since I probably wouldn’t buy any more because I have an electronic die cutting machine with Sure Cuts a Lot, and my Cuttlebug there would be no real need to purchase more punches.

So I gathered all my wood mounted and foam stamps and sorted them into the same categories.  I have other plans for unmounted stamps, probably the only stamps I’ll purchase in the future. 

Small stamps were grouped together in zippered plastic bags to make them easier to retrieve from the pockets in the future. 

Because I’m of short stature I put the lesser used stamps and punches in the upper pockets and worked my way down. Seasons, down to corner punches and circle decorative punches. 

As it worked out I had exactly the correct number of pockets for what I needed!  If I had needed more I could have placed another shoebag on the inside of the closet.  But since I don’t plan on purchasing any more of these type products I have other plans for the inside of that door.

Day two challenge completed quickly and easily and as you can see by the photo to the side a very organized, visual system that is easy to use.

Jan who is starting to like the way this is coming together in OK