Here’s Where I Do Project Life

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Do you have a designated spot where your Project Life is always open and ready for you?

I’ve been testing this spot as a potential PL “station” since we moved into our new house in July. It’s possible that once my scraproom is finished I could end up moving it in there, but I have serious doubts. I’m officially in love with this spot. So I thought I’d share it with you.

Maybe it will generate a few ideas for yourself.

We have this counter/cupboard space that is just off the main living areas of our home, and at the entrance to what I think of as my own almost private part of the house. Let me give you a visual of where it is. Here’s what you see when you step into the front door of our home…

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Please excuse the bare walls. It’ll take at least another year before it’s close to being finished.

To the left, where you see my dogs, is the living room/library. Straight ahead is the family/tv room. Left of that is our kitchen, and right of it is the master bedroom.

From the front door, if you make an immediate right, there is a hallway. That is the section of the house that I think of as my own space, with the exception of the guest bathroom that is back there. See that door in the hallway? That’s the laundry room. A little farther down the hall is my scraproom.

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You can almost get a glimpse of my scraproom through that hallway from this view. And there is my beloved Project Life station.

It is directly across from the laundry room. And since I’m the one that does the laundry, you can see why I feel like this is my area of the house. I can go back and forth between PL and laundry, and I can easily dash into my scraproom to grab or put away any extra supplies I want to use while doing Project Life.

Here is a view of the counter/cupboard space from the laundry room doorway…

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Just an FYI, those cupboards are for household items like extra candles, cake/cookie decorating supplies, medical supplies, etc. I might use one cupboard space below for pocket pages, but right now I’m only using two of the drawers to hold PL supplies.

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In the front of the middle drawer I have two mini kits, and behind that is a tray of mixed cards from a few core kits plus whatever I’ve cut down from regular paper lines. To the side and behind are additional supplies.

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The right drawer is where I throw any memorabilia for all kinds of scrapbooking until I have a chance to sort it for standard scrapbooking, or put it into one of my Project Life albums. Since taking this picture I’ve added file folders in there to sort any PL memorabilia by month.

I’ve got an extremely simple system that makes it easy to keep up with Project Life, so there’s not a whole lot.

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These days I keep two current Project Life albums going at once — one for our everyday life, the other to document our everyday dance life (You can see how the Project Dance Life album was born on video in Paperclipping 229. Click here to learn about about a Paperclipping Membership and access to our videos!).

I mainly keep the general everyday album open at the current spread, and the dance album is standing behind it. When I want to work on the dance album, I switch their positions. If I have loose items and don’t want to stand an album up, I think I can lay it on a shelf that is in the cabinet below (I haven’t had to do this yet, so I’m not positive it fits).

What you’re looking at on the counter right now in the picture above is my stash of supplies while I’m in hard-core PL mode. Because I’m finishing up December, I’ve got Christmas supplies out. Most of the time I don’t have an extra stash of themed supplies out like that. You also see my adhesive and scissors buckets. Those are only there when I’m working on a month of assembly. Most of the time they’re either in my scraproom or upstairs in the recording studio.

Theoretically, this is what it should look like most of the time, as long as I’m not piling up household to-do items on the counter…

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That is, as long as I’m staying on top of my regular-life to-do items. This is what I use for my household action items and my post-it notes, which are essential for both PL and getting regular stuff organized and done…

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This sorting unit is great because it’s portable. I used to keep it at my desk in my scraproom, but I found I like to do a lot of my work at the table where I homeschool Trinity, instead of at my desk. So it’s perfect right here — near the front door and easy to grab to take into our table in the library.

In fact, here’s one last view of my Project Life station, through the library, from that very spot where Trinity and I work…

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What Makes a Great Spot for a Project Life Station

Here’s what I love about this spot for my Project Life:

  • I can immediately drop off the memorabilia when I come home.
  • It’s a central spot between the two places I do a lot of my work (laundry/scraproom + library).
  • The kids often walk by it to use the bathroom downstairs, so they can take a peek.
  • It’s an easy place for the current spread to be viewable for anyone, without cluttering up the main areas where we live and entertain.
  • I can choose and edit photos from the table in the library, and wirelessly send them to print on my Selphy (small black 4×6 printer on the counter) where the prints will sit and wait next to my album.
  • When I’m working on my PL I’m kind of in my own space, but not totally separate from the rest of the family. It’s the perfect middle-ground, both literally and figuratively.

Want to see some current pages? I just need to add a final detail or two to my December pages and post them in the next day or so. Please come back to check them out!

Do you have a space that’s working for you? Did my space give you any ideas for how you can improve your own? Please leave a comment and share!

  • Frances

    A completely perfect spot for you! Nice idea. I like how you keep it clutter free and simple! Nicely done.

  • Dee Kay

    I am finding the full potential (OLW) in my spaces this month. I had never thought about leaving my PL out like this. I will be using your ideas. Thank you for sharing.

  • Nathalie Nass-Peltier

    I love your house blueprint. Very interesting and convenient to place your scraproom next to the laundry room. However, I was wondering about humidity. Any worries?

  • Nathalie, I live in Arizona where there’s no such thing as humidity. :)
    Does your laundry area get humid? Mine does not, even in the more “humid” monsoon season of our year (I’ve never heard of that, actually). But my laundry room does have a fan, I rarely use the hot temperatures, and I can keep the laundry door shut. So even if there was humidity from doing the laundry, I would think it would be ok. Do you have a humidity issue from your laundry? Would that help with your laundry-related humidity?

  • JulieFrog

    Wow, Noell, your house is amazing! That seems like the perfect spot – ideal for just slotting something in, or jotting down some journalling as you’re passing, as well as making a more concerted effort to update it! You’re definitely prompting me to rearrange my scraproom!

  • Marie-Pierre Capistran

    oh wow Noell, your house is beautiful!! Are you planing to paint the walls in color? This will be a big job with those high ceilings. :) I like your Project Life Station. The album open and there is the only way I could make it work too. My craft room is the room next to the kitchen, so when I’m in my cart room, I’M with the rest of the family. There is a door way separating the two rooms, but no door. The first thing that you see when you come in is a table with my Project Life open on it. Next to it, laying on my table is my core kit box so it’s easy to grab a card and jot down an idea when they come to mind. The office where the computer and printer is is the next room after my scrap room and this room too is open to the others so it’s easy to go from one to another. I usually will sit down at the computer when the week is over and print my pictures. I then go to my scrap room and work on the embellishing and journaling of my album. :) here’s a picture to give you a visual idea of what I’m talking about: http://mpcapistran.blogspot.com/2013/08/project-life-how-to-be-caught-up-weeks.html AND http://mpcapistran.blogspot.com/2013/01/pl-week2.html
    And just one last thing: yesterday night my daughter (she’s 5) told me that because of my scrapbooking, I didn’t have time for her. I asked her if she wanted me to stop and she said no, I love to have my memories recorded, but I wish you would have more time for me. And the thrush is that between Project Life, my traditional pages (I make about 3 pages /month for my design team, I did December Daily, I make cards, you know…… it’s a lot. Do you have this issue? Or did you ever had it maybe when your kids were smaller? I’m wondering where I should cut back. I wanted to let the PL down this year (It would break my heart to miss one whole year of our daily life especially because the kids are so small and they grow fast and it changes fast!) and my husband told me it’s the project he enjoys the most of everything I’m doing. I’m having more fun doing my traditional pages which are also packed with infos, and pictures, and memories, and I feel that what I do there can never be represented in an album like Project Life… and I mean, 3 pages a month it’s not much right? I’m a slow scrapper so for every page I take an evening + night, but I mean….it’s maybe 3-4 evenings/nights a month that I do that and the rest of the time it’s project Life and other side projects….. so what do you think about all that?? Maybe it’s something you could discuss on the roundtable? I know you had this subject once. Karen Grunberg was on and she is so organized, but I’d love to have the insight of a stay at home mom with young kids. I also saw many well known scrapbookers who gave up their blog this year because they wanted to concentrate on their kids and family more, so I’m not the only one trying to juggle with that and trying to do it all (no tv for me though) only kids and scrapbooking and I can’t keep up. Thanks Noell, I’ll be at CHA, I’ll try to come and say hi! :)

  • marcy

    great post! will you be having a coupon code for BPC this year? marcy

  • I emailed Kayce over the weekend and hoping she’ll get a new code to me soon!

  • So I have to know – which Story People quotes did you get for the walls?

  • Rosa M. Neno

    I am so very happy for you, what a beautiful home and such a happy project life work area! God Bless and enjoy it!!!

  • marcy

    thanks… I’ll look forward to it!

  • Tina C

    Nice spot! I do to much crafting for a spot like that :) But I like how you have it all together, in one area. I have mine spread about the room.

  • CuriousCrafter

    Great blog post and fabulous visuals. Many thanks again. I keep moving my Project Life around and haven’t settled on a final spot yet. At present they are on the spare side of the bed handy to work on while drinking coffee in the morning or watching TV late at night. Not so handy when making the bed though. I have another spot next to an easy chair in the library. I envisioned PL remaining on the island in the studio but find I need the space clear to create visual order as I walk by that room many times a day. Your home is stellar! You and Izzy deserve the best. You as a team give us enormous amounts of content, inspiration and joy. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Your information and inspiration invaluable. I can’t imagine the industry being without you two. Your “show” has created lasting & loyal friendships between your guest experts and their customers. A true “Win-Win” for all of us. Thus, it is refreshing to (non-schmos) and ardent followers to see hints of tangible rewards coming your way. May they (and you) long continue.

  • Rachel L

    Love your new house Noell! So lovely to have a dedicated Scraproom… and a Library [swoon!]

  • ladywing

    Looks like the drop zone I have planned for the back hallway in our new house. Unfortunately, no scrapping will happen there as it is part of the mudroom for us. But it’s a great idea for a PL station if you don’t have to share it!

  • Carmel Keane

    What amazing timing – i am currently thinking of setting up a PL station like this in a computer space which sits behind closed doors – just need to think of what else i wish to store there in terms of cupboards/drawers – thanks so much for sharing and the inspiration. May I pin this to my Pinterest Board?

  • Robin

    WoW! Love those shots! Thanks for sharing:) You must be loving your new house, Congrats!!
    I love your ideas!! I had been using my main craft desk to do PL, but needed to clear it all up before the holiday. I helped a non-scrapbooking friend make her newly pregnant niece a baby album, for Christmas. Anyway, all my stuff needed to move, so we could work.
    Now that holiday’s are over, I’m ready to get my PL 2013 finished, so I can get going on 2014. After seeing what you’ve done here, I’m thinking more, of dedicating the table behind my workspace, to PL only. Right now, it’s a ‘catch-all’ space, and I have my sewing machine on it (which I don’t use much).
    It would be perfect, as it’s just inside the craft room, which is open, and just by the dining room. Our kitchen sits just behind that. So, I can work on PL, and be close to everything, not cut off from the rest of the family, just like you have here!
    Plus, the book is nearby everyone else’s path through the house, so they can take a peek when they want :) Love this!
    It will be close enough to work on for a few minutes, when waiting on laundry-for instance…without being in the way for anything else. I love this!
    Thanks Noell!

  • Yes! I want color on those walls!! I like to have 2-3 colors in larger rooms, and with all these different walls connecting in different places it’s quite complicated trying to figure out which colors will end and start where. I miss the blue and the teal green of my old kitchen and living room, so I think I’ll look for something like that. But I’ll be hiring someone to do it. I’m of the mindset of hiring people with much more expertise than me, and that will allow me the hours to work in my own areas of expertise (Paperclipping). The neutral railings, counters, and cupboards will look better against a contrasting color. As they are with the beige paint, I don’t love them. Thankfully my kitchen has a beautiful black granite counter top.
    Thank you for sharing pictures of your space! It looks like you’ve got a great setup (and I love your floors!!). I see you have a space for your girls to hang out while you’re in your scrap room. Do you, yourself, feel that you don’t spend enough time with the girls? If you don’t feel your family time is lacking, is it possible your daughter just happened to be feeling that for that one evening? Or that maybe she got that idea somewhere else and was experimenting with the idea by verbalizing it to you? That’s just another possibility to consider. But, let’s say she’s right and you do feel like you’re not spending enough time with her…
    Have you considered cutting out the card making? You’re fulfilling your creative needs with the standard pages. I’m not saying you SHOULD cut out the cards (they’re CUTE!) but that’s the kind of thing that I have cut out for myself. There are all kinds of other artsy options that I’ve toyed with but don’t do because it’s just too much.
    I’ve never felt that my scrapbooking took time away from my kids, but I have felt that about blogging. Photographing layouts, uploading those photos, putting together a post — for me that takes a lot of time, and I wonder if that’s the case with the bloggers you mentioned (who are they, by the way?). I used to blog so much more and I cut that way down at some point. Especially during the months of November and December. You may have noticed that almost the only blogging that happened here during those months in 2013 were the posts for the Roundtable and video episodes. I’ll be back to blogging more now through October, but it still won’t be to the amount it used to be a few years back.

  • You know the Story People!!!

    I’m not home so I have to go off of memory —

    1) The one with wings — has to do with all the words the eskimos have for ice, and that we should have more words for love “but all I can think of is the way you move against me while you are sleeping, and there are no words for that.”
    2) The one that I have tilted so it looks like she’s flying — he’s speaking to the mother of his children, noticing the way she stands, and says something about how after all these years and children, she still dreams of dancing.
    3) I have one on another wall that says something about how there are things we do that may make no sense and may make no money, but they are the real reason we are here: “to eat each other’s cooking and to say it was good.”
    4) I also have a framed print that says something like, “Daily to-do list: Drink Wine.”

  • I love your house!! And your PL station is perfect :)

    I’m going for PL this year too, but, as you, I’ll go for my own version :)
    I’m pretty sure it’ll be monthly, but that’s going to be so flexible :)
    I have tons of pocketed page protectors, as well as tons of all other supplies, and I think this format is going to be great for using up my stash and get me motivated…
    I hope you do another video on PL soon.

    A big hug from Spain :)

  • Joanna

    Oh my goodness you have so much space!! and so much storage!! What I wouldn’t do for that little nook to store all the odd stuff that doesn’t belong anywhere else… My 1920 bungalow doesn’t have any hallways (at all!) or much storage space to speak of – just 2 small clothing closets, no linen or broom closets or pantry, so we have to be very minimal. My PL station is the right hand end of the Japanese dining table/sofa table in the living room plus the storage ottoman to my right and a spot in front of that on the speakers and in the TV cabinet. That’s why I do PL in 6×8″ format! I love your PL space. It looks like a really good use of space and it seems like it will work well with your lifestyle.

  • Sometimes it takes some experimentation and trial to find a spot that truly works.
    Thank you for the encouraging support and kind words about what we do with Paperclipping! I love hearing that through the Roundtable we’re helping the guest experts and their fans/customers to connect emotionally. That is just AWESOME!!
    As for the tangible rewards from Paperclipping — again, thank you for that kind of support. Paperclipping has been a steady, stable business, which is wonderful and hopefully indicative that it is here for the long term! It’s not enough to pay for this home — Izzy’s own business brings in more than Paperclipping does. But also, the home is a result of 16 years of very conservative living and lots of saving.
    For 16 years the largest home we lived in was 1600 square feet for the 5 of us and 2 dogs. We were on top of each other! For 14 years we shared a single car (even when he worked 45 minutes away from home). When the first car was paid off we saved our money until we could buy a second car in full with cash. All this took a lot of time and patience. Finally, with no car payments and a very small mortgage on a tiny old house, we were able to save up a big chunk for a down payment on this one one, so our monthly mortgage isn’t outrageous.
    So yes, Paperclipping is strong and stable. It allows Trinity and I to dance many, many hours a week. But I wouldn’t want anyone to think it pays for this new house on its own! :)

  • Thank you, Rachel! A formal living room and dining room wasn’t making sense for us. Until this year we’ve always lived in tiny apartments/houses. But to think of that big space as a library — well that makes sense to us, for sure! So it’s really a formal living/dining room that we’ve designated as a library, but we can use it as a room for entertaining, as well.

  • Mud rooms do not exist in Arizona as far as I’ve ever seen. Out here we could all use a splash room for swim suits and towels, though, since most people have pools, LOL. Never heard of that one either, though!
    Is the mud room not big enough for a PL station if you wanted one there? Or does the mud really get all over?

  • OH YES, please pin away!!!! Thank you! Good luck with your space. :)

  • I wasn’t sure how helpful this post would be for others, since my little cabinet space is an unusual feature. I was hoping it would help some of you somehow, so I’m excited to hear from a few of you that it IS giving you some ideas that will work in your homes!

  • Hugs back from the U.S.! :)

    I LOVE doing it monthly!!! You’re right, the flexibility is a big deal and makes it so doable!
    I’ll see what I can do for a video that focuses more on my PL process. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Catherine

    Thanks for sharing – I love that your spot is counter height, it’s so inviting. We have two Project Life albums going.. One for Life at Home (for which I do a photo a day) and one for my husband (for which he does 2 spreads a month). I’m in charge of adding photos to each – and that’s all the process is, plus journaling on the cards of course, because I use just Honey for the former and just Midnight for the latter, and all pre-loaded for the year. I keep the two albums, the Selphy, the USB cord for our camera, and a journaling pen on a built in corner hutch in our small dining room. It’s easy to go in with the laptop, print the photos, pop them in the album, and write on the cards all on the dining room table. I do wish the hutch were large enough to work on, like yours!

  • How fun to have a 1920’s bungalow!! But I feel ya — none of our previous apartments/home had much storage space and that is so hard!! It’s definitely been amazing to me to have so much storage (there’s plenty more even!).

  • C.Robin

    Hi Noell, What a loverly spot for your PL. Your house is beautiful, thanks for sharing it with us. You have giving me some good ideas. I am doing over my living room with scrapbooking and PL in mind. Thank for tell us about the Selphy, I received one for Christmas. Happy New Year.

  • Kim J

    Thank you so much for sharing your space and ideas for a Project Life station as well as for sharing in the comments a description of how you moved from a small to this now larger, beautiful home. About 10 years ago, my husband and I bought 10 acres and built a smaller house specific to how we live. We love it and wouldn’t change a thing, but unfortunately, that was before I expanded into serious scrapbooking, product hoarding, I mean collecting. and doing project life. Until now, I had been using my scrapbook table for my layouts and Project Life, which means I have to switch out and move projects that I am working on, leaving piles of these projects on my side table. Your blog post gave me an idea for using some unused space in my dining room, which we walk by all the times so it would be a perfect place for dropping off memorabilia and/or writing up a journaling card and slipping it into a pocket. It is also where I keep my small portable photo printer, making putting photos into my PL even easier. Thanks for the great idea. I hadn’t thought about moving my PL out of my scrapbooking area!

  • Marie-Pierre Capistran

    Thanks for your answer… :) Yeah, I do feel like I spend a tremendous amount of time scrapping. That’s what I like most, so I guess I want to do it all the time! :) When I do get to scrap during day time, the girls do water painting next to me or we move the table to the “office” in the next room when I need to work on my pictures on the computer, but it’s true that the girls always see my back, even though they are with me. They’d rather have my painting with them or looking at them while they are painting, of course!! And Also I have a set up in the office where they each have their table to work on coloring, or home work, or even scrapbooking, but MY stuff and MY scrapbooking is always what interest them most and I don’t let them dig into my stuff, so I’m quickly turning into the mean mom. And only scrapbooking at night is just not possible anymore. I’ve spent so many 3 hours nights this past year, I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m getting older and I don’t want to be sick some time soon, knock on wood. So the solution I think is to reduce the amount of work. The cards I’m doing are part of my DT duties. I’m on the Art Impressions DT (And I’m happy because I get to go to CHA with them for the first time this year, so it’s work for a good cause….) but yet again my daughter will tell me I leave her alone for 7 days for scrapbooking. I’m trying to focus on the living hands free philosophy, meaning being here and there, grabbing the things that matters while they are happening, but that would mean for the moment to let go of my dreams and aspirations…. it’s bitter sweet. Of course, nobody can do it all, right? Oh and by the way the scrappers I was telling you about are Laura Kurz and Jen Jockisch and I think even more studio calico said so when their DT term was over….

  • Susan Bunt

    It’s amazing how we each have a “spot” for our craft. I love your home. Crisp & clean looking.TFS.

  • Thank you!

  • Jessy

    I was just wondering, do you leave your Selphy on all the time? I had read a review on Amazon on how turning it off and on all the time will “use up” a little bit of ink and after awhile you will run out of ink but still have paper left. I’m not sure but I think it might be happening to me. So I experimented with leaving my Selphy on and after 3 days I couldn’t bear it anymore and just shut it off. So I’m just curious what everybody else is doing with their Selphy.

  • Yes, I leave mine on all the time. It’s never occurred to me to turn it off, LOL! I like that when I need to use it I can use it from the other side of the room without having to stand up and walk over there.
    I can’t imagine why it would use up ink to turn it on and off, though. One way to know is this: I run out of ink when I only have one piece of photo paper left. So the pack of paper and the ink cartridge run out at pretty much the same time. Are you running out of ink faster than paper?

  • marcy

    any updates on the code? class I am interested in starts soon! :)

  • No, it’s very unusual not to have heard back from them. I think they must be so tied up preparing for their live class at the end of CHA. I’ve emailed a second person, telling them I’ve heard from many of you who are holding off on classes, and still haven’t heard back.

    I wonder if it would help if you emailed customer service????

  • Nancy

    It’s inspiring to hear your journey from saving, scrimping, and working hard so you can buy your “dream home”. I am thinking of starting project life. And can you point me to where you talk about why you love PL and how you juggle or shift from traditional scrapbooking to digital to PL? And What is that little machine in your picture beside your PL album?

  • Denise A Mills

    What a great home! I’m from Tucson so the high ceilings and lots of light make me feel right at home. (I live in Idaho now). How is your dedicated scrap room coming along? Do you have furniture for it yet? How big is it?
    We moved about a year ago. I also now have a room dedicated for crafting near the laundry room and kitchen. It is about 12 by 13 feet and has a large window (love the light!) It is both fun and challenging to try to make it a functional and inspirational room. I’m always looking for ideas and I hope you will share your process as you get going.
    I sure enjoy the Paperclipping roundtable! I recently renewed my membership and hopefully will have some time to catch up on your videos too

  • Debbie Piercey

    What an awesome work space and routine. This makes me want to purchase a Selphy now! Thanks for the tips. I will be scouring every nook and cranny for a spot that would work in a similar way. tfs

  • nikki7

    LOVED this post! Thanks for sharing your space with us!

  • Hi, Denise! I have my storage furniture, but no other furniture. I plan to get a small desk and either a large kitchen island or two small ones (leaning toward a large one from Ikea but need to clear the stuff out of the center of my room so I can put tape down and see if it will fit with enough walking space around it.
    The room is small. Can’t remember the exact measurements now, but from vague memory I think it might be a little smaller than yours??? I do plan to share my setup/organization process!!