Do you have unfinished scrapbook projects? Does it cause you stress? Recently I decided to embrace the fact that I always have a lot of unfinished projects.
Instead of making it a goal to get my projects finished, I decided to reorganize my space to accommodate my madness — or at least what some might consider to be madness. As a result I found that . . .
- There is a way to feel calm and happy, even with lots of unfinished projects
- Having a number of unfinished projects has huge benefits!
Since I decided to start projects when I think of them, I learned that the prolific 39-time Best-Selling author, James Patterson, has been known to work on more than five novels at one time! You may love Patterson’s books — you may not love them. I don’t particularly like his style of writing, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is evidence that you can be successful and accomplished with lots of projects bubbling at one time.
So how does he do it? How can you do it? Organization!
But wait! Doesn’t multiple unfinished projects equate to DISORGANIZATION?
No. You still need an organization structure to filter your idea bursts and your project streams. Patterson does it. Having been a corporate CEO, he is known for his exceptional organization skills. When I decided I was going to act on my ideas immediately, rather than add them to a to-do list, I knew I also needed to restructure my scrap space to meet my project needs.
This article tackles storage of unfinished and on-going projects. Here are posts on other organization subjects:
- 3 Ways to Store It: Patterned Paper (a 3-part system)
- Organize Your Scrap Supplies: Journal Blocks and Spots
- Organize Patterned Paper by Design Principles
- A Video Tour of my Scraproom
Three Types Of Unfinished Projects
There is an important difference between various unfinished projects . . .
- Projects you’ve lost interest in
- Projects on hold – you need to work on something else because of a deadline, or you need a specific item to complete it
- Intentionally on-going projects
How Many - 7
If I really feel a project is not all that worthwhile, if I have negative feelings about it along with my lack of interest, or if I feel sure I won’t be finishing it, I salvage any pieces I can use on something else and then throw the rest away. Otherwise, if I think there is some potential in the future but have no interest in touching it any time soon, I put it in the drawer at the bottom of this plastic rolling drawer set, or in the plastic bin on top.
I also have one item here that I haven’t really lost interest in. It’s just not a priority. I had an idea and wanted to start it before I’d forget. If I ever feel like finishing it, it’s in the drawer. If not, no big deal. My idea is an experiment and I’ve already gained one thing by starting, even though it’s unfinished: I learned that the technique I was testing will work!
If I need to add a project here and the drawer is full, I pitch my least interesting project to make room for the new one.
How Many - 14
If I am very much interested in finishing a project but need to move it off my work table, and if it doesn’t have a lot of pieces, I set it in a stack on this top shelf. Projects that are only waiting on one quick item, like a photo, are in the front. Projects that will require an hour or more of work are in the back. This front and back system is surprisingly helpful!
- It keeps stuff off my current workspace.
- The projects that I can finish with just a couple steps are prioritized in a visible place. This helps me realize how close I am to finishing them. We procrastinate things that seem hard or take multiple steps. Knowing that these items in the front are just a couple steps away from being done is motivating!
Projects that have a lot of parts and pieces, embellishments, papers, etc, go in the white boxes on the two lower shelves. I purchased large 12×15 inch boxes at Ikea. I like that I can have 12×12 papers or pages at one end of the box and scraps and embellishments on the other end. I name the project on the front label of the box in pencil because eventually I’ll rotate a different project into it.
The projects in these boxes are much more involved, so I love that I can have the chaos of all their supplies in nice clean containers. They’re in my sight as a visual reminder, but don’t add clutter to my mind.
How Many - 5 active, 1 still in prep, and 2 I haven’t fully committed to yet.
On the red shelf above my worktable is an art journal, a writing and ephemera journal, and an altered book about myself. On the same shelf, but farther from my reach are two altered books I’m still contemplating. They will be on-going once they actually get going.
Because I decorate my altered Book About Me with lots of scrapbooking items, I keep the supplies in one of those white boxes on that shelf of on-hold projects.
One of my other on-going projects is a New Year’s book that gets a two-page spread of silly family predictions each year. I keep that in my drawer of completed seasonal mini-books, even though it isn’t really completed. This makes sense for me because I don’t need to reserve specific scrapbook supplies for it, and because I only sit down to work on it two days out of the year.
TOTAL UNFINISHED PROJECTS RIGHT NOW: 29
Projects that I’m very close to finishing: 6
The Huge & Awesome Benefits
There are times when the ideal thing to work on is a project you’ve already started but never completed!
I often grab an unfinished project when I . . .
- Have short bursts of time
- Am attending crops, scrapping while traveling, or working at a coffee shop
- Want to scrapbook without thinking much
Unfinished projects are ideal in these situations because . . .
- The supplies are already all together, or the project is close to being finished and doesn’t need a lot of supplies.
- Since you’ve already thought the project out (you know the story, you’ve picked the colors and papers, etc), you’ve already made the hard choices that require more introspection. Now it’s just play time.
Other benefits for having lots of unfinished projects . . .
- A project in its infant stages that you can actually see and touch is much more motivating than an idea on a project to-do list. Trust me.
- Acting immediately on your idea bursts will free the flow of more and even better ideas.
- No matter what your creative mood, there is something in-progress to match it!
Do you need to clear some space for unfinished projects? I recommend you first identify clutter and excess you can get rid of — stuff you don’t love and never use. Next, identify the vertical spaces around your home or scrap area where you can add shelves, containers, or drawers. Almost all of us have vertical space we aren’t maximizing. Almost all of us have excessive clutter that isn’t really benefiting us. Free yourself! Free your ideas and turn them into something, even if they’re just the start of something.
Okay, now who’s ready to start some new projects?
I have lots of project ideas to get you playing that I share in video tutorials. Many of those videos also share how I set up my space for certain things, like mini-books, for example!
CLICK HERE for more info on our video tutorials!