A couple of people have asked me about my lists and organization obsession regarding my art supplies and craft materials so I decided to share some of my organizational techniques with you.
There are two main types of organizational methods that I use--electronic and non-electronic methods. The electronic methods are primarily used for when I am away from home and I need to reference something at home. This mainly has to do with craft/art supplies. I usually will use the Notes feature on my Apple products (iPad or iPhone). These are simply lists of products (like colors, or manufacturers ID numbers, etc.).
One list that I find helpful are the lists for my colored pencils. Prismacolor already provides a definitive list of colors and ID numbers so I simply use that list. As mentioned previously, Crayola provides no such list and I had to develop my own list and numbering system.
Similarly, Micron provides a comprehensive list of their colors and manufacturer's ID numbers. The problem that I have with this list is that they include all tip sizes and I only use the .05 tip. Also, because the print on the barrel of the pen is so small, I have placed a piece of masking tape on the barrel and written the ID number for quick reference. While in the store, this list becomes very helpful because I have found that many employees (or patrons) really don't care where they place the pens after looking at them. I have come home on many occasions with the wrong pen.
|Labeled Micron Pen|
I am also a huge fan of Excel Spreadsheets and use them often. For me, it is probably one of the most helpful electronic tools that I use. I have a collection of ink pads, ink pad inks, acrylic inks and watercolor inks that I use quite often. Keeping track of them and how much of each that I have/need can be a daunting task. I have entered all of this information on a spreadsheet that helps me keep track. Once a month, I will take out the plastic bin(s) that contain each of these items and do an inventory and will then update my lists. I will then make a running shopping list of the items that are getting low. When I go shopping, I will only use this shopping list so I don't buy unnecessary or duplicate supplies in the spur of the moment excitement of art/craft supply buying.
I am also a big fan of apps that help with organizational matters. I use the My Library app to catalog the books in my library. This is an invaluable tool because it lets you use your cell phone/iPad camera to scan the bar code to enter the information for that book. I usually buy my craft books online so I use this quick feature to check to see if I already own the book. When I happen to go to a physical book store, this is a handy reference.
|My Library app page|
For non-electronic organizing I have two journals that I use to keep track of things. The first is my Idea Book. It is a spiral journal that keeps book/craft/art ideas that interest me. I used to subscribe to too many craft and card magazines and I was overrun by them. Instead, I would color copy the pages that would interest me and I would then place them in my Idea Book.
Another use for my Idea Book was to store my ink pad swatches and brass stencil collections. When working on projects using ink pads, it is helpful for me to see how each of the inks will react. I made several swatches (organized in color families) and placed them in this book for each reference. Also, I made copies of my brass stencils so I could have an easy reference when looking for ideas or to prevent from duplicating purchases.
|brass stencils collections|
My second journal is my Recipe Book. It contains the details of all of my completed projects so I can replicate them if I decide to do so. Once all of the mock ups have been completed and a final version of a project is done, I will notate the necessary information in the Recipe Book for future reference. Also included in this journal are the colored pencil color swatches that I mentioned previously.