Ask Kate

All That Paper (and How I Organize It)

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Hey busy ladies and gents, I know I’m not alone in the constant barrage of papers that enter the house on a daily basis.  From mail to magazines to school notices, paper clutter piles up so darn quick you could drown in it.  Despite my best efforts to go paperless, I find there is still a constant stream of paper, paper, and more paper coming through the door.

It used to pile up in my house until I thought it would eat me alive.  It used to give me such anxiety, but I finally developed a system that really works for me.  The real key for me was eliminating as much as I could, and then finding a place for what was leftover.  I think that’s the key for keeping just about anything organized: purge often, and have a place for what remains, then you’ll stay sane.

My method for paper organization isn’t sexy and I’m no organizational pro.   I was asked about a month ago by a reader how I keep it all organized, so here are a few of the tricks I use to control my paper clutter.

1.  Identify It.  It took me years to figure this out, but now in hindsight it seems so simple.  The very best trick I ever came up with was sitting down with my piles of paper clutter and making a list of exactly each type of paper that was coming into my house, then creating a solution for each one.

types of paper

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Craving Creativity?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Another email from a reader landed in my inbox on a subject I think we all feel from time to time. 

Hey Kate, I’ve been in a slump lately, feeling overwhelmed and not at my creative best.  Wondering do you ever feel this way?  Where do you go to get inspired?  ~ Shannon

Hey Shannon, yep I go through those ‘dry spells’ too, usually when I’m tired, stretched too thin, and pulled in too many directions.  We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images and information, where distraction is inevitable and focus becomes difficult.  Also, we all have responsibilities that can keep us from a few hours of creative time.  Everyone goes through creative slumps, but no worries.  I have a few tricks I use to get inspired, then it’s always back to the drawing board. 

Here are a few of my favorite ways to kick start creativity again: 

Visit Etsy and/or Big Cartel.  I am always amazed at the skills of the artisans in these two forums for handmade goods.  An afternoon spent browsing the designs on Etsy or Big Cartel is sure to inspire you, and also introduce you to a few designers that will quickly become favorites.  

etsy faves

Clay flowers by St Jude Creations; Love Birds by Vintage Green Limited; Cake Stands by High Tea for Alice.

Pinterest.   Are you a Pinhead?  I am!  Last year, I heard about this site through a few blogs, so I sent my request for an invitation.   Months went by and I hadn’t heard from them, and I was completely bitter that my request for an ‘invitation’ wasn’t accepted, and I began to feel inadequate.  What’s wrong, why not me?  Then I did a search of my inbox.  Hello?  It was sitting right there. 

Pinterest is an image driven virtual pinboard where you can mix and mingle with like minded peeps by following them, and also ‘pin’ your favorite ideas.  There are a lot of sites out there that can be time sucks, but this one happens to be a favorite place of mine to spend 5 or 10 minutes a day.  Someday, I’ll figure out a way to catalog my favorites on my own site, but for now, Pinterest is the place to be!  

pinterest picks

 

Read the rest of this entry »