Hi everyone! It’s Linda and I’m back again for another fun Plan & Play December Daily post to help get you prepared for your project. Last week we looked back on our previous projects and older supplies. If you haven’t yet seen that post, you can find it here. Today, we are going to talk about getting your supplies and ideas prepped for this year’s project!
Last week we spent some time going through our older supplies and making room for the new ones. Today I am going to share how I am organizing all of the supplies I am going to be pulling from this year.
In this first video, I go through the process of organizing most of my supplies for this year. As a note, while I am organizing, I put the video on 4x speed and am playing music, but I do jump back in at the end the talk you through how everything is organized, so feel free to skip to that portion if you only want to see the final result.
One of my favorite parts of organizing my supplies, is finding all the cute little containers to keep them in! But, more important than being cute, your containers need to be functional.
(01) Open or enclosed? For me, I like my containers being open so I can see all of the supplies out on my desk, and this works in my current season of life. However, this is not functional for a lot of people. If you have small children or pets that might get into your products, you might want to consider enclosed containers.
(02) Stationary or moveable? I like having my supplies out on my desk for the entire month of December because I primarily work on December Daily at that time. However, if you are planning on working on other projects during the month of December or do you reuse your craft space for other things, this might not make sense. If so, you might need your supplies to be moveable. I have seen people put their supplies on a rolling cart which is a great solution if you need them easily moved out of the way.
(03) Lots or a little? I like having containers with lots of little trays to hold different things, but you can see that I mix & match different supplies in the same section. This is because I like similar things grouped together. If you prefer to have everything separate, you might want to consider containers with more sections.
Another thing to keep in mind with containers is that you don't need to go out and buy anything! Many of my containers are reused packaging or things I have picked up throughout the years, often repurposed from other projects. My star tray was from the dollar spot at target. My tree tray I got on clearance one year after the holidays. As much as I love organizers, I focus my budget on supplies, and these are just extra.
Organizing embellishments is one of the hardest, but most fun, parts of supply organization. That’s because there are just so many cute pieces! The most important thing to keep in mind when organizing your embellishments is how will you use them?
(01) Shape or color or style. You should organize your embellishments based on how you design a page. Meaning, what do you look for when grouping embellishments on a project? I tend to focus on shapes. If you saw in my post last week, one of the things I love to do in my album is use a repeated shape across a spread. So, I have grouped all stars together in one container. However, if you think based on color, I would suggest grouping all gold embellishments together instead. Alternatively, if you like to keep things with similarly styled products, I would suggest keeping an entire set of products together rather than splitting them up.
(02) Non-December Products. Do you want to pull out supplies that are not December Daily themed to include with your stash? Maybe you have some gold alpha stickers or decorative washi tape that would work nicely with your album. Consider whether or not you want to pull these items out of your regular product organization to include with your December Daily products for the season.
I don’t plan to do this, but I would suggest it if you would otherwise forget to look for those supplies when working on a page.
(03) Decision Fatigue. Decision fatigue is a real thing and it hits a lot of scrapbookers. This is the concept that after making many decisions, your ability to focus and make more decisions becomes worse and slower.
In the context of scrapbooking, this means that if you have too many supplies to choose from, you’re going to spend all your crafty time trying to decide which supplies to use and lose out on valuable crafting time. To avoid running into this issue, it’s important to know yourself and know how many options are too many for you. It might make sense for you to limit the amount of supplies you have to work with on this project or use foundation pages or something similar to help you through the project. (More on foundation pages coming next week!)
Not everyone uses numbers for this project, but a lot of people do, including me! I have tried out a few systems for organizing numbers over the years and have found that my current system works best. I walk you through it in the video below.
Basically, my number organization system consists of envelopes for each number and I stash every style of that number that I have inside the envelope. When I’m creating, if I’m looking for a number 4, all I have to do is pull out my 4 envelope and I have all of my options available.
Organizing: Stories & Ideas
Both before December (starting now!) and through the project, it is important to have a system in place to organize your stories and ideas so that they are available when you are ready to put your project together. The past few years I have been really successful by using a printable calendar for this purpose. Today I have a free download available (at the bottom of this post) where you can print your own version of my 2023 calendar. I have made it available in a variety of sizes + both Sunday and Monday start.
The 2022 calendar pictured above was the one I used last year and is available for download in the 2022 prep party classroom. I am using the 8 1/2 x 11 version of the 2023 calendar and it will live on my desk with my supplies during the month of December.
This calendar is not intended to be pretty, it’s intended to be a place to jot down your ideas and plans! That said, if you want to print one of the 6x8 or 10x8 calendars to use in your album, I think it would work nicely for that as well.
How I use the Calendar
I fill in my calendar prior to December and then use it throughout the month and until I am done with my project.
(01) Specific Events. In the calendar section, I will write in specific events that I know are going to occur on specific days in the month. These might be events that will be the story for the day, or they might not, but they are specific events that I know are going to happen. Since it is now early September, I don’t have a ton of specific events written in yet, but I will add to it as we get closer to September.
(02) Story ideas. If I have stories in mind that I want to tell, but am unsure which day they will fall on, I write them in on the bulleted lines. Once I have a specific day in mind, I will write that number in the box next to the story.
(03) Design ideas. I will add notes for design ideas to the boxes or the margins, depending on when they come to me.
(04) Checking off progress. And, as a planner, one of my favorite things is checking off completed tasks! When I finish a page or a story I will highlight it to show that it is completed. The photo below are my last two years worth of completed calendars.
Other Ways to Collect Ideas
(01) Instagram. Instagram is a great place for inspiration! I save projects that I love by clicking the little save icon and then have a folder created for December Daily specific inspiration. When I am wanting some page inspiration while creating my album, going to that saved folder is my first spot to look.
(02) Pinterest. Pinterest is still a great place to collect ideas. Especially if you’re finding a ton of ideas here on the blog or elsewhere on the internet, it’s a great place to start a December Daily inspiration board. A note about Pinterest: Everything you pin becomes public, unless your Pinterest board is private. So, if you’re pinning projects from paid classes, I would suggest making your board private so that you are not sharing that paid content. For this reason, my December Daily pinterest board is private.
(03) Notebook. I shared in my live on instagram last week (you can find it saved to the @decemberdaily account!) that I like to jot down ideas for all my craft projects in a notebook. For the last few years, I have been using a B5 notebook from Archer & Olive, and that notebook holds project sketches for past December Daily as well as many other projects. For the upcoming year, I am going to be moving into a Hobonichi Day Free for my project sketches and I am going to start using it for December Daily project sketches/ideas for this year.
The final thing I want to share with you today is my plan for collecting stories & photos during the month of December. December is a busy time for most of us and, even if we have the best intentions to create this project daily, that doesn’t always happen. That’s okay!
But, what you need to prioritize, are collecting your words + photos + ephemera. You should enter the month with a plan to collect these things so that, no matter how much of your album you finish, you’ll have these things available when you’re ready to create.
(01) Photos. In my opinion, collecting photos is my top priority. That’s because you can’t recreate (mostly!) photos from the month and photos are such a huge part of this project. The saying is also true, a photo is worth 1000 words, because just a photo can tell such a story.
Some tips to make sure you capture/organize your photos this December:
- Use your phone camera. Phone cameras have gotten to be such great quality, there is no reason to not use them! While DSLR and other cameras are great, phones are perfect for this project because they are always on you + they record metadata. Metadata are additional details your phone stores whenever you take a photo that will help you document later, such as the location, date, and time. The photo below is one I took last week when traveling on my iPhone. On an iPhone you can swipe up to see additional the metadata.
- Edit your photos as you go. This one isn’t for everyone, but this works really well for me. I like to take some time each evening during December (and also during other projects like Week in the Life) to scroll through my photos, delete bad ones/duplicates, and edit the ones I am keeping. I can do all of this on my phone while lounging on the couch in the evening, which makes it super approachable, and helps so much when i’m ready to put my album together.
- Create a list of photos you want to take. In addition to writing down story ideas, you might want to create a list in advance of specific photos you want to make sure to take. Then, when you have a quiet morning in December, check in with your list. What do you have? What do you still need to capture?
(02) Words. As a close second to photos, you need to collect your written stories during the month of December. As much as you think you’ll remember the details, I find myself forgetting things just a few days later! Have a plan to capture your words as you go through the month, even if you don’t get anything in your album.
- Keep a digital journal. In past years, I have used the Day One app to document my stories for the day. I actually used to use this app daily to document stories for project life throughout the year, but it worked well for December Daily. If you can type it on your phone or iPad, that’s a bonus. Anything where you can set aside a few minutes a day to jot down notes.
- Keep a physical journal. Whether you carry around a small notebook or just a pad of sticky notes, having a place where you can jot down notes during the day or at the end of each day is the goal.
- Rely on your planner or social media. If you worry that you won’t make time to jot things down in a specific place, or you just don’t have the time, that’s okay. You can use other methods that you are already doing to collect your stories throughout the month. Maybe jot a few extra details on your regular planner or write a bit more in a caption to a photo on instagram. You can always go back to refer to these when putting together your album.
(03) Ephemera. Finally, you can collect ephemera during the month. I have not always done this in my December Daily album, but on the years that I did I really loved how it came out. That said, if you are worried you’re going to get overwhelmed or fall behind, this is a step that is totally fine to skip. To collect ephemera, you might want to leave out a tray or zipper pouch to slip things into as you live life during the month. All the collected ephemera from the month can make one story, or you can work it into multiple stories during the month.
Download the full calendar set here.
I hope this post inspires you to get your products and ideas organized for this project!
You can find me on instagram & youtube @lindalovescreating. I will also be over on the @decemberdaily instagram account LIVE tonight, September 11, at 7 PM EST to answer your questions and chat about the things we talked about in today’s post. Hope to see you there!