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Keeping Creative Clutter Under Control
Lisa Cahoon, Virtual Advantage New Media & Marketing 


 I  was introduced to the concept of "stash" at a very young age and have practiced it all my life since. My mother kept a button tin, and a scrap bag and a few other glorious sources of un-ending delight for a four-year old. I was constantly on the search for treasure: a scrap of blue velvet, a pearl button, or a lovely bit of lace that I then added to my careful (although clumsy) creations!

As a result, searching through boxes, tins and bags became second nature to me, and as I grew older and developed my own stash, which also grew older, and GREW along with me, I spent more and more time searching, and less and less time crafting. 

Soon my clutter controlled me and not the other way around. Clear Rubbermaid containers (and other clones) have helped me develop a stash "system" in the past few years that have kept my clutter under control. Moving several times in the past few years has helped too, as each time I've been forced to clean up, clear out and reorganize. 

Naturally, I was very pleased to hear that crafting clutter has become, yes… COMPUTERIZED! Apparently I am not alone in my creative confusion and enterprising software companies are taking advantage of that fact. Here's just a few of the software programs out there I've found to help control creative clutter. Since crafters are often "collectors" as well, I've included a couple of programs here designed for keeping track of collectibles, and even ideas and tips in these days of information overload! I haven't tested them all, but several have free trial downloads online, and a few are even free.

Product and Project Organizers

Organized Expressions™ - A Notebook and Diary by LNS Software Solutions
Organized ExpressionsTM is available in different versions for Rubber Stampers, People Who Sew, Needleworkers, Knitters and Crocheters and All Quilters. The program has an easy-to-use, fill-in the blanks interface and is set up to inventory all your related products, as well as classes, events, unfinished projects, charts, patterns, books and magazines by category. Catalogue your personal inventory by type, cost, manufacturer, design features and colours, quantity in stock, location (VERY important!) and more. A diary section allows you to record your finished projects and each version contains product and manufacturer information that relates to your chosen hobby. I LOVE this feature! For example, the Needleworker's version contains a complete listing of threads, ribbons, beads and fibres from over 25 companies and many thread conversions are listed. Not only can you see what you have - you can see what you don't have.

Artistic Stampers Data Base or Decorative Painter Data Base - Simp-List Software
Module-based database programs for stampers or decorative painters to track their books, magazines, paints, students, pattern packets, projects, consignments, business expenses and more. Each module is purchased separately so you can customize the program to your needs. A free trial download is available online.

Miscellaneous "Organizing" Software for Crafters and Collectors

Art and Craft Organizer by Faben, Inc.
For the professional crafter who wants to keep track of all their original work and limited edition pieces, sales, customers, shows and expenses.

Free Downloads

Look on this free download web page for KeepHere, KeepMany and WhatCooks. This freeware was designed with the "information collector" in mind. Manage all your notes, tips and ideas. KeepHere is designed for one list, KeepMany can be set up for up to six lists and WhatCooks is a recipe database. (We all have recipes!)

Get organized: computer programs help to catalogue your craft supplies.

Lisa Cahoon is an Internet marketing and web-site design consultant based in Mission, B.C. Her business, Virtual Advantage New Media & Marketing, Inc., designs and develops independent web sites.

Lisa also publishes GetCreativeShow.com, www.GetCreativeShow.com

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