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Crafting With OCOD

Crafting with OCOD
By: Lisa Minckler, Artistic Guide 


Hello to all you wonderful readers of Stamper’s Quest.  I am one of  the “newbies” of the group and this is my first blog article since joining.  I’m delighted to be part of this experience and I hope that what I’m sharing with you today can be put to good use.

As you know, the Watering Hole is where we, the artistic guides, get to or hope to inspire the readers.  It’s been a little unnerving, at least speaking for myself, to come up with a topic that has, as of yet, not been discussed.  So, after days of listening to the monkey banging symbols in my brain, I decided that I would share with you my own personal nemesis.

Not only do I hope to share some creativity, understanding and inspiration to you, but I also hope to gain some of your perspectives and tips on the subject.

I’ll begin by saying, I have not “officially” been categorized as having OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; however, it’s clear to me that I craft much better if my supplies  are always organized.    Quick example, the phrase, OCD, is NOT in the correct alphabetical order and if I were to be diagnosed with said disorder, they would need to call it CDO!   See what I mean? It’s a personal obsession of mine.  Therefore, I’m pretty certain that I do have a bit of this trait.

As with any recovery program, the usual group introduction would go something like this, “Hi, my name is Lisa and I suffer from obsessive compulsive organizational disorder, OCOD.

Now what does this mean as a crafter? It means I can spend more time organizing the supplies than actually working on a project.

I know I’m not alone here.  I have, with relief and sadness, met many people who have variations of the same condition, even within the crafting community.

I do strongly believe that crafting is calming and therapeutic and most assuredly, that is a great step in the right direction for anyone to learn to gain control of their life and not be dominated by these compulsions.

So, what are some tips that I have learned to help myself become organized but less inclined to put all my ducks in a row, all the time, and therefore more time efficient when it comes to crafts that have a deadline or a holiday that is looming around the corner?

Step 1 – Accept that this is part of me and learn to manage it.

Step 2 – Create a crafting environment that works just for me.

Step 3 – Organize my supplies in a creative way that “calms” the eye.

Step 4 – Use a calendar, type up a crafting schedule, and plan ahead.

Step 5 – Get exercise.    Not only is it good for me, but nature itself is so inspiring.

Here’s what I did…

Step 1 has been obvious to me for years because I was always in trouble with teachers due to deadlines and not being able to meet them.   Always thinking about the project rather than doing it.  For me, I have to be able to mentally “see” the final project in order to complete it.  Otherwise, I will be completely overloaded with supplies on my desk and have no direction.  Once I can visualize the outcome, I’m off and running.  This is how I’ve accomplished step 1…I’ve learned that this is how my brain and my body work best and I can accomplish a task with greater ease if allowed to work this way.  Over time though, I have managed to put myself to a time limit and try not to exceed this so I’m not always just thinking, but doing.

Step 2, creating the environment wasn’t easy for me at first.   My dear hubby has always wanted me to have my very own crafting room, but quite honestly, I felt “disconnected” from the rest of the family.  I found that having my craft area within the living room worked best.  I love to hear and see my family and they are a constant inspiration.  I am at peace with the sound of laughter and the hustle and bustle of teenagers and the never ending episodes of anything to do with automobiles on the TV (usually).   Finding your niche is important, and this is where I’ve learned mine is.

Step 3, organizing in a way that calms.  I’ve tried having my supplies directly near me, but I honestly felt claustrophobic.  I have learned that I need open spaces and a “flow” to my madness.  I have my craft area organized where some of the mandatory supplies are near me, but for the most part, I have to get up and walk across the room to the others.  I’ve even stashed supplies in a closet around the corner.  Too much exposure of “elements” is a sensory overload and so it helps to keep them nearby but out of sight.

The first picture is an old dresser that I found at a flea market and painted it up to match the living room décor.   This is what I use for my necessary, always needed supplies.  The cabinet at the bottom  is what I place across the room and it stores all my knickknacks and other supplies.  By placing like items in containers that are fun to look at, I’ve created a calm and creative atmosphere that works just for me.  Also, by purchasing items at thrift shops, antique malls and flea markets you can save quite a bit of money.  The base of the cabinet on the right, I found in a trash pile.   It was old, beat up and white.  Just by applying some elbow grease, sandpaper and a few coats of paint, I now have a great little cubby that fits the room and helps organize and it only cost me $10.00.

I’ve also organized like items in a fun and unique way that have personal meaning to me.  I found that I love using sentimental items for storage.   For me, it personalizes and that familiarity helps the creative thinking process.

This is an old flower planter that was sitting in the garage.  I found it to be more useful as a holder than a place for stunted plants.  A green-thumb I am not.

This basket was a Christmas gift from several years back that originally had bathroom “foo foo” in it.  I felt it was better served as storage for my loose stamps.

Found these drawers at an antique store and they matched the colors of my cabinet.  They were only $2.00 each and very original.

These containers were actually from flowers that my husband gave me.  Even though the flowers died, I continue to enjoy the memory of them by using the vases for silk flowers and ribbon scraps.

Our old flour, sugar and coffee canisters that I now use for holding even more loose stamps.

This is probably the oldest item I have of all the things I use to organize.  It was originally my cassette holder in college….umpteen years ago.  I’ve converted it over to an ink pad holder and it works perfect!

Step 4, is not a new invention, but rather a great guide for getting oneself motivated and inspired.  I would not recommend using your daily calendar as that is too much “input” for one little box.  I use a dry erase board and jot down the projects or holidays that are due and this helps keep me organized and on top of things.

As for typing out a daily schedule, that may sound like a bit too much, but it’s refreshing for me to see a schedule, check the day and see what blogs, challenges, online resources, online magazines, technique forums I have planned to visit.  This makes my time more efficient just knowing that it’s there and already organized.

And lastly, step 5…exercise!  I don’t claim to be a marathon runner or a candidate for the upcoming Olympics, but I do believe in the power of movement.  I feel that even if it’s a ten minute walk down a nature trail or a trek to the mailbox or a quick jaunt around the neighborhood, it’s good for the mind, body and soul.  The relaxation and inspirational benefits can really help the total outcome of a crafter’s project.  Even if it means stepping away from a project, right in the middle of it, to go and gain a new perspective.

However we start a craft project, or the process that we go through to get it to completion, is always individual and unique.  But in the end, we all share a common link…our love of art and our desire to express ourselves to other human beings.   No matter our “quirks” or our so called disorders; loving who you are and loving what you do and the joy of bonding with others who share the same passion is what this community is all about and it all starts in a place that should be comforting and uniquely you.

It’s truly been a pleasure spending this time with you and revealing an aspect of myself.  I so look forward to getting to know you all better via our love of crafting and I would really like hearing how you make your crafting experience uniquely yours.

May the forces of creativity and endless supplies be at your fingertips…


Lisa Minckler

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11 Responses »

  1. First of all, what a wonderful contribution to this site! I have found that as much as we crafters enjoy what we do, we all tend to be incredibly critical of ourselves. My greatest struggle is getting rid of things I'm no longer using! I don't think I have ever been accused of being too organized... I love your advice to find what works for you and stick with it! Fabulous article!!

  2. Morning Marie, 🙂
    Thanks so much for your comment. LOL...no, I've never made home visits, but now that you brought it up...Hahahaha. Could be a business opportunity looming in the distance.
    Lisa xx

  3. Hi Cindy,
    I loved your comment. There are always 2 sides to every coin and yes, you are right, it takes just as much time looking as it does organizing. LOL
    That's exactly what the article was about, making your craft room work for you. I would never "judge" someone for their organization skills. I know creativity works differently for everyone. My BFF is the total opposite from me and when we get together it's a blast! The outcome is always the same, great times, good laughs and wonderful cards.
    Thanks again for the comment and I wish you happy stamping...
    Lisa xx

  4. Hi Ellen,
    Oh boy, the holiday seasons are quickly approaching and I wish you the best for getting yourself organized. I love stamping for the holidays. 🙂
    Thanks so much for the comment and happy stamping to you!
    Lisa xx

  5. Hi Edna,
    You are absolutely correct...it IS more fun to work on cards! I love what you said, "Whatever works for you" you nailed it on the head there. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment. Have a great one and happy stamping!
    Lisa xx

  6. Hi Sandy,
    Thanks so much for the kind comment. It's nice to know that I'm not alone either. LOL 😀 I wish you great mojo and happy stamping!

  7. Wonderful post Lisa! thank you for all the wonderful tips! Do you make home visits? LOL! I could use your organization. I love how you found a use for your beautiful containers!

  8. I can not relate LOL I am so unorganized I can't find me! I enjoy my time crafting and have great therapy sessions. I suppose looking for stuff takes the same time as always organizing. But I really would not know. I have excepted my faults and so have my good friends. People who I do not know me well and happen into my happy mess are very judgmental. I am sure the really organized persons get judgement for being toneat. So what the heck be the best at whatever you are and let others be theirs. Just create and be happy, grateful and blessed because some persons do not have food or shelter let alone a messy hobby desk.

  9. Great information and insight. I plan to get my craft room holiday ready this week. This motivation will come in handy.

  10. Although it's great to be organized, which I am to some point, it's more fun to work on cards. And sometimes hunt for the supply you want to use. Whatever works for you is the way to go. Edna

  11. Nice article. I'm sure glad I'm not the only one that spends more time organizing than stamping. It seems I'm always reorganizing to get my flow better so I can stamp more, but it seems to be my nemesis. Thanks for your suggestions.