How To Organize Your Project Life Cards (and actually use 'em)


Since discovering Project Life last 2013 and starting the project last year, I have majorly scaled back on my Project Life supplies. With a limited real estate - for context, I share a room with my two sisters and I only have one shelving unit to myself - I had to be extremely discerning about the items I'm accumulating. I won't lie, I definitely had a hoarding phase wherein I bought more than I could use just because I had to have 'em. (Raise those hands if you can relate!) As my Hoarding Pile grew, it became harder and harder for me to actually work on my Project Life spread. I couldn't find anything that I needed at the time and it would take hours just to find something and then clean up the mess afterwards. I was spending thousands of pesos on products that I weren't even using and weren't bringing me joy.

Yesterday (Yes, after doing yoga for the first time! The endorphin high really made me productive.), I sat myself down and got to business. My mission? To purge my current Project Life card stash and organize them in a way where I actually use 'em up.


Status Quo

How To Organize Your Project Life Cards (and actually use 'em) | Organized! by Pam

This IKEA Antonius organizer* contains all of my Project Life cards, except for the Elle's Studio ones which I have on a separate tray since I do Creative Team layouts from it. Most of the cards in this tray are from the Project Life Midnight Edition*, Studio Calico kits and RAKs (random act of kindness). It's looking pretty organized at this point but I believe it needs a bit more polishing. I used to organize by collection so the Midnight Edition cards are on the left compartment while the Studio Calico cards were organized by kits. This worked well from me when I was doing Project Life chronologically (last year) since I would use June cards for June layouts, for example.

Now that I do Project Life more sporadically, adjusting to the fact that I have a full-time job, it's time to recalibrate my Project Life cards organization system.

Step 1 // Start Fresh

How To Organize Your Project Life Cards (and actually use 'em) | Organized! by Pam

Gather all your Project Life cards for a one-time-big-time, no-holds-barred purging session. If your cards have been living in chaos for quite some time now, it's likely that a couple (or a pile) of cards aren't to your liking anymore. You might have also neglected cards that you were really excited about before and ended up hoarding them instead of using them in a layout. This is a great time to revisit each and every card.

Actionable Task #1  Create distinct piles for your cards: LOVE IT or GIVE IT UP.

Step 2 // Inspect Your Project Life Workflow

The next time you sit down to create layout, take note of your own tendencies and habits. Do you reach for a certain color when picking our your cards? Or are you looking for a specific layout on a card to complement your photos? The most effective way of organizing Project Life cards is to tailor the system around your workflow. This way, the organization system is already embedded into your subconscious and it becomes easy to integrate it into your workflow. How many times have you organized something and then completely forgot where everything was? This actually applies to a lot of things as well. If you've downloaded my opt-in e-book E-mail Sanity, I gave the same tip on creating a labeling system for your e-mails. (You can totally download the e-book by signing up on my newsletter here! *shameless plug*)

Actionable Task #2  Take down some notes on your Project Life card selection process the next time you create a layout. Extract a system from your findings.

As for me, I pick cards for their specific layout or purpose. For example, I might need a patterned card as a background for my photo or a journaling card with space to add in a title.  So, I organize my cards according to that:

How To Organize Your Project Life Cards (and actually use 'em) | Organized! by Pam

Some notes:

  • I highly recommend that your create a Time-Based Category for your Project Life cards. This category for cards that are time-sensitive such as calendars, cards with the year on 'em, etc. This way, you are reminded that there are certain cards that must be used at a certain time. For added organization, you can sort it chronologically so that the first card in the pile shows you the "earliest" time. (For example, the card on front will have the year 2014 while the one behind it has the year 2015.)
  • I also lumped my 4x6" cards together since I don't really have a lot - just a few paper pads from Studio Calico and kit leftovers.
  • I also (very loosely) picked a couple of cards from the Midnight Edition that I will include into the system. The rest will be "refills" for when I used up the initial cards I picked.

 Step 3 // Pick a storage system that can house all your cards and see them all at once.

Out of sight, out of mind. If you have endless drawers of Project Life cards gathering dust, trust me, you are not using your cards enough to justify getting more. It such a waste to have all these pretty cards forgotten in the midst of the surplus.

Let me issue you a challenge  Pick a single organizer + minimize your Project Life cards to what can fit into that organizer.

If the cards don't fit anymore, the solution is not to buy another organizer but rather to actually use your cards or let someone else use 'em. Let's create a cycle of creation, shall we?

 Step 4 // Create a simple labeling system to find cards quickly.

How To Organize Your Project Life Cards (and actually use 'em) | Organized! by Pam

Based on the organization system that you extracted from Step 2, create your labels. It doesn't have to be fancy at all - Post-It notes are totally fine! The point is to do this in the simplest way possible so that down the road, when you need to add more labels, it's easy for you to do so.

Actionable Task #3  Create your labels based on your workflow (Step 2) and fit it into your organizer (Step 3).

As for me, I used a couple of leftover colored cardstock and cut-out 3x4" cards with my EK Tools mini paper trimmer* and some label tabs with a WRMK puncher*.

 The Final Product!

How To Organize Your Project Life Cards (and actually use 'em) | Organized! by Pam



Over to you Project Lifer! Share your own system in the comments below, I love discovering new ways of organizing things :)


* These are Amazon affiliate links. As always, I only promote products that I have personally used and loved.