Tools of the Trade: Staying Organized

Tips & TricksElizabeth Ramos

As you expand your craft business, find new inspiration, and make new connections, it's very easy to get bogged down in one particular area--how to organize everything. This happens to everyone, so we wanted to share with you some online (and free!) programs we've used to keep all of the craziness that comes with running a craft fair in check. They're all so easy to set up, online support is easy to access, and they can be accessed from multiple devices.

Dropbox allows you to store and share files online. This is particularly helpful if you have large files that need to be transferred and reviewed by multiple people. File sharing is extremely easy to set up, and you won't have to chase down emails to find the right files. We've used it to send artwork to vendors and other collaborators.

Pinterest. We've mentioned this before, but Pinterest is the best way we've found to keep all of our visual inspiration in one place. As you browse the internet and come across things you like, you simply "pin" them to your personal boards, and they'll link you back to your original source. This is an awesome way to catalogue DIY projects, tutorials, and all of the random things you love. Pinterest was our means for keeping an inspiration board for Indie Craft Parade 2011. And other people used it for making wishlists of things to buy at the event. Check out the Indie Craft Parade Pinterest Board to see what we find inspiring.

Google Docs might be our favorite collaborative tool. Last year we used an online project management software that worked well, but Google Docs has proven to be even more convenient. We've used it for sharing documents with each other internally as well as surveying our vendors after the show. It's a super handy and free way to keep everyone organized and on the same page.

Evernote is like the ultimate to-do list. If you need to access both visual and written information, this might be perfect for you. Not only can you keep your online picture clippings together, you can also record to do lists or plan meetings and trips. Also Evernote has a keyword search function that makes it easy to find everything you've squirreled away.

This is just a short list of websites we like. We'd love to hear your thoughts on these or have you recommend what's been helpful for you!