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Scrapbooking Ergonomics: Scrapspace Organization to Save Your Neck

 As the winter progresses, Here at City Centre Chiropractic we notice people tend to spend more time doing indoor activities. When surfing the internet, we came across a rather interesting piece of trivia: in the US, scrapbooking has surpassed golf in popularity as 1 in 5 households has a golfer while 1 in 4 has a scrapbooker. So We have decided an article on the ergonomics for scrapbooking would be beneficial to all those 1 in 4 scrapbookers.

Scrapbooking Ergonomics: Scrapspace Organization to Save Your Neck

You've discovered scrapbooking and $500 later, with supplies in hand, you set up at your kitchen table to attack last year's vacation photos. You cut, paste, stamp, and paint until you feel a pain creeping up your lower back and settling between your shoulder blades. You realize that three hours have flown by and you haven't budged from your kitchen chair. The sun has set and the dim light overhead casts shadows on your workspace. You rub your eyes, wondering if you've waited too long to change out your daily contacts. You look around at your mess:


Crate Paper's spring line falling off nearby chairs; Hero Arts stamps and ink pads hovering precariously near the far left edge of your 6-foot-wide table; Sakura pens

scattered among the carcasses of unwanted scraps of paper and ribbon. You still feel that twinge of pain in your neck, but you've proudly finished your first 12" x 12" page!

Wait a minute, you say. Let's be realistic. -- who really has time to scrap uninterrupted for three hours straight? Not many of us. But the next time you do sit down to scrap for even 30 minutes, think of this: organizing your workspace can save you more than just time and aggravation. It can save your neck (and back, and eyes, and shoulders). When organizing your workspace, go beyond the aesthetics of color coding your paper or wrapping your ribbon in canning jars. Analyze the ergonomics of your workspace and how it fits you. Consider the following points:

1. Your work surface: Whether it's the living room coffee table or a desk with all the trimmings, the work surface should be no higher than your waist when you are sitting. Your hands should comfortably rest on the surface with your elbows bent at 90 degrees or slightly lower. Any higher and you're at risk of shoulder injuries, carpel tunnel syndrome, or neck strain.

2. Your chair: Can you rest your feet on the floor or do they dangle in the air? Your feet should rest comfortably on a surface, be it the floor or a small step or the rungs of a high stool. Your knees should be level with your hips; any higher and you will slouch, leading to low back pain. If your knees are significantly lower than your hips and your feet aren't resting on anything, the weight of your legs will pull your back into an arch, also leading to low back pain. Are you sitting on the floor? If you have tight hamstrings, you are more likely to sit slouched, putting more stress on your back.

3. Your supplies: Where are the supplies you use most often? They should be kept within arm's reach (without having to lean too far in any direction). Heavy items, such as large punches, should be kept at waist level and in front of you to minimize twisting. Lighter items that are used often, such as ribbon, stencils, and pens, should be no higher than shoulder height when you are sitting. Repetitive reaching overhead can lead to shoulder impingement or strains. Less-often-used items can be stored higher, but take time to stand to retrieve the items instead of reaching and twisting. Some items can be stored below waist level, but bend at your hips, not your back, to lift them. If you've bought out the local scrapbook store and can't find enough cubby holes to store your supplies in your desk, consider a sturdy rolling cart that can be positioned next to you (and be sure to turn your chair, not twist at your back, to access your supplies).

 4 Your lighting: If your lighting casts shadows on your workspace, then you should invest in a good task light. Depending on how long you keep the light on, find one that won't overheat. Set up your workspace near a window to make the most of natural light during the day.



Consider these tips the next time you sit down to design your masterpiece. And if you are one of the lucky ones who can scrap for hours at a time uninterrupted, remember to take a standing or sitting stretch break every 15 to 30 minutes. These are general guidelines. Play with your set-up until you find a system that works for you. If you have a particular condition that limits your movement, talk Murray or Ailsa.



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