Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Brads, Flowers, Chipboard, Buttons, Paper, Cardstock, Tools and the list goes on and on. Most scrappers have a huge stash of supplies. If you are like me, you buy supplies faster than you can use them up. So, how do you organize all of these items? How do you know what will work for you? I know if I do not have my supplies organized, I forget what I have, I cannot find what I want when I need it, and I get easily frustrated.

First Steps First

Before beginning to organize your supplies, there are a few things you should do first.

  1. Decide what you want to organize. Maybe you only need to organize your paper, or maybe it will be a complete room makeover.
  2. Research websites. Look for scrapbook rooms that show ideas of what you are trying to organize whether it is ribbons, papers, embellishments, etc. Save these ideas into your "favorites." There is a wealth of organizational information available on the web.
  3. Decide if you are going to have to purchase storage items. Measure your supplies first to make sure they will fit in your storage containers. Take a note with those measurements with you when you shop. A small tape measure in your purse can be handy too.
  4. Set aside time to organize. It might be something small and quick that you need to organize, or it may be a large project that will take several days. Be prepared to take the time you need. It will be worth it in the end.

Taking time to follow these steps will help you get ideas and find what will work for you. Let's look at just a few ideas.

Organizing Scrap Paper

Every scrapper has scraps of patterned paper and cardstock. What should you do with them? What size is okay to throw away? How do you organize them? I have a few things that I do with my scraps.

First, I purchased an expandable storage case. It has 14 expandable pockets which are perfect for organizing my scraps. I keep a 12" x 12" sheet protector in each pocket so that the small pieces do not slide underneath each section. This also helps me quickly pull out an entire section to look through without making a mess.

Next , I separated my scraps by color, and I also separated the cardstock from the patterned paper. Then each category is in alphabetical order. It is very simple and easy to find what I need when I want to use scraps.

I usually keep any scrap that is over an inch wide. I find that I use them for everything: cutting out die-cut alphabets and shapes, using strips of paper for accents on cards and layouts, matting photos, and using them for journaling strips. I also have a second expandable storage case where I put scraps I know I will not use. This is for the kids. They love that they have their own scraps and that they do not have to ask me to use them.

Organizing Small Embellishments

I personally use the Close to my Heart embellishment cases. These work beautifully for storing brads, eyelets, buttons, photo turns, safety pins, and all of my small embellishments. Each case holds 60 storage jars. Some people use tic-tac boxes and others use hardware storage drawers. All of these work well for storing small embellishments. Look at what you want to store, look at the various storage items available, and pick what will work for your needs.

Organizing Miscellaneous Embellishments

I had a pile of larger embellishments that I just did not know how to organize. I decided to purchase several of the 12" x 12" poly envelopes for storage. I organized these larger embellishments by color. Then I put each color grouping into its own envelope. I have them stored in color order in a basket on the floor. This has worked out perfectly for me. I am finally using up those embellishments that were lost in the dreaded pile.

Organizing Ribbons

Ribbon can be stored in so many ways, and you can find many examples in any website you visit. I store my ribbons in two different ways depending on the ribbon width. For ribbons that are ½" or thinner, I store them in the Cropper Hopper Embellishment Box. I can usually get up to four yards in each small box. I keep them in order by color so it is always easy to find what I am looking for. I also cut off a small piece of the original packing and store it in the box so I always know which manufacturer made the ribbon. For my wider ribbons, I put them on wooden clothespins and store them in mason jars. I have four mason jars for my larger ribbons, and they are stored in color order also.

I hope that you will be able to find solutions that will work best for you. The examples above are just a small sample of what works best for me. They keep my supplies protected from damage but they are also very easy to get to when I want to use them. I would love to see everyones organization and scrap space, so send me an email at

Organizing 101

Scrapbooking, for many people, is much more than a passing phase. It becomes a lifelong hobby. Not only are you able to artistically express yourself through a craft, but you're also doing something very important at the same time, preserving your family history. Since this hobby in particular becomes a part of everyday life, it makes sense to have a dedicated area in your home to devote to your craft.

While each individual's scrap space will vary in size, style, extravagance and frugality, everyone faces the same basic dilemma: How can I organize my workspace and store my scrapbooking supplies?

Within this guide, you'll find fantastic organization, storage and decorating ideas for creating a work area that fits your budget, space constrictions, and style. The tips and suggestions given by our writers and contributors will help you take control of your supplies and increase your productivity during the time you have to devote to scrapbooking.

Our guide includes information about:

  • Finding a Space
  • Organizing
  • Appling a Storage System
  • Decorating & Personalizing
  • Maintaining Your Space
  • Paper Storage
  • Embellishment Storage
  • Ribbon & Fiber Storage
  • Stamp Storage
  • Ink Pad Storage
  • Paint Storage
  • Template Storage
  • Adhesive Storage
  • Tool Storage
  • Pen & Pencil Storage
  • Sticker, Die Cuts and Rub-On Storage
  • Photograph Storage
  • Magazine & Idea Book Storage
  • Creating a Workspace


Scrapbooking, for many people, is much more than a passing phase. It becomes a lifelong hobby. Not only are you able to artistically express yourself through a craft, but you’re also doing something very important at the same time—preserving your family history. Since this hobby in particular becomes a part of everyday life, it makes sense to have a dedicated area in your home to devote to your craft.

While each individual’s scrap space will vary in size, style, extravagance and frugality, everyone faces the same basic dilemma: How can I organize my workspace and store my scrapbooking supplies?

Within this Scrap Spaces guide, you’ll find fantastic organization, storage and decorating ideas for creating a work area that fits your budget, space constrictions, and style. The tips and suggestions given by our writers and contributors will help you take control of your supplies and increase your productivity during the time you have to devote to scrapbooking.

Find a Space

The first step in creating a space of your own is to choose an area of your home that can be designated as your scrapbooking space. There are three categories of areas that your space may fall into: dedicated space, shared space, or portable space. While most crafters dream of a dedicated room with a fabulous view, custom-built storage, and all of the latest tools and supplies, only a lucky few are able to enjoy that type of space. Most have to share or “borrow” space from their home, and others still must tote their “space” to a local store or fellow scrapbooker’s house to have an appropriate workspace and environment. The good news is, you can do any of these easily with a little bit of creativity. Below are several options for finding room within your house to create your own scrap space:

Attic/Loft – An unused area of an attic or loft can be converted into a scrap space with a little bit of renovation. The angled ceilings are a fun architectural addition to the room, giving it some additional personality and flair. A nice reason to use a space like this is to be able to keep your workspace out of the natural traffic flow of the house, especially if you like to get away and retreat to your own world when you are creating.

Basement – Finished basements are used for all sorts of things such as playrooms, storage, laundry areas, and exercise rooms. Why not add your scrap space to a section of the basement? The amount of open space available is usually a great benefit to someone with a large quantity of supplies. However, if your basement floods or has any moisture problems, find permanent solutions to those problems before you decide to set up your space in the basement. Moisture will damage paper, photos and other supplies.

Bedroom – Bedrooms are a common solution for where to store scrapbook supplies and set up a workspace. Depending on your home and space availability you may have a bedroom completely converted to a scrap space, a shared guest bedroom, or even a corner of your own bedroom to use for your workspace. Some benefits of working in bedrooms include the natural light from windows, closet storage space, a door that can close off the room, and of course the typical comforts of home.

Closet – If you can’t steal an entire room from your house, or even a corner, consider taking over a closet. Choose from front hall closets, bedroom closets, a pantry, or even a linen closet. Some are even large enough to include a desk, workspace and storage, all with a door to close it off and keep it out of the way when you aren’t using it. If your closet isn’t large enough, look for portable storage ideas, so you can store your supplies out of sight, but easily take them out and transport them to your chosen workspace when you are using them.

Dinning Room – A storage armoire or buffet dresser is a great disguise for scrapbooking supplies hiding in a formal dining room. If your family doesn’t use a formal dining room, you can consider converting the whole room into your scrap space. Those that scrap in the dining room tend to enjoy being a part of the main traffic flow of the house and being involved with the rest of the family while they’re working. A downfall is that your space may be very visible to the rest of the house or even the entry into your house and will need to be kept neat and tidy most of the time, especially if you use your dining room table for meals.

Enclosed Porch –If your home has an enclosed porch or sunroom, it might make a fabulous scrap space retreat. Porches offer plenty of natural light, potentially a great view of the neighborhood, and the chance to designate an entire room to your supplies. Consider factors such as temperature control, lighting solutions, window coverings and moisture issues before designating this space as your work area.

Garage – With some thoughtful design and renovation, you can convert a portion of a garage into your scrap area. If the ceiling is high, consider adding a loft area. Particularly deep garages may have extra space at the back for a room to be built in. A two-and-a-half or three-car garage may leave an abundance of extra space that can be converted into a room. Since garages are often completely unfinished, this can incur some construction costs, but offer a designated space that is both convenient and private.

Home Office – If you already have a home office area designated in your house, simply expand your storage containers and options to include your scrapbooking area there as well. A computer, printer, and internet access available to you while you scrapbook will become some of your favorite scrapbooking tools.

Kitchen – Some have even found a little nook in their kitchen to be a great place to store their supplies and work on scrapbooking projects. An eating nook, breakfast bar with cabinet storage, or even a pantry off the side of the room are all options if you’re strapped for space in other areas of the house. Use your kitchen table as your workspace and store supplies in cabinets, drawers and other containers that can be closed up when you aren’t using them and they’ll be protected from any kitchen spills.

Laundry Room – If your house has a laundry room with only a washer and dryer in it, why not use the extra space for your workspace? Closets, shelving and storage space can be divided between scrapbooking and laundry supplies. Build your workspace into the middle of a shelving system, so your supplies are all around you while you work. You can even use the top of the washer and dryer as a workspace for your cutting mat and paper trimmer.

Living Room/Den – If you like to watch TV, hang out with your family, or watch your kids play while you scrapbook, a section of a living room or den area is another great place to locate your space. You can separate your space from the living space with shelving, a couch or even a folding screen if you’d like to be off-limits to the rest of the family while you work.

As you can see, it’s possible to convert nearly any space in your house into a scrapbooking workspace. Just a little bit of reorganization, rearranging and renovation and you’ll be on your way to a scrapbooking space of your own.


As you read through the tips and suggestions for storing the various types of scrapbooking supplies, you’ll find one common theme throughout them all: organize. If you know what you have and how to find it, then you’ll be able to use it. Each lesson in this guide gives specific ideas for how to best organize and categorize supplies. Here are some basic tips to remember as you organize your supplies to fit them into your space.

Sort and CategorizeFirst separate your supplies into types. Our lessons will cover how to store all of the following items, so begin by separating them into these basic categories.

  • Adhesives
  • Embellishments
  • Ink
  • Magazines & Idea Books
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Photographs
  • Ribbon & Fibers
  • Stamps
  • Stickers, Die Cuts & Rub-Ons
  • Templates
  • Tools

As you read through each lesson, you can further sort each type of supply based on your own needs.

Assemble – If you have tools or supplies that need to be assembled such as stamps or dies for a die-cutting machine, take some time to put them together and get them ready for use. If they aren’t ready, you’re not likely to use them while you’re working on a layout.

Unwrap - Packaging takes up a lot of extra space. To condense your supplies to fit a small space, remove products from their packaging. Be sure to save any instructions you might need. If it is important for you to know who made the products (you may need to re-stock eventually) label the back of the products with the manufacturer name.

Label – While you’re labeling, use a permanent marker or labeling stickers to mark your tools with your initials or some sort of personalized indicator. If you travel to crops, loan out your tools, or scrapbook with other people, you’ll want to be sure you (and they) know which tools are yours. Since many people have the same brand and types of tools, this is important.

Discard, Recycle, Donate or Sell – As you sort through your supplies, you’re bound to find products and tools that you know you won’t use, damaged or bent items, or even duplicate materials. Anything that is not salvageable can be tossed in the trash or recycled. Create a donate and/or sell pile for any materials that are still useable. You can donate them to schools, new scrapbookers, or give them to your children to play with. Items with more value can be often sold via eBay, scrapbooking web sites, or local crops.

Apply a Storage System

Once you’ve read through all of the tips and options for storing each type of supply, you’ll need to make decisions about the types of storage containers you’ll need to buy, make or find. You have several storage elements to consider such as furniture, shelving, cabinets, closets, drawers, boxes, bins, baskets, and lighting. As you read through each lesson and look at the examples, make notes of the solutions that interest you and see how they can be implemented in your space.

Devise a Plan - It is helpful to plan out your space before you start buying containers. Even though nearly all of the supplies can be put into a storage system that resides right on your desk, you’ll quickly run out of workspace if you try to have everything right at your fingertips. Mix and match the ideas for storage based on the way you scrapbook and your space limitations. Choose storage systems for each type of supply that will complement the storage you’ve chosen for other supplies. Stacking bins, matching baskets, or a dresser full of drawers are all examples of how you can use one storage system to house several types of supplies. As you are planning out your room, it is also a good time to decide on any decorating themes or styles that you want to use, before you begin buying materials.

Make a List – You now have a pretty good idea of what you need for your space. Begin a shopping list of items you need. Include any measurements and requirements that will be helpful as you shop, such as you need at least seven trays for wooden stamps, three 4” 3-ring binders for stickers and die cuts, fifteen 12” x 12” hanging files, etc.

Go Shopping - Make a basic sketch or take a photograph of your space and write down the measurements of the area. Take your sketch and/or photograph with you along with your list, a tape measure and a calculator as you shop for furniture and storage containers. This will prevent you from buying something that is too big or too small. Make your purchases, and be sure to save receipts in case you need to return an item. Keep track of how much you are spending, so you stay within your budget. Buy the essentials first, and you can always add other items later.

Put the Plan in Action – Paint the walls, assemble your furniture, put your supplies into the containers, label drawers and boxes, and enjoy your fabulous new scrap space.

Decorate & Personalize

Some people say that where you create plays an instrumental role in what you create. Most people are creative when they feel creative and they feel creative when they are in an environment that inspires them. Build your scrap space into an environment that inspires you to create, with these scraproom decorating tips.

Choose a Color Scheme
Possibly the most important step when decorating a scrap space is to choose the color scheme. When choosing a color scheme, start by finding an inspiration piece—something that makes you feel creative. It can be a fabric swatch, a piece of art, a piece of furniture, or even a favorite scrapbook paper. Often the inspiration piece will contain the color scheme you’re looking for and all you need to do is find paint and coordinating accents for the room. If the inspiration piece doesn’t offer three to four colors for your scheme, use a color wheel to find accent colors that will work with your inspiration piece.

If you are able to paint the walls of your space, as you consider colors keep in mind that the color will change with the lighting during the day. While you may love warm mustard yellow first thing in the morning, it might be far too overwhelming on the eyes in the bright midday light. A good way to test this is to paint a large piece of foam core or canvas paper in the color you are considering and move it around the room at various times of the day.

Another reason to carefully consider the wall color in your scrap space is that whatever color you surround yourself with might change the way that your project looks as light is reflected off walls and other surfaces. Neutral colors on the walls such as tan, cream, and white are a good way to assure natural lighting and reflections, especially right around your work space. However, don’t let that stop you from painting one wall the deep purple you’ve been dying to use!

Decide on a Theme or Style
Your room doesn’t need to have a “theme” per se, but choosing a general style will make it easier to achieve a cohesive look. By choosing a theme, you will know what types of containers, wall décor, and accents would help complete the look you are after.

Need ideas for themes? How about Funky Retro? Start with black, brown, white or silver furniture with clean lines and add pink, aquamarine, or lime green accents with photo boxes, framed pictures, and shelving.

Another style that might be fun to explore is Paris Chic. Rich burgundy velvet, black and white toile, and lots of vintage glamour would make for a fun and exciting scrap space. You might even add an actual divan in the corner for reading!

A shabby vintage garden theme can be achieved by adding accents from recycled garden or vintage items. An old garden planter can become a storage container. Convert a vintage dresser mirror to a framed cork bulletin board by removing the glass and inserting cork board inside the frame. An old, used lattice piece can hold small hooks for ribbons and embellishments, and vintage sap buckets can hold painting supplies.

Look at decorating magazines and websites to help you choose the style you like, especially if you don’t know where to start. Choose a special item that has meaning and build your room around its colors and style.

Fashionable, Yet Functional
As you add trinkets and style to your room, be sure to look for organizational items that can be painted or altered to match your décor. Here are several decorative projects that also have a practical use in your scrap space:

LampLamps –You’ll need to have a combination of overhead, task and possibly additional accent lighting in your space. Use the opportunity to bring some style to your room. Look for interesting lampshades, decorative trim, and a lamp body that fits the style of your room. You can even spruce up plain lamps with stamps and paint, ribbon, and beaded trim.

Magnet Board – Purchase a large magnet board to display just-finished pages, to-do lists, magnet-mounted foam stamps and even supplies hanging from magnetic hooks or baskets.

MagnetBulletin Board – Cork bulletin boards are a great way to temporarily move papers, notes, and new product packages off your main workspace, while still keeping them within sight. Decorate them with paint, ribbon trim, and stamps to match the décor of your room.

Magnets and Pushpins – Use your scrapbooking supplies to make fashionable magnets or pushpins for your magnet or bulletin board. Page pebbles with a patterned paper backing or stickers on top of buttons make great magnets. Use strong liquid glue that dries clear and a roll of self-adhesive magnet tape. For push-pins, simply glue the decorative element to the front of a flat pushpin with a glue that adheres to metal.

Lattice Board – Paint a section of wooden lattice in the color of your choice. Then attach hooks and clips to hang baskets, buckets, tools, and supplies from the lattice. Clothespins, large clips, metal “S” hooks, and even standard finishing nails are all effective ways to hang items from the lattice board.

Hardware – Don’t settle for a plain white plastic hook or knob if you can spring for a more decorative one. Decorative hardware is a little detail that can make an inexpensive piece of furniture or storage instantly gain personality and style.

Furniture – A fresh coat of paint, stripped and re-stained wood, or even a table skirt are all easy ways to dress up an old piece of furniture. If you’re buying new, look for a style that will serve both your workspace and storage needs as well as fit into the look you are creating in your space.

Storage Containers - Plastic, canvas, or metal bins, painted baskets or wooden boxes in an accent color create functional organizational containers that also serve as decorating pieces throughout the room.

To really make your scrap space your own little haven, add personal decorative touches that inspire your creativity.

Layout Frames – Show off your masterpieces by displaying your favorite or most-recent layout creations in frames throughout your room. Clear acrylic frames are an easy way to interchange layouts frequently and are available in sizes ranging from small 5” x 7” or 6” x 6” sizes to 12” x 24” frames for two-page spreads. A wooden or metal frame is a more permanent way to display your artwork. Also available are giant clip boards made to hang on the wall, perfect for displaying finished layouts. Get creative and hang taut heavy-gauge wire from one end of the room to another along a wall. Then use clothespins to hold the corners of your layouts along the wire for a unique hanging decoration that can change constantly.

Curtains – Just as you’d decorate a room in your home, don’t forget the accents that make it homey. A fun fabric that matches the décor of your room is a great way to add texture, pattern and color to your room. Use wide satin ribbon as a sash or a decorative hook to tie them back.


Rug – Define your space with an area rug that matches your space. Take into consideration whether you will need a chair to roll over the top of the rug when you choose the size and thickness of the rug.

Favorite Photographs – Photos are what fuel the passion for scrapbooking, so don’t forget to include your favorite photographs in your space. Create an elegant photo collage with coordinating frames, consistent matting and a grouping of black-and-white photographs. Enlargements make a big statement; consider a poster-size version that inspires you.

Quotes – If you are inspired by words, add your favorite quotes to framed pieces throughout the room. You can even purchase words and quotes that can be affixed directly to your wall for a more permanent statement. Wooden and metal words can be purchased by the letter for a custom word or phrase that fits your space.

Candles – Appeal to all of your senses, and add a fragrant candle to set the mood for a relaxing session of scrapbooking. Be careful with fire around your supplies. Keep candles away from your direct work space where they can be easily knocked over. As with anywhere in your home, do not leave them unattended. For a fire-proof smell-good option, a soothing scented air freshener can serve the same purpose.

Decorate your space so that it’s an enjoyable place for you to spend your time. The more you enjoy being there, the more likely you are to accomplish much during each scrapbooking session.


Once you’ve organized, stored, and decorated your space, don’t forget to keep it maintained so you can continue to enjoy it. Here are several maintenance tips that will help you keep your space in top condition:

  1. Make it a habit to clean up and clean out your supplies regularly.
  2. If you run out of room in a storage bin, see if you can discard older products before you expand to another container.
  3. As you buy new products, put them right into your storage system.
  4. To save time while you are scrapbooking, designate a “put away” basket near your workspace so you can put all of the extra products away after a scrapbooking session rather than while you are in a creative zone.
  5. Clean up between layouts, so you can start with a clean slate for each new page.


What is the best way to store 12” x 12” patterned papers and cardstock? As a scrapbookers’ stack of papers and cardstock grows, this question may weigh more heavily on their mind. Thankfully, now there are several manufacturers who have realized the importance of paper storage and have answered the pleas of scrapbookers everywhere. The question isn’t “How to do it?” anymore, but “Which system and products will work for me?”
Below are several options for storing 12” x 12” cardstock and patterned paper. Some are products designed specifically with scrapbook papers in mind and others are make-shift solutions put together by a scrapbooker in need. Take a look at several solutions to see which will work best for you.

Assess Your Needs
The first step in choosing a storage system is to assess your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

Do I have more cardstock or patterned paper?

A collection primarily made up of cardstock might be best stored in horizontal paper trays arranged by color. A smaller assortment of patterned papers could then be stored in one or two trays or an accordion folder. On the other hand, if you have primarily patterned papers, you may prefer a vertical storage system that allows you to easily browse and see the patterns on each sheet from above.

How much space do I have to devote to my paper collection?

Where you have room available in your scrap space may help determine the best method of paper storage. For instance, if you have a narrow footprint where you can store your paper, but have a large amount of paper to store, you might consider paper towers or stackable paper trays so you can store your paper horizontally, while building vertically to save floor space. Then again, if you have windows, shelving, or a desktop that prevent you from building up, you may prefer a shorter, but wider storage system in the form of hanging file storage bins sitting on the floor.

Do I need to have a portable storage system?

If you plan to take your storage system with you when you go to a crop, look for a system that travels well. Handles, wheels, and a cover are all handy ways to bring your paper with you. If portability isn’t important to you, then more heavy-duty and permanent options may be more applicable to your situation.

Categorize Your Papers
Another factor to consider before choosing a storage system is how you organize your papers. Knowing how many categories of paper you have and how they will be divided will help you determine how many shelves, folders, or containers you will need for your storage system.
As you begin to categorize your paper, think about the way you scrapbook. When you go searching for a sheet of paper to use, are you looking for a particular type of pattern, or are you looking for a specific color? Do you know the manufacturer you want to use for a layout, or do you like to mix and match papers from various manufacturers? Answering these questions will help you know how you should organize your papers so that you can quickly and easily find exactly what you are looking for. You may find that organizing by manufacturer is more easily done one way and organizing by color or pattern is best done another.

Here are several examples of paper organization categories:

Categorize by Color
Since so much of scrapbooking revolves around color, this is a very popular method of organizing. Regardless of the pattern, manufacturer, or material of a sheet of paper, if you need red, you’ll be able to see all of your red paper options in one place.


Categorize by Pattern and Style
Basic patterns tend to be repeated among the various patterned papers available. If you like to add specific pattern styles to your pages, you may prefer to organize your patterned papers by the style or pattern so that you can see all of your striped paper options at once, for instance.

(pets, holidays, seasons, school, etc)
(animal prints, wood grain, photographic scenes, etc.)
Specialty Paper
(mulberry, handmade, velveteen, metallic, etc.)

Categorize by Manufacturer
If you tend to buy paper in large packs or are partial to a few specific manufacturers and always use their papers together, this might be a good option so that you can keep coordinating papers grouped together.
Ultimately, this is your system and it should fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to combine aspects of these suggestions. For instance, you may want to divide your papers by color, and then have additional sections for your favorite manufacturers, and yet another section for themed papers. As long as you

Don’t Toss Your Scraps
As you decide on a storage system, be sure to consider how you will store your scraps or leftover pieces of paper. Individual plastic drawers, folders or even ziplock baggies are a good way to find what you’re looking for quickly. For consistency and ease, the organization method you use for storing scrap pieces should compliment the method you’ve chosen for your larger sheets of paper. Using the same categorizing system and a similar storage method will increase the likelihood that you’ll check your scraps before pulling a full sheet to create a photo mat or journaling block.

Now that you know what you have, you probably have a better idea of the type of storage you need. Here are some options for storage solutions:
know where to look, you’ll be a step ahead.

Vertical Storage Systems


Small embellishments like buttons, brads, eyelets, beads, clips, tiles, charms, glitter, wire and silk flowers (to name a few) are perfect finishing touches to your pages. However, because they are so tiny and there are usually so many of them, it can be difficult to keep them organized and easily accessible.

The first step is to separate all of your embellishments into categories. This helps you see what you have and then later make decisions about the type of containers you need to store them. There are several options for categorizing your embellishments. You may want to use a combination of these ideas to best fit your scrapbooking style.

Sort by Type – If you typically have a certain type of embellishment in mind when you are creating a layout, this method of categorizing should complement the routine you already have. Separate the items into categories by type such as brads, eyelets, buttons, charms, glitter, wire, etc. To save space, take the embellishments out of their original containers, so that you can group all similar objects together. If you like to know the manufacturer who made each item, you may want to keep them in the original packaging and look for larger storage containers instead.

Sort by Theme – If you tend to purchase embellishments that correspond to specific themes, you may prefer dividing your embellishments into themed piles such as birthdays, pets, school, sports, seasons, holidays, etc. You may even want to combine these three-dimensional embellishments with flat embellishments such as stickers, die cuts or rub-ons and themed patterned papers to keep all of each theme together.

Sort by Color – Some people are color-oriented when they scrapbook. If you are, you can categorize embellishments by color and have several options of embellishments in the color you need, all in one place. Get as specific as you’d like, depending on the volume of your collection, by adding categories such as blue-green, sage green, fuchsia, or light pink in addition to the standard rainbow of colors.

Sort by Manufacturer – Using coordinated products from the same manufacturer may be the way you most often create layouts. If so, keep those products together with matching embellishments, stickers, rub-ons, and papers from the same manufacturer. Then you’ll have created a kit of sorts filled with products that you can use together.

A combination of these sorting methods will also be an effective organizing technique. For instance, you can sort general embellishments like brads, buttons and eyelets by type. Then separate products into additional categories by theme. Yet another category can be for your favorite manufacturer’s coordinated products. Customize your embellishment organization to your scrapbooking style.

Once the embellishments are categorized, look at your piles and decide what size and type of storage containers will work best in your space. There are an abundance of products that can be found in scrapbook stores, office supply stores, hobby stores, and even hardware stores that are perfect for these small embellishments.

Ribbon & Fibers

Fibers and ribbons have long been popular scrapbooking page embellishments. Their numerous colors and textures make them a fun item to use and to collect. However, even a modest ribbon and fiber collection can soon become disorganized clutter if they are not stored in an organized fashion.


Before ribbons and fibers can be organized, they should be separated into groups. There are many ways to categorize these items. Use the method which suits your scrapbooking style, or you may want to use a combination of the following options.

Sort by Color - This is probably the easiest way to sort ribbons and fibers. Put spools of like colors of ribbons together in a group. Separate ribbon remnants and fibers into similar color groupings.

Sort by Thickness - Ribbons in particular will vary in thickness. If you need to be able to find ribbons based upon their width, sort them by thickness starting with the narrowest widths and working up to the widest.

Sort by Pattern/Style - Polka dots, plaids, gingham, grosgrain, satin, lace, stripes, velvet, and organza are just a few of the many types of ribbons. Likewise, fibers come in several types such as chenille, eyelash, and charm. If you find you have a lot of different ribbons and fibers in these various categories, you might want to consider sorting them by this method.

Combining some of these methods will be the best solution for most people. For instance, separate all of your ribbons by color, and then sort the color groups either by thickness or pattern. The most important thing to keep in mind is how you use these items in your scrapbooking, and organize them based on your own personal style.


When you have decided upon an organization method and you have all of your ribbons and fibers sorted into categories, it is time to store them. There are three things that must be considered. Ribbons stored on spools take up more space, but have the advantage of keeping the ribbon neat and wrinkle-free. Fibers tangle easily, so a tangle-free storage solution must be found. Loose pieces of ribbon need to be stored in a manner which keeps them from wrinkling.

Dowel Rod - To organize spools of ribbons, dowel rods may be used in either a horizontal or vertical fashion. Drill holes into blocks of wood or pre-made wooden shelf brackets so that a wooden dowel can slide in and hold spools of ribbon. A block of wood with a hole drilled into the center and a dowel placed vertically into that hole makes a terrific vertical spool holder. Note that straight pins may be necessary to hold the ends of the ribbons on the spools. Particularly with the vertical dowel storage, gravity tends to unwind the spools unless they are pinned.


Tension Rod - Another practical spool organizer is a tension rod (available at any home improvement store). Tension rods, sold for hanging curtains, contain springs that create tension between the two sides of the rod when placed between two supports. The rod can be placed in a doorway or window and will store a lot of ribbon spools in a small space. Tension rods come in different diameters and spans, so be sure there is some way to slide the spools onto the tension rod and that it will fit in the space where you want to use it


Whether you began crafting as a stamper or you added stamping to your range of scrapbooking techniques, a growing stamp collection is very common among scrapbookers. The size of your stamp collection and the type of stamps you have will determine your organization and storage needs.

If your collection is rather large, it may be hard to keep track of what you have. Categorizing them into groups is a helpful way to easily find the perfect stamp for your project. Separate your stamps by theme or style and then sub-categorize them as necessary for larger collections. Some examples of categories are:

  • Alphabets
    • Large
    • Medium
    • Small
  • Animals
  • Botanical
    • Flowers
    • Leaves
    • Other
  • Frames
  • Greetings
    • Birthday
    • Thank You
    • Other
  • Holidays
    • Christmas
    • Halloween
    • Other
  • Home
  • Photo Corners
  • Quotes
  • Shapes
  • Textures
  • Travel
  • Vintage

A large collection of alphabet stamps can also be categorized based on the style of each font with categories such as curly, block fonts, typewriter, and sans-serif. Along those lines, you can categorize stamps with a similar style together such as cartoon-like or realistic images. Use categories that make sense to you and your style of scrapbooking.

Once your stamps are categorized, you can assess your storage needs based on the type and volume of stamps. There are three primary styles of stamps: wood-mounted, foam and unmounted. A wood-mounted stamp is a rubber-stamp image attached to adhesive foam and then adhered to a wooden block. The image of the stamp is usually printed on the top of the wooden block so you know what the finished image will look like. Foam stamps come mounted on foam blocks and are about half the thickness of wood-mounted stamps. Unmounted stamps come in both traditional rubber and clear acrylic forms. Since they are not mounted to a block of any kind, unmounted stamps take up much less space than wood-mounted stamps. Since the various types of stamps have such differences in size and functionality, each style of stamp must be stored differently.

Wood-Mounted Stamps
You’ll want to store wood-mounted stamps so that you can see the image printed on the top of the wood block. Shallow boxes and narrow shelves are a convenient way to access your stamps and see what you have at a glance, instead of having to dig through a deep basket or bin.

Shallow Drawers, Boxes or Trays
– Create a layer of rubber stamps, categorized by theme, in shallow drawers, boxes or trays. Position each stamp so that you can see the image on the top of the wood block. The wider the containers are, the more stamps you’ll be able to fit. Open-top trays can be stacked, but be careful when you access them that the contents don’t spill out. Boxes with clear lids are nice so you can see what’s inside without having to open each container, and the stamps will stay put. You can also label the outside of each box or drawer with the theme or style of stamp it contains.


Ink Pads

These days, ink pads are a hot product for scrapbookers. Given their myriad uses (distressing, stamping, aging, and more), it's no surprise that many scrappers have dozens of ink pads in their scrap area. Of course, when ink pads aren't organized correctly, they can pile up and become difficult to sort through. Also, when a system isn't in place to help you keep track of them, you can even end up losing money by purchasing duplicates or replacing ink pads that have become damaged due to improper storage.

Factors to Consider

While it doesn't always seem that way, ink pads are indeed a consumable supply. When stored correctly, many ink pads will last for quite a while before you'll need to replace or refill them. However, if ink pads are not properly taken care of and stored, they will become dried out much more quickly.

Ink pads are best stored flat. Each pad is filled with liquid ink, and this ink can travel throughout the pad over time if not stored properly. For example, if you stored your ink pads vertically, over time the ink would drop to the bottom edge of the pad, and you would no longer be able to get a fully-inked image when you tried to use the full surface of your ink pad. For this same reason, it is highly recommended that you store your ink pads upside down. This will keep the ink flow at the surface of the pad, rather than allowing the ink to seep down to the bottom. This is especially important for dye-based ink pads, as this ink is thinner than some other inks and will migrate through the pad at a faster rate. Ink pads containing thicker inks, such as pigment ink, can be stored face up.

Sorting Your Pads
Before you choose a storage solution, it's important to take stock of your current inventory of pads. This will save you from buying a container that is too small or that won't adequately hold your entire collection. Start by gathering all of your ink pads and sorting them using one of the following methods.

By Color. If you're a stamper or scrapbook artist that works primarily by color, this will be the option for you. Sort your pads into basic color groups, with additional groups for neutrals and rainbow ink pads. If you choose this method, you'll be able to easily access the perfect ink to coordinate with your current project, regardless of the size of the pad or type of ink it contains.

By Manufacturer. This method is ideal for artists who like to work with coordinated products. If you like to buy inks, papers, and accents all from the same manufacturer in coordinated sets, this is the best option for you. You'll be able to find the ink you need to match what you're working on without a problem.

By Ink Type. If you're an artist who works in several different mediums, or simply if you like to use different types of inks for different projects, this is the perfect choice for you. Most of your ink pads will probably fit into one of two categories: dye ink pads and pigment ink pads. However, leave some room for specialty pads, such as watermark ink pads, interference ink pads, mica ink pads, and solvent ink pads. Sorting in this manner will allow you to quickly and easily find the ink type most suitable for the medium you're working with.

By Size. Finally, perhaps you're one of those people who simply likes to keep things that fit together in the same place. If you own a lot of oversized ink pads or very small square ink pads, this can be a great choice for you. Sometimes it can be more difficult to sort odd-sized pads into standard categories or fit them into standardized containers, so this can be an excellent choice.

Once you have your ink pads sorted, take a quick inventory count. Note how many total ink pads you have and the various sizes of each.

Choosing Your System
Now that your ink pads are sorted and counted, it's time to select the best method for long-term storage.


For many scrapbookers, acrylic craft paints are an essential scrapbooking embellishment. Whether they are used for stamping or decorating elements of a layout, paints have won a permanent place in our hearts, right next to rub-ons and alphabet stickers.

Acrylic paints are relatively cheap; therefore scrapbookers tend to purchase them in a wide variety of colors. Since paint is usually used in small amounts, each bottle lasts a long time, making permanent storage necessary.

When choosing the storage solution that is best for you, take into account the following factors:

  • How often do you use your paints?
    • If you use your paints with nearly every project, a storage solution that allows them to be near your work surface at all times is desirable. Pay special attention to open storage solutions, allowing you to easily see the color choices and grab the bottle that is needed.
    • If paint is an occasional embellishment for you, storage options that allow that paint to be organized, but out of the way will typically be more desirable. This frees your workspace for more frequently used items.
  • Do you have a large number of paints, or just a few bottles?
    • A small paint collection can be stored as one cohesive unit.
    • As your collection grows, the need to subdivide your paints will arise. Consider sorting your large collection in one of the following manners:
      • Medium (acrylic, water colors, etc…)
      • Brand
      • Bottle size or shape
      • Finish (gloss, satin, matte)
      • Color (group all mediums, finishes, and brands by color)
  • Are the bottles all the same brand, or do you need to accommodate several sizes and styles of paint bottles?
    • Even small paint collections may contain several bottle shapes and sizes. Access your needs before purchasing a system
  • Do you want to store brushes in the same place as your paints, or in a separate tool area?
  • Do you want your paints to be hidden from view or on display?

After you’ve examined the answers to these questions, you’ll have a better grasp of the type of storage system that will work best for you. Whether you choose to keep your paints on display, using the rainbow of colors as a decorative item in your creative space, or if you prefer to keep your supplies hidden, you have several unique paint storage options. When evaluating your options, keep in mind that paint bottles should be stored upright in order to prevent leaks and spills. Any of the following suggestions can be adapted and customized for your own space and preferences.

Spice Racks - Visit any kitchen supply or home store, and the array of spice racks is overwhelming. The choices range from basic wooden and plastic designs to more decorative wrought-iron shelves. Most can be conveniently stored close to your workspace on any shelf or counter, or inside a cabinet, while others can be located in out-of-the-way spots. Consider the following possibilities:

Hanging Spice Rack - The beauty of hanging spice racks is that they easily install on any wall, freeing valuable shelf or counter space. They also allow the bottles to be held upright, while keeping your color choices visible for easy use.

Multi-Tiered Spice Shelf - Another useful kitchen supply store find is a multi-tiered spice shelf. These shelves work on the same principle as a set of bleachers. Each shelf sits slightly higher than the one before it, allowing all of your paint choices to be viewed at once.


Door-Mounted Spice RackAttaching a door-mounted spice rack to the inside of a cabinet door or on the back of a closet door is a great way to use otherwise unused space. It allows you to store your paint bottles upright and out of the way, while keeping each color visible.


Most beginning scrappers find that their love for scrapbooking is accompanied by a lust for scrap supplies that might be even greater than the love for their hobby. Before long, one accumulates more supplies than he or she knows what to do with. Some of the most versatile supplies are scrapbooking templates. As these are not consumables, such as paper and adhesives, long-term storage options will soon be necessary. It is important that it is an organization and storage solution that works for you.

Before looking at storage options, you first need to examine what kinds of templates you have and how many of each type there are. Most collections will contain a variety. The most common categories of templates are listed below.

  • Alphabet templates – These can be used to create titles and page elements.
  • Shape templates – There are a variety of shape templates on the market from the simple ones used to make circles and similar shapes, to paper doll templates to chalking templates to page design templates.
  • Journaling templates – These can be used to create text boxes and guide your journaling lines in any number of shapes in many varieties of themes.
  • Embossing templates – These are usually smaller templates made from metal. Their purpose is to create a raised design on paper (usually cardstock) and are used with an embossing tool.


Imagine yourself in your scrapbook space. You’ve toiled hard on your layout design. You have your paper, photographs and embellishments all laid out and you are ready to glue it all down. Alas, you can’t find your adhesive. Don’t get caught! Proper adhesive storage will keep the momentum going and get your pages finished. How do you store adhesive so you can always have it available?

Before designing a storage plan for adhesives, consider three issues related to adhesive storage.

Adhesive Shape - Which types of adhesives do you own? What size and shape are they? Popular adhesives include the following:

  • Mounting Glue (tall wide glue bottles)
  • Glue Sticks and Glue Pens (tall narrow containers)
  • Adhesive Dispensers (large plastic dispensers)
  • Sheet Adhesives (large flat sheets)
  • Mounting Foam (medium or small flat sheets)
  • Mounting Squares (medium-sized box)
  • Glue Tape (medium- or large-sized roll)
  • Adhesive Dots (medium-sized roll)
  • Adhesive Spray (tall wide spray can)
Proximity - What items do you need to keep within easy reach while working? Are there items that can be stored away? Consider what items are used frequently and which items are used sparingly.

Location - Look at the list of adhesives and determine if you can keep your adhesives in one location or whether you need to have several locations. Your answer will depend on how many adhesives you have and what kind they are, how many of them need to be within easy reach, and how much available space you have, If you need more than one location, consider the best combination of storage options.

Storage Solutions
Having done your assessment of your storage needs, evaluate the different types of storage solutions. As you read each storage solution, consider whether they meet your needs for location, proximity and adhesive shape.

A box, bin or basket - Depending on the size and shape of the box, bin or basket you choose, it may be all you need to hold all your adhesives. You can place it on your scrapbook workspace within easy reach or it can be stored away and retrieved when needed. If the container you’ve chosen isn’t quite large enough for larger or odd-shaped adhesives such as spray or large sheets, you may choose to store them in a separate, more appropriate container.


These can also be a very inexpensive storage solution. You can purchase them on sale or pick them up at a second-hand store or rummage sales. For function and beauty, purchase or reuse a beautiful basket that fits your style, or decorate a storage container to match your décor.

A drawer, preferably with separate units - A drawer can be a convenient storage solution, especially if it is within reach of your scrapbook workspace. If the drawer has a divider, individual items can be organized in the dividers


One big challenge everyone faces when organizing a scrapbook space is how to handle the tools of the trade. There are a wide variety of tools used in making scrapbooks. Many scrapbook tools are small and easy to misplace if they are not stored well. Other scrapbook tools are large and bulky, which makes them difficult to store.

Here are some of the tools to be considered:

Small items

  • Anywhere hole punch
  • Eyelet setter
  • Paper piercer, safety pin and/or needle
  • Popsicle stick rub-on applicator
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scissors
  • Basic journaling pens
  • Small hammer
  • Craft knife

Large items

  • Paper cutter
  • Ruler
  • Cutting and/or eyelet setting mat
  • Personal die-cutting machine
  • Labeler
  • Xyron
  • Sewing machine

If you have a designated scrap space, you can often leave them stored on your desktop in an appropriate container. However, if your scrap space is in a dual-purpose room accessed by other people in your household, you may need a solution to hide them away when they aren’t in use. Whether your tools are large or small, hidden or displayed, there are several ways you can keep them all contained and convenient while you work.

Small Tools Storage
Small tools can be stored either as a group of tools or as individual tools located with or near their complementary scrapbook supplies. Alternatively, you may choose to implement a combination of the two methods. Using the descriptions below, assign your tools to their best location.

Stored as a group. Using the products listed above as a guide, gather all your small tools together. Look at them as a unit. Since they are small, it would be possible to place them all together. Most of the small tools are medium in length and narrow. This shape allows for several storage options.

Tin, paint or storage can - Small items can be stored upright in a can. A can could either be left on your desk or taken out of storage when you begin working. If you have several small tools, you may need more than one can. To enhance your décor, decorate the storage can.

turnaboutTurnabout tool holder - These holders, often used for office supplies or kitchen utensils, are similar to a tin or paint can but they have extra slots to keep items separated. They also rotate, giving you easy access to all sides of the container. The holder can be left on your desk or placed in storage and taken out when you begin working.

Drawer - Small items can be laid flat within a conveniently located drawer. If the drawer has a divider, individual items can be organized in the dividers. If the drawer doesn’t have a divider, a divided container, such as a silverware organizer, will work to keep loose round items from rolling around in the drawer. The containers could also be removed from your drawer when needed. Often-used tools should be placed near your workspace and made easily accessible while working.

Basket or shallow plastic bin - A small basket or shallow bin should hold most small tools. It can be left on your desk or taken out of storage when you begin working. For function and beauty purchase or reuse a beautiful basket that fits your style.


Shelves - A small shelving unit can be used for tools. A wooden, plastic, or even metal shelf, preferably with several cubbies, can be placed on top of your desk or mounted on the wall near your desk. Choose a shelf that is deep enough for your tallest tools. Tools can be laid flat inside the cubbies right within reach of your workspace.

Stored Individually Another option is to store each tool with or near its complementary scrapbook supplies. Look at each of your small tools. Consider where it is used most often and where it would be easily found. For example, the paintbrushes would be stored near the paint. If your paints are held in a storage box, place the paintbrushes in the box too.

The advantage of storing the tools with its complementary product is that they are kept together and are easily available when needed. The disadvantage is that sometimes it is hard to find a storage solution near the product. In addition some tools are versatile and may have more than one complementary product.

Consider how you use each tool and when it is needed. You may find that you need to store some tools with complementary supplies, but others are so versatile, that you need them close at hand for nearly every layout you create.

Large Tools Storage
Larger tools are bulky and sized differently, making their storage solutions more difficult. Often these tools are used on every layout so they need to be close at hand while working.

Pens & Pencils

Scrapbooking conjures up images of stacks of gorgeous papers and photos, adhesives and trinkets galore. Pens and pencils seem utilitarian next to all this, but with organization that places them at hand, they can add much to your designs. Organize your writing tools well, and they will make a bigger impact in your work by being up front and available. You may even find that they deserve starring roles on some of your designs!

Organizing experts always stress evaluating the needs first before buying your first storage container. Pens and pencils are no exception to this rule, even though they are likely to be among the smallest of your supplies in both size and number.

Asking yourself the following questions is the first step toward developing an organizational system that will meet your needs best. What are the most common uses made of your pens and pencils? Do you attend crops outside the home often? Where are you most likely to work with your writing implements? The answers to these questions will give you valuable information for how you use your pens and pencils and how they can be stored and accessible when you scrapbook. For instance:

  • Frequent traveling to crops requires specialized storage to keep the pens and pencils contained.

  • Using your pens and pencils for hand lettering and hand journaling may dictate their proximity to other tools, such as rulers, lettering templates and gum erasers.
  • Using pens and pencils to create artistic elements suggests keeping them visible and accessible, perhaps arranged by color families.

  • If you are a “supply collector,” keep in mind you will be adding to your collection and need to keep it all organized and stored. Your system will need to allow room to grow.

Keeping these ideas in mind will help you avoid buying an organizational tool or system that looks cool but is ineffective for your specific needs.

As well your own pen- and pencil-using habits, you’ll need to consider the storage needs of the pens and pencils themselves. Pens have specific storage requirements if you wish to maintain them optimally.

  • Marker-style pens and pens with writing tips on both ends must be stored horizontally to keep the ink distributed evenly. Attempting to store them vertically can result in all the ink “pooling” on the downward tip, with the other end drying out. In addition, any type of pen that requires you to shake before use, such as metallic paint markers, should be stored in the same manner.
  • Ink pens such as gel pens, Zig Writers and similar pens should always be stored so that they are vertical, with the writing end down, cap on.

  • Pencils can be stored vertically or horizontally. If they are stored vertically, place them in the storage container with the sharpened ends up. This way, you have less chance of the sharpened tip breaking off, requiring additional sharpening before use.

You’ve looked at your supplies and how you generally use them. Now comes the fun part: choosing how best to store them. You have many choices available. Some are low tech, and require not much more than your time and effort. Others are highly specialized designs unique to the needs of scrapbookers. Take a walk down the aisles of your office supply or specialty art supply shop for some storage ideas with a little more panache. Many of these are inexpensive and they’ll corral your pens and pencils with style. You decide what will be best for your space.

Tin cans - The old summer camp standby is still a great one: cheap, economical and allowing for endless variation. Save old juice or soup cans, using a file to remove any sharp edges inside. They can be anything from simple containers to altered works of art. Some ideas to personalize your storage include:

  • Use fabric, paint or paper scraps to decorate the outside.
  • Color coordinate your containers by color family; red pencils and pens in a red-decorated can.
  • Stack the cans and tip them on their sides. Wrapping with heavy hemp or other decorative fibers and sealing with glue will create an attractive corral for your writing implements needing horizontal storage.

Stickers, Die Cuts, and Rub-Ons

The volume of stickers, die cuts and rub-ons that can accumulate among your scrapbooking supplies can be quite overwhelming. Not only that, but it can be extremely difficult to find what you are looking for if they are not organized well and stored in a convenient place.


To organize your stickers, die cuts and rub-ons (or any relatively flat embellishments) begin by categorizing them. Separate them into piles by color or theme. You can also sort by type of embellishment, with categories such as borders, tags, frames and word sentiments. Another option is to sort by manufacturer to keep coordinated items together. Choose categories that will complement your style of scrapbooking, so that you’ll be able to find what you are looking for. For example, categorize a sheet of red flower stickers in the “red” category rather than a “flowers” category if you are more likely to use it because of its color than its shape. Here are some sample lists of categories to use to sort stickers, die cuts and rub-on embellishments:




These types of embellishments often come in sheets with several coordinating stickers, die cuts or rub-ons. Look for general categories that the entire sheet would fit into. If one particular sticker on a sheet fits another category better than the rest on the sheet, you can trim it out and re-categorize it individually.

Once all of the stickers and other flat embellishments are organized into piles, you can begin to put them into a storage system.


Most scrapbookers don’t immediately scrapbook every single photograph they take, which means there are double prints, prints that won’t be included in a scrapbook, or prints that are waiting to be put into a layout that need to stored somewhere. Whether it is several decades’ worth of prints, a pile of recent photographs, a hard drive full of digital images, or a combination of these, it’s important to safely store your photographs. Then you can be assured that they will be preserved, whether they ever make it into a scrapbook album or not. The question then is how to store them and organize them so you can find what you need when you are ready to use them.

Here are several suggestions for storage and organization in regards to your prints, negatives and digital images.

Organizing and Storing Prints

The way in which you use your photographs and the type of photographs you tend to take will help determine the best method of organizing them. What you are typically looking for when you go searching for a photograph? Do you want to find a photograph from a specific year? Are you looking for photographs of one particular person? Do you tend to search for photographs from a specific event?
The volume and origin of the photographs also will play a part in how you organize them. For instance, if you inherited several years worth of photographs from a relative, but don’t have any way to know when they were taken, you may prefer a non-chronological organization method. On the other hand, if you are organizing photographs that you took yourself within the last couple of years, you’re more likely to want them organized in chronological order, so you can continue to add to them easily. Below are several options for how to categorize your photographs so that you can more quickly find what you are looking for.

By date. If you organize your photos as they are developed, chronologically may be the easiest way for you to organize them. Simply add them to a box or album as they are developed. If you are organizing old photos using this method, divide them first by year, then by season, and then by month and date if possible. Categorizing in stages makes it much less overwhelming.

By person. If you're creating albums for your children or are organizing old photos and want to create albums that aren't event-specific or chronological, organizing by person is another great way to sort your photos. A box for each person makes finding photos for an individual's album much easier. Once they are organized by person, you may want to sort them by date or by event to further categorize each collection of photographs.

By event or subject. A third way to organize your photos is to categorize them by event or subject. For instance, possible categories would be New Years, Birthdays, Easter, Summer, Vacation, First Day of School, Baby, etc. This method is especially helpful if you create holiday albums or like to make pages of similar subjects spanning over multiple years or dates.

Regardless of the method you use to categorize your photographs, make every effort to label them with as much information as possible. Names, places, events, and dates are all helpful information to include with all of your photographs so you (or someone else) will be able to identify them down the road.
The most fool-proof way to ensure that your photos will be identifiable for years to come is to write the information directly on the back of the prints. Other labeling systems such as notebooks, index cards and envelopes will work, but are only beneficial if they are never separated from the prints themselves. Always include the basics (name, date, and location) on the back of your photographs and you can add additional information in a corresponding notebook or on note cards if you wish.

To prevent damaging the photos as you are labeling:

  • Use a fast-drying acid-free pen or a No. 2 pencil to write directly on the back of the photographs.
  • Avoid writing with a ballpoint pen or overly-sharp pencil because the pressure exerted as you write can create indentations in the photograph that can be seen from the front.
  • Make sure that the ink on the back is completely dry before stacking the photographs to prevent transferring any ink onto the front of another picture.
  • Use a No. 1 or No. 2 pencil when labeling photographs printed on fiber-base paper. Most commercial photo printing is done on resin-based paper which is water-resistant. However, archival prints and heritage photographs may have a fiber base, making them porous. Ink used on the back of fiber-base prints may bleed through and ruin the front of the photograph.
Label your photographs as they are developed. Once you’ve gone through a stack of photos that are several years old, you’ll realize how difficult it is to identify all of the important information. If you label them as they are printed, and before you put them into your storage container, you’ll be thankful in the long run.


There are several options for storing prints and the method you choose will depend on how you use your photographs. If you access them frequently to pull photographs for your scrapbooks, a box storage system will be a convenient solution. If you’d like to be able to store your pictures in a way that is easier to browse through them, you may prefer a photo album.

Photo boxes with index dividers. Most varieties of these inexpensive photo boxes hold several hundred 4" x 6" (and smaller) photographs and include index tab dividers to help you categorize the photographs within the box. They also usually come with a label on the front of the box to indicate its contents. Photo boxes are a great space-saver because they can store quite a few photos per box, and can be stacked for convenient storage.

Photo box with archival envelopes. In addition to index tab dividers, an envelope for each event or roll of film is another convenient way to keep groupings of photographs separated from each other. Make sure that the envelopes you use are archival quality to protect the photographs from damage. Also, label each envelope with information about its contents.

Photo albums with labels. If you'd prefer a more accessible way to look at your photos, archival photo albums with protective sleeves are another option. Available in all sorts of sizes and designs, many photo albums even come with space to label the photographs with a date and comments. If you make scrapbook pages using double prints, this is a perfect way to keep a full collection of all of your photographs in an easy-to-enjoy book.
Whether you store your prints in an album or a box, remember to place them in an area of your home where they will not be damaged by sunlight or moisture. Avoid basements and attics where the temperature can get very high or extremely low. In addition, keep them stored away from high-traffic areas to prevent spills, curious children or pets from damaging those precious photographs. Bookshelves, closets and cabinets are all fine options for storing your photographs.

Organizing and Storing Negatives
If you don't already keep negatives organized and stored safely, now is a good time to rethink your methods. It can save you frustration, time, and most importantly your photos.

Negative Sleeves – Archival negative sleeves that fit into 3-ring binders are a perfect way to keep all of your negatives collected and protected. As each roll of film is developed, slide the negatives into the next page of negative sleeves and add a small sticker label to the front of the sheet. On the label, write what the photos are of and the date that they were made. If the roll of film covers several events, add several stickers to label each section of photographs. This way, all of your negatives will be stored in chronological order. It only takes about five minutes to do each time a new roll is developed, and makes ordering reprints and enlargements a breeze.

Envelopes with Prints – Another convenient way to store your negatives is in archival envelopes with the prints that came from that roll of film. If you store your prints in chronological order within photo boxes, it’s easy to add the negatives with the corresponding prints so both are available to you in the same place when you need them.

Magazines and Idea Books

Scrapbookers tend to accumulate magazines and idea books as quickly as they buy new products. Paper, stickers and embellishments are eventually used on layouts, but magazines and idea books seem to take up more and more space as time goes on.

Too often, a scrapbooker will browse through a magazine when it first arrives in the mail only to then put it on a shelf, never to pick it up again. While the magazines contain hundreds of ideas and information worth referring to, having them all just sit on a shelf makes it difficult to know which magazine to pick up when searching for a specific idea. Finding a system that helps you get the most out of these inspirational and educational books can benefit both your scrapbooking and your storage situation.

Essentially, there are three options for how to approach the magazine and idea book storage dilemma:

  1. Clip your favorite articles and ideas to create a custom idea file and recycle the remainder of the magazine.
  2. Index the articles and ideas that interest you so that you know which issue to pick up when you need an idea.
  3. Keep only the most recent and favorite issues and recycle or donate the rest.

Compile a Custom Idea File
To really reduce the amount of space magazines and idea books take up, consider this approach and save only the articles and ideas that truly interest you in your own custom idea file. This is a four-step process, but is fairly easy to maintain once you have the system in place.

Step 1 – Read
Whether it is the day the magazine arrives or several weeks or even months later, the first step should be to read the magazine. Relax in a favorite chair, soak up the ideas and simply enjoy reading it. Then, unless of course you are instantly inspired to use an idea from the magazine, set it aside for a while.

Step 2 - Re-visit
Every three months or so, flip through the magazines that have collected. Decide if there are any articles or ideas that you want to keep for your own idea file. If there are, set it to the side for Step 3. If nothing jumps out at you, recycle or donate the magazine. After collecting three months of magazines, it’s possible that some of the ideas will no longer be interesting to you. If it doesn’t inspire you after three months, let it go.

If you subscribe to several magazines, you’ll also find that many of the magazines cover similar material. Rather than keeping duplicate information, you can choose your favorite articles and toss the others. Make note of which magazine you tend to save the most of, because it might help you decide whether or not to re-subscribe to the ones you don’t use as often.

Step 3 – Clip and Rip

When you see some ideas you don't want to forget, rip them out and clip them up!


You can never have enough patterned paper, and it seems like there’s always a new tool or gadget that you just have to have. The most important scrapbooking tool you’ll ever use, though, is your workspace itself. You’ll be amazed at how an organized, functional scrapspace will make scrapbooking both easier and more fun.

There are many elements to consider when creating a workspace, such as ample desk space, adequate lighting, and comfortable seating, which all come together to create a great place for you to work. Here are some ideas to help you create your own ideal workspace.

Assess Your Needs
The first step toward having a productive workspace is to assess how much room you have. You may want to begin by sketching out the area and getting an idea of what supplies you want to keep where, where your workspace is going to be, where the computer goes, etc. This sketch is a starting point to give you an idea of what type of desk or furniture you can fit into your space and still have room for all your supplies.

If you are tight on space, you should first identify your “must haves” so you can be sure to include the essentials into your workspace design. For instance, so that you’ll have enough space to spread your in-progress pages out on your desk, pound eyelets, and use your paper cutter, your actual workspace should be at least 15’’ wide by 30’’ deep. The surface you use should also be fairly sturdy, since you’ll most likely be hammering or using heavy equipment like a die-cutting machine. Another essential to any workspace is good lighting. Make sure to plan space for a few lamps, especially if your space doesn’t have great natural lighting, or if you work at night. You’ll also want to have comfortable seating, especially if you sit while you’re scrapping.

If you are using a shared space as your workspace such as a kitchen or dining table there are additional factors to consider. If your workspace serves double-duty as an eating area, have a system to quickly and easily put away what you’ve been working on. For instance, keep your work on a tray (the kind you might use for breakfast in bed) so that you can move your project while the table’s being used and come back to it easily later. Also, invest in a large self-healing mat so that you don’t damage your table.

Of course, the more space you can give yourself, the better! If you have enough room, think about creating more than one workstation: one for your computer, one for paper cutting and setting eyelets, one for putting together your layout, etc.

The next important step is to assess your own individual needs as a scrapbooker. Since you’re designing your own personal space, it should reflect your unique needs. Do you like to stand when you scrap? Sit at a desk? Sit on the floor? This will help determine the height and placement of your workspace. What items do you use most often? You may need a desk with a drawer, or a place on top of, under or near the desk to store those things.

Once you know what your “must haves” are, you can begin to look for furniture that will accomplish those requirements. Generally, scrapbookers have three options for creating an effective workspace: investing in furniture specially designed for scrapbooking, purchasing office furniture and adapting it to fit your scrapbooking needs, or creating your own desk or table from scratch or with found items.

Scrapbook-Specific Furniture
It’s not surprising that nowadays there is furniture made just for scrapbooking. Furniture like this usually looks a bit like normal office furniture, but has some important differences. For instance, there’s storage for unique scrapbooking items like 12” x 12” paper and deep shelves for storing albums. Unfortunately, because of the specialty sizes and design, they are usually more expensive.

scrap space

No comments: