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.
- Decide what you want to organize. Maybe you only need to organize your paper, or maybe it will be a complete room makeover.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 Scraptastic_Memories@live.ca
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Door-Mounted Spice Rack – Attaching 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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
Turnabout 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.
Large Tools Storage
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!
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.
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:
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.
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
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:
Compile a Custom Idea File
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
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.