Monday, August 11, 2008

Paper Storage Organization

Tips for Getting Organized

Can you locate a particular piece of paper without digging through stacks and piles? How long does it take you to find that single sheet? If you’re taking precious scrapping time to search for paper you already own or spending hard-earned money repurchasing it, it’s time to marshal a storage solution.

An optimal storage system should:

  • Provide easy access
  • Allow you to take a quick inventory
  • Protect your papers
  • Accommodate different paper sizes and types
  • Make cleanup a snap
  • Fit the space you have

The first step to finding the right storage solution for you is sorting your paper into categories. The basic methods for categorizing paper are by color, theme, or manufacturer.

To figure out which method will work for you, think about how you shop for paper in your favorite scrapbooking store. How is the store organized? When you shop, do you seek papers by color (“I want red-and-yellow papers”), or manufacturers’ coordinating lines (“I want that new SEI Granny’s Kitchen line”)? Your answers will help you pinpoint which categorization method best fits your style.

After you organize and contain your paper, find a place to stow the containers. Read on to see three storage solutions conceived and tested by fellow scrappers.

An Inexpensive Solution

Need a neat space but don’t want to spend a ton of money? Try hanging your papers from basic clothes hangers. Use Hefty’s Jumbo 2.5-gallon One Zip plastic bags to hold your organized stash. At 14-3/8 x 16”, a large bag is roomy enough to fit thick stacks of paper. If you want to keep your paper portable for cropping gatherings, use the bags for easy grab-and-go bundles. If keeping the bags sealed is not important to you, trim them down to 12” deep, cutting off the closure. I like to trim the open end on the diagonal for convenient access when I sift, sort, or fan papers.

Vertical Paper Sorters

I like to store my papers vertically. With papers stored upright, each sheet is easily accessible, and it’s simple to slide an unwanted sheet back into its sleeve. Use rigid containers or dividers to avoid creasing the papers.

Consider placing the vertical storage containers on an adjustable bookshelf so you can minimize the amount of wasted space between shelves. Warning: Paper stacks can be heavy, so don’t put too much on one shelf.

As inexpensive substitutes for upright shelf dividers, consider stackable plastic sorting trays found at office supply stores. They’re designed to hold 8-1/2 x 11” paper, and stack on top of each other. Stack them vertically side by side and use packing tape to attach them to the back of the shelf for rigid shelf dividers.

Stackable Clear Containers

Whichever storage method you choose, look for see-through containers. It’s much easier to work if you can quickly identify the contents inside your bins. Storage containers also should be large enough to accommodate stacks of 12x12” paper. Many products are sized especially for scrapbooking papers, including containers by Cropper Hopper, Generations, and The Container Store (shown here).

To really cut down on searching time, label your containers as well. If you’re using the plastic bag system mentioned earlier, attach an index tab to the open end of the bag to label the group. If you’re using rigid containers, simply computer-print or handwrite a label on a strip of card stock or a tag and attach to the box front. Even when using see-through containers or open, vertical storage, an easy-to-read label will make finding things at a glance easier.

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