Monday, August 11, 2008

Sticker Storage

Beginning the Process

I’m a collector, always have been and always will be. Thankfully, I’m much smarter about how I organize and store my supplies than I was as a kid. Effective organization and storage solutions can make you a more efficient and productive scrapbooker as well as keep your supplies in good condition.

About once a year I go through my stash of stickers and die cuts and purge my collection of items I will never use. The first time I did this it was painful but every time since it has been easier. My kids eagerly anticipate purge day as they wind up with more great stickers and die cuts to add to their own collections. It’s a win-win situation: I keep only the stickers and die cuts I will actually use, and my kids stop hounding me for fodder for their projects.

Once you’ve whittled your collection down to just the pieces you want to keep, pare it down a bit more. Trim around stickers and separate preprinted die cuts from their sheets. Not only does this save storage space, but it’s also easier to move the trimmed sticker or die cut around on your layout as you test different page arrangements.

HINT: An inexpensive accordion file folder becomes a compact, portable storage system for stickers. We filled the front pouches in this one with alphabet stickers and the back section with themed sheets.

Sorting Into Categories

Next, it’s time to sort your whittled-down stash into categories. Sort in a way that makes sense to you and that will make it easy for you to find items later on. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Theme (season, vacation, holiday, floral, vintage):
This option works well for both stickers and die cuts. When organized by theme, they are much easier to find and use. When you’re working on a Fourth of July layout, for example, you can easily shuffle through your holiday stickers and die cuts to find just the right addition.

All your letter stickers can be organized by color. This system makes it easy to find the color you need while working on a layout.

Size/Type (border, frame, tag, etc.):
This method works best for die cuts as they come in all sizes and types. If you need a tag as the finishing touch on a layout, go right to your stash of tag die cuts. Sometimes a picture needs a little something extra, and the right die-cut frame will do the trick.

Many manufacturers make stickers and die cuts to coordinate with their papers. Keep all the accessories for a certain paper line together and you can quickly pull together a look

HINT: The Sticker Stadium by Think Inside the Box allows you to sort items in tiered compartments, making everything easy to see. The unit comes with printed dividers­—just flip them over to customize categories.

Find a Storage Solution

After deciding how best to organize your stickers and die cuts, the next step is to find a workable storage solution. I discovered a combination of storage types works best for me. The more accessible your supplies, the more likely you are to use them. You don’t need a lot of space or expensive storage containers to create an effective system.

Three-Ring Binder:
Using different-size sleeves and compartments in a three-ring binder is an easy sticker and die cut storage solution. Sleeves made specifically for scrapbookers come with compartments of varying dimensions to hold any size piece you might own. For an inexpensive alternative, you also can use trading card sleeves in the binder. Buy a binder with a closure so you won’t have to worry about items slipping out.

Accordion File Folder:
This storage idea is perfect for letter stickers. After organizing them by color, store your letter stickers in an accordion file folder. Write each color on the top tab for easy access. Consider saving a section for dimensional letters. Accordion files are designed to stay shut, preventing accidental sticker spills.

Hanging File Folders:
After placing stickers and die cuts in clear, sealable bags, place them upright in a hanging file folder. If you trim your stickers and separate your die cuts, they will fit nicely in a small plastic bag. This also works well for larger die cut sheets you want to keep together. If you sort your paper, stickers, and die cuts by manufacturer, you can combine the bag of stickers and die cuts with your paper storage.

HINT: Plastic sleeves designed for slide, photo or trading card storage are ideal for stashing die cuts separated from their packaging. A TrueCore Binder Box from Light Impressions houses our sheets. The boxes are rigid and can be stacked upright on a shelf.

More Storage Solutions

For smaller stickers and die cuts, use a recipe box with tabbed dividers. This system also works well for die cuts organized by theme. The box is small enough that it can be packed with essentials and taken to a crop.

If you decide to keep your die cut sheets together, pin them to a corkboard to keep them in view. This also works for large sticker sheets you don’t want to cut apart, including letter stickers.

Hardware Drawers:
Take a walk down the storage aisle of any hardware store and you’ll see multiple storage options. My personal favorite is a unit that contains little drawers with clear fronts, but there are many different sizes and styles to choose from. A simple label attached to the drawer front identifies the contents. This is a great storage solution if you decide to cut up your letter stickers; use the drawers to separate different styles and sizes of each letter.

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