Saturday, January 10, 2015

Organization - Stamps

This past week, I've slowly started to get my crafting supplies organized. After all the massive deals, clearance and retirement sales, my crafty closet storage is just about bursting at the seams. Not to mention that I cannot find a few products I know I own... I'm also on a personal quest to use all of the supplies I own, and that's rather hard to do so if they're buried under a mountain of things.

So, I decided to do some major re-organizing and get all of my supplies in order. And I thought I'd share this process with you a bit.

Before I get to the new organization systems, here's a quick overview of how my stamps were organized before:
- I'd purchased a few sets of Avery Elle storage pockets. I found them for quite a bit cheaper on Amazon, and bought a few sets.
- For the stamp pocket insets, I used a large pack of 100#lbs cardstock from Recollections that I got from my local Michaels. This was an extremely cheap pack - 10$ for 100 sheets, and I bought it during a sale with a coupon that brought the price down to 2$ at checkout.  At the time I'd bought it, I thought I could use it for crafts. But the cardstock was of such terrible quality that it made any card using it look cheap and awful. Still, they were perfectly sturdy and great to use in storage pockets.
- I bought a few cheap Sterilite plastic bins at my local Walmart - note, I bought them at the store individually, so the price was around 3.50$ per bin.
- Stamps were organized by manufacturer, then alphabetically.

There were a few problems with my old system, the biggest being that it was hard to find stamps. I knew where the stamps I used often were, but that led to me using the same stamp again and again because it was the easiest one to find/reach. And that led to completely forgetting I had an awesome stamp for a card and going online to buy an extra stamp I may not have needed.

The other problem was that my stamp collection was growing - exponentially! So what started as 1 little bin turned into 3 bins + a huge box that I still needed bins and storage pockets. And I'd run out of room to place them all. It was time to re-think and get some new systems in place.

My first big solution was to find a place that would house all the stamps. I needed something big, sturdy but still easy to move and use. So, I drew inspiration from Jennifer McGuire's organizing video, and purchased a couple of fridge binz from Amazon. I happened to grab them at a small discount, and use up a gift card I got for Christmas. I really love how easy it is to display the stamps, and how I can grab and move the bins around if I need to. They are also very large and house quite a few sets of stamps. This was perfect for my collection.

The second step was the storage pockets. Although I like the Avery Elle pockets, I bought a set of My Favorite Things Large storage pockets with my last order. If you're looking to save a bit of money, you definitely want to go with the MFT pockets. They are almost identical yo the Avery Elle pockets, being just a slightest bit wider - which means they can fit in a 5.5" insert and that makes making inserts from regular cardstock much easier. But they're a lot cheaper - cost of $8.99 for 50 pockets -- which means 4.50$ compared to the 9$ Avery Elle set.

The final step was figuring out how to organize them. I knew by manufacturer wasn't working for me, so I took a look through my blog, card collection and idea book and figured out how to separate the stamps by theme. I've got the following themes: baby, flowers & butterflies, holiday (non-Christmas), Christmas, seasonal, sentiments, animal/critter, birthday, food, school, people, patterns/backgrounds, love/marriage/anniversary, sympathy and other. Each of the sections is then stacked by manufacturer and alphabetically.

In separating the stamps by theme, I've already found what stamps I need to get more of (sympathy, baby) and what stamps I have more than enough material for (Christmas, sentiment). And it's been much easier to find stamps for a specific occasion.

Lastly, I found a set of color-coding labels I'd originally bought at Walmart to use on kraft wrapping paper. It's a great way to add cute polkadots to the gift wrap or to use for a card technique (masking dots, for example). But they're also going to be useful for keeping track of which stamps I'm using. So, every time I use a stamp, I will put a little round circle on the stamp pocket. This will encourage me to use stamps without the circle and help me track what I'm using more often.

And that's all for the stamps! Next time, I'll write about tackling paper and cardstock.


  1. Love reading this post because at the moment I'm doing some re-organizing in my craft room, too. What a chaos! It will take me forever to get rid of all those piles ;o)
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Hugs, Anja

    1. That is so awesome, Anja! I know several ladies that are organizing their supplies, too, so it's awesome to be able to chat about it!

      And yes, the piles.. I've got a big pile of patterned paper I've got to sort out. It's a challenge trying to figure out where everything should go. :D

  2. Totally love reading about how others tackle the same issues - and I guess all stampers face this issue. I've a similar situation in place in that I use the Avery Elle pockets (and now I am totally going to check out the MFT pockets - thank you!) and I keep them in boxes (think they are CD boxes, not sure). I store the stamps alphabetically by manufacturer. It works for me because I think by manufacturer. I love that you think by theme. As I said, I find that side of things fascinating! :) Happy organising! Hope it goes well! :)

    1. Hehe, so right! If you've got more than 10 stamps, you're probably facing the same issue. You're totally welcome on the MFT pockets. They're fabulous. They've also got a smaller pocket too, that measures about 5x5", and it's perfect for small dies and for those 3x4 stamp sets.

      I love being organized by theme so far. Seeing how big of a stack my "sentiment" is has already stopped me from making one purchase (yay). And with the little color dots, I'm hoping it will help me pinpoint what stamps are just not used much so I can figure out what to do with them. :)

  3. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Patti! I'll keep sharing as I organize other bits and pieces. :D