Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Develop a Scrapbook Organization System

Have you noticed how hard it is to organize your scrapbook supplies? Here are some tips that might help you to organize your space to work more efficiently for your needs.

Figuring out how you scrapbook is key to good organization. Are you always looking for your supplies and having trouble finding them? Try separating all your supplies into different categories like tools, metal embellishments, chipboard, markers, ink pads, paper, embossing supplies, stickers, rub-ons, stamps, flowers, etc. Find a way to store items together by category and make sure you have plenty of room to grow when setting up a system. For items you use often, store them close to your work area for easy access. If you use some supplies only occasionally you can store them further from your work area. But make sure they are easily accessible otherwise you may not use them as often.

Are you someone who scrapbooks by color? Try organizing your papers and embellishments by color. Place all your scrapbook papers and embellishments that are the same colored supplies together in one drawer or container. If you scrapbook by theme then try putting all your themed items together and so on.

If you have difficulty putting layouts or cards together, try buying coordinating papers, stickers, rub-ons, chipboard, and embellishments from the same design line and storing them together in a project folder or box. There are many scrapbook kits on the market that make it really easy to do an entire album. Perhaps you only want to do a 2 page layout? When you pick the items in store or from your own supplies, put all the pieces together in a project folder. Once you are ready to do that layout, it is all ready to go. Sometimes it is best to stick with only three or four colors of paper and embellishments when putting a scrapbook together. Recently, I did a scrapbook for my daughter for her college graduation and I used only the colors of the university. It made putting the scrapbook together a breeze.
If you are like me, you are a visual scrapbooker, and I like to see what supplies I have, or I will forget what I have. For example, one day I wanted to make an over the hill birthday card for my brother-in-law who turned 50. I had a particular stamp in mind that I remembered seeing somewhere that I wanted to use; I just couldn’t remember where I saw it. After traipsing through every scrapbook and hobby store in the greater Memphis area and not finding it, I gave up and went home. Once I got home, I started looking through my own stamps for another stamp that would work and guess what? I had the very stamp I had spent all day looking for in my own collection! I knew I had seen it someplace! I can laugh about it now, at the time it wasn’t so funny. So believe me when I say I have learned scrapbook organization by trial and error!

So are you like me and forget what supplies you have? Try making a list of supplies you have and carry it with you.  I put my list on my iPhone Notes app. So no more buying the same bottle of Stickles, or that Over the Hill stamp, that you may already have. Another tip is to develop a reference system with photos in a large binder. My binder has photos of each Stampin' Up stamp set I have and is printed on white cardstock in sheet protectors. All my Stampin' Up sets are in one section of binder and my acrylic stamps in another section. My Stampin' Up sets are stored in boxes that are labeled Wood Stamps 1-12 (yes, I have 12 large boxes of them, and it's growing). Each Stampin' Up set is labeled with the box number to easily put it away.

All my acrylic stamps are in CD cases and are labeled by theme and alphabetized. If I have several CD’s with same theme, I label them by them theme and number (Flowers 1 and Flowers 2) and so on. I used the stamp package’s plastic sheet that has the images already on it and glued it on the cardstock in sheet protectors. I also label the images in a binder with same theme and number of the CD holders, so when I see the stamps I want to use in Flower 3 in my binder, all I have to do is go get Flowers 3. For acrylic stamps that won't fit in CD cases, I have them in page protectors in the binder. I keep all my acrylic stamps in CD cases in a small cabinet I got at Goodwill that has 2 small drawers where I keep my acrylic blocks. It was a lot of work to develop the system but now I can easily find what stamp I am looking for. I also have all my Cricut cartridge’s designs, Nestibilities and Cuttlebug embossing folders and die cuts in other sections of binder.

Try dividing all your stickers and rub-ons into themes so when you are making a baby themed card or layout, you can see your entire selection of baby related stickers and rub-ons. You can store them in boxes with themed dividers or make your own type of Clip It Up. Or you can do all the above like I did and then buy the Clip It Up! I recommend if you really want something just go buy it (when it's on sale!). In the long run, it will save you money! Funny, but true!

If you are limited on space or you are running out of space like me, try storing your paper vertically instead of horizontal.  Cropper Hopper makes a new vertical storage paper holder and I am seriously thinking of converting my paper storage to these.   I have to admit I am not crazy about the other more flimsy holder by Cropper Hopper, but the newer version will not fall over. 

Another tip, when you buy something or just finish a project, have a place that you can stash supplies away if you don't have time to put them up.  I have 2 buckets and 4 blue boxes for this.  That is one way I to keep things in order and looking tidy.   You never know when you might get an opportunity to show off your scrapbook space.

Remember to have a place for everything and have everything in its place and you will stay well organized.  If you can't find it look in your stash buckets and boxes!  By staying organized it doesn’t matter what I am looking for whether it is scrapbooking tool or embellishment, I can always easily find it. This doesn’t apply to just my scrapbook space but my whole house.

Until next time!  Happy Scrapping!


  1. Great tips Sharon...Thanks for sharing. I would love to know where you purchased your wire paper holders? I have searched and searched for some but have come up empty.

  2. Hey Robin,

    Thanks for your kinds words about my blog. I actually got my paper racks at a yard sale. Here is a link to buy them online for $100 each (18 pocket). Mine are 24 pocket.

    If I were you? I would go to vertical paper storage like the cropper hopper vertical storage system which is cheapest at Wal-Mart online $11.54 each.

    Several reasons for this suggestion. First the cropper hopper vertical storage system will hold up to 600 sheets of paper for $11.54. You can easily have several colors of paper and use dividers if you want to separate the colors. These are not like the flimsy plastic ones that you may be familiar with from Cropper Hopper. Second, the towers take up a lot of space and they hold only 18 different colors unless you stack other colors on each shelf of them. This makes it difficult to get to other paper underneath unless you take all the paper out. The more you do that , the more you can damage your paper. I am seriously thinking of getting rid of these. In a scrapbook space every inch of room makes a difference and I am realizing this the more my inventory grows. I think they are a very pretty way of organizing paper but they do so very inefficiently. I am also going to get rid of all my clear stackable paper trays too. If you are interested check out my Scrapbook items for sale page I am only telling you my experience with them. I think they are great for scrapbook stores because they only have one color on each shelf but for home use from my experience I give them a thumbs down.

  3. Wow! I love all those ideas. You make it seem easy to do. I know it may take a while, but I would love to try those ideas. I like the way you suggest to break it down into sections and not try and do all of it at once. I know you said once you start something you tend to keep going until it's finished. I have 5 children who would not allow me to do that. Lol!

    I may take a few pics of my scrap room which has very good potential, and see what suggestions you could give me.

    Thanks for sharing your carfting ideas.


  4. I just love your idea for using up that otherwise wasted space behind the door AND have a place where you can see all your wood stamps and pick one easily. Did you build the wood shelving yourself?