Organization Talk: Bits & Pieces

Perhaps the most perplexing scrapbook organization issue is what to do with all the other supplies scrapbookers have that I didn’t address in my previous article. Long gone are the days of just stickers and paper. With all the various items available it can be frustrating, and time consuming, to figure out how to store your things.

I’d love to have a bag like this one by Anna Griffin. The problem is, what would it hold? How would I use it? The answer, sadly, is that it would sit in the back of my closet. I mention this because it shows that the difference between what is lovely and what you want (versus what you need and what works) can be wildly different. There are two things that I find the simplest and most effective in most cases for storage:

1. Boxes. Usually in the form of plastic bins, crates, pull-out drawers, or any other item that you can put supplies into.

2. Shelves. Sometimes the easiest way to store things is simply by not putting them inside anything at all, but rather leaving them out but contained on a counter or shelf.

These are effective because they are basic, and they are smart picks because you can utilize them for absolutely anything. If you change your mind or your needs change, you won’t have invested in specialty storage items. With that in mind, there are a lot of other options, and today I will talk about the ways I use, and  other ways I have considered to use, to store my “other” supplies.

Ribbon storage is a tricky thing. I love dowels for rolls of ribbon and cool boxes like this one, but because I tend to buy single yards or ribbon that comes on cards, neither is a viable solution for me. I find containers with ribbon (loose) sorted by color to be the most effective method. I have heard that pinning lengths of ribbons to a string or even onto hangers in a closet is good, but I’ve yet to try it.

This unmounted stamp binder from the Idea-ology line by Tim Holtz is intriguing, and I know some people have great success with this kind of a system. I’ve just never been able to make it work long-term.

This holder for clear/unmounted stamps by 7 Gypsies is intriguing, I’m just not sure that it would hold enough or be the right size for my stamps to work well.

As far as wood mounted stamps go, I choose to store them on shelves around my studio. They’re out and visible, and easy to access. I have some older (rarely used) wood stamps stored in a box.

The supplies I have in boxes or on shelves right now depend on my frequency of use, and need to have at my fingertips. I keep most punches boxed:

Due to their frequency of use and to keep them away from prying preschooler fingers, I keep ink pads, paints, and mists up on high shelves just above my work surface.

Pens are a unique challenge, as most require you store them tip-down or sideways so that they do not dry out. I have a little box that I use (no idea where it came from) for most of my pens that keep them tucked right where I need them – within arms reach!

For my tools that get used often such as scissors, paint brushes, hole punches, and more I try to keep them in cups. I have this craft caddy (made by Fiskars a few years back) that I use for most things, but any kind of cup will work. The trick is finding ones that are a good size for the items you’re using them for.

This wraps up my articles for Scrapbook Update on storage and organization for now, but I have a feeling that I’ll be re-visiting some specific topics and challenges as I find solutions for myself. If you have any comments, or would like to add your own solutions please feel free to leave a comment here or contact me via e-mail at

12 Responses to Organization Talk: Bits & Pieces

  1. Kathy in MN June 4, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    Great ideas-thank you for sharing!

  2. Mary Ann T June 4, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    Ribbon Ring – These to me are the perfect ribbon storage answer and I too don’t generally buy large rolls of ribbon. They have a website…

  3. Marilyn June 4, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Thanks for sharing. I have really enjoyed reading about your organization solutions.

  4. Beth K June 4, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    Thanks for all the great tips!!

    I like to also go to the hardware store and utilize the drawer systems they have in place for nuts and bolts, etc. These are clear faced and hold my embellies wonderfully. My friend also hangs hers from the wall, because most have the holes in the back corners to do so.

  5. May Flaum June 4, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    There is the link to “Ribbon Ring” – it’s pretty simple and looks like the kind of thing I’ve been trying to put together myself… but to date clothespins was the best I’d come up with! I will be checking into it for sure.

  6. Carrie Harville June 4, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Love all of your organization ideas!

  7. Joanne June 4, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Thanks for sharing.

    I have found that I need three storage systems for ribbons:

    I keep giant “bulk” rolls in hat boxes (with the ribbon tails sticking outside).
    I keep small rolls in the Frances Meyer ribbon boxes (very pretty).
    And finally, I keep the ribbon cards in Rubbermaid containers (shoebox – sized)…. very wide ribbons in one container and the narrower ones in another container.

    Love your articles… keep them coming!

  8. Suz June 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    My organization style is very similar to yours I’ve tried the super pretty but found that I need to let my head rule my heart & choose practical things or I’ve just wasted my money. Thanks for the tips

  9. Terri Harmon June 5, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    I absolutely love the RibbonRing system. I have three rings with hundreds of ribbons hanging on the little plastic cards and they hang from a hook either off the edge of my desk or from a shelf. When I travel I just shove them in a photo storage type box and pull them out and hang them from my cup holder. The ribbons are arranged by color and easily visible and accessable. I also use a clear box ribbon storage (bought at Joann’s) for rolls of thinner ribbon. The boxes are about 12 in long and stack with the tail of the ribbon hanging out for easy access. Thanks for all your wonderful articles.

  10. Gab McCann June 5, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    Thanks May for a great series … and thanks Nancy for having May on here! I need to get myself some shelves in my room I think!

  11. Lynnette June 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm #


    You mentioned several options that I truly agree don’t work for acrylic stamps due to their varying sizes, but you didn’t mention how you store them – what have you found that is working for you? I love to know. Thanks for all the tips.

  12. Gitana, the Creative Diva June 10, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    Great minds truly do think alike. With the exception of the wood mounted stamp storage, I use the ideas that you use for yourself: shelves, cups, plastic bins. It keeps what I need handy and within reach. I’ve got the little stuff under control. What I REALLY need to do is do a major remodeling of my total craft space so that all the little things work together more efficiently. Ah well, perhaps in my next life…

    Ballo ergo sum,
    – Gitana, the Creative Diva

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