I’m always looking for ways to better organize myself in my craft space. I think that you have to depending upon how much stuff you have and your personal system for finding what you need when you need it. While I’ve seen some really great products and great systems alike, the key to any great system is that it works for you. My way of organizing may not be your way of organizing, and so on and so forth. So finding what works for you should definitely be intuitive, but it is always nice if can be inexpensive as well.
There are many stores that are dedicated to nothing but helping you better organize your life in general and your craft space in specific. Once you’ve got your buckets, baskets and bins, you’ve got to invest some time into actually purging, categorizing and organizing. I did something this weekend that allowed me do just that–I created my own stamp inventory for all of my Stampin’ Up! stamps.
This isn’t revolutionary by any means, but it works for me and just maybe, it may work for you. For the record, I’ve seen several people (especially on YouTube) share their way of organizing their stamps. And while this isn’t anything new, I think that my take on it may ultimately help you.
A few adaptations to note:
- While I have other stamps, I decided to concentrate on my Stampin’ Up! stamps because I already kept them separate (being a former demonstrator) and they come in sets in their own individual plastic cases
- This method could work for ANY stamps, including cling and acrylic
- This method could also work for any number of supplies like die cuts (ex. Sizzix), embossing folders, and punches (As a matter of fact, if I ever get the time to do this, I will inventory my entire room this way!)
The good news is that once you spend time getting this task done, it’s easy to maintain and to grow as your collection grows. You can easily see what you already have (so that you don’t buy the same or similar items). And when you’re ready to purge, you already know what you have on hand. Ready?
STEP ONE: Gather your supplies.
In this case I have my stamps, my old Stampin’ Up! catalogs, and some leftover garage sale stickers. You don’t need garage sale stickers though. You just need several copies of the same sticker.
STEP TWO: Set up your inventory system.
My system is very simple: I use a 3 hole binder which I’ve already organized into several sections. (Since these are Stampin’ Up! stamps, I used their categories for my section labels: “All Natural,” “Greetings,” “Elements,” etc.) Since fewer stamps have seemingly been retired recently (this is just my observational opinion), I simply pulled out the page that featured my particular stamp set from past years’ catalogs and hole punched them right into my binder.
If you don’t have any old catalogs or if you’d rather not pull out pages from them, then you can copy the page and use that. Or, if you are like me and have several sets that have yet to be mounted, you can scan/copy the page of labels or case cover (for the newer cling stamps) and use those. Of course, making a scan or a copy of the actual stamp works too.
By the way, other than organizing them into these sections, there was no rhyme or reason to my madness. As you grow your collection, you could organize the pages by year or in alphabetical order. You decide.
STEP THREE: Organize your stamps–your way.
In my case, I already had all of these shoebox-sized plastic bins. You may not have bins at all because you just stack your stamps on shelves. If that is the case, you can skip this step. (Or just assign a different color/style for every stamp set you have.) But keeping them in small bins just makes it easy for me to get my hands on the ones I want when I want them. However, I had no big decision to make as to which stamp sets went into which bins; I simply fit in as many as I could. As a matter of fact, one of my shelves is full of some larger stamp sets that wouldn’t fit in a bin.
STEP FOUR: Assign your stickers.
This is where you start to color-code your collection. Since I had enough 50-cent stickers leftover for the six stamp sets in the bin, plus two more for the top and the side of the bin and at least one more for my inventory sheet, that’s what I used. If you happen to have nine pink umbrella stickers, then use those. It really doesn’t matter because it is not about the sticker, it is about the coding.
STEP FIVE: Match up your assigned sticker to the location of the stamp set in your personal catalog.
This stamp set is located in my “Greetings” section and I’ve again used my 50-cent sticker on the image of the stamp set. So while I can always just go into my containers and peruse my stamp collection, it will be much easier to go through my inventory, figure out which “Greetings” set I want to use and then grab the corresponding bin.
PS If you wanted to completely forego using the inventory system altogether, you could just assign a color/style sticker to a section of stamp sets: “Greetings” could be blue, “Elements” could be purple elephants, etc. For those of you with extensive collections (congrats, by the way), this could be a simpler way of staying organized.