Organizing Page Additions and Accents:
How to keep your stash of accents, dimensional stickers, and many decorative layout bits organized.
Copyright 2001. originally published July 20th, 2001
by Rockester (Kathleen Aho)
How do you store your supplies? Don't you hate that feeling when you know you have a pattern or sticker SOMEWHERE-- if only you could lay your hands on it to USE it today! Do you have trouble finding things or keeping them handy? You know that you bought a paper piecing pattern or a magazine, but you can't find it when you want to show a friend or pack for a crop? What do you do with your swaps and purchases? Have you bought duplicate supplies and not known it until you dig out an old shopping bag a month later? What is the remedy for this organizational nightmare?? Need help? Well, let's alk about solutions! (Not that my way is 'right' but if you have no organization system or you have one that is NOT working well for you, then these are just some starter tips that may help you.) Here is what I do. See if you can adapt any of these ideas for your own use.
This is how I organize ALL my page additions. Things like die cuts, stickers, paper piecings and patterns, laser cut frames, page toppers, etc. Page additions are any scrapbooking supplies which are NOT sheets of patterned background or cardstock paper. (My sheets of paper are filed in file folders in Iris carts by pattern and color type.) But today, I am just talking about page additions, patterns, and other page elements that go with your photos. Let's learn how to corral them so you can find them and use them efficiently. Why waste all your time searching for lost supplies when that precious time can be used better to make some layout pages! Don't leave your desk in a mess like this!!
I have four inexpensive white 3 ring binders with various category dividers in them. Remember, we will be putting lots of stuff in these 4 binders. Unless you have very few scrapbook supplies, you will need all four binders. You can use Paper/Sticker Binders in the same fashion if you have them. You need a binder or sticker-binder style that opens and shuts easily. It should allow you to add or decrease pages as you need to is helpful. A zipper closure is nice too. Make sure the binder is not so used or old or that the rings are slightly crooked. The rings should match up well so that flipping pages later is a smooth process. I create divider tabs in the following categories:
figure 3 category tabs
ABC's (letter stickers),
Bible and faith
Halloween and fall
Party (includes birthday)
Victorian and heritage
SORT IT OUT:
Now go and sort your scrapbook supplies according to the same types of categories as your new tabs. This will take a little time if you have not done it for a while-- but it is so worth doing! Take this time to save yourself even more time later. Older children (over age 8) can even be helpful with this. If they understand categories, have them help you a sort...Pay them for their help with older stickers you find that you no longer want! They will be thrilled and you will be done sorting sooner!
figure 4 sorted
I have a total of four binders for my 17 categories but if you need more space, use more bnders. But keep your categories alphabetical. Some people with lots of scrapbooking goodies may need three or four separate 3 ring binders instead of my two...but the categories can still be used alphabetically. After a bit you start to remember that your A-D categories are in the red binder and the E-H categories are in the green binder. I divided up the categories in the following binders and made a label for the binder spines indicating what each binder holds.
figure 5 binder label
You should arrange yours so they spread out across all four binders somewhat evenly. Each person's binder setup will vary according to what you have the most. Perhaps you will need a binder JUST for your ABC's? It is up to you, but do keep it alphabetical.
figure 6 binders
ABC's (letter stickers)
Bible and faith
Garden/floral ( I have a LOT of floral stuff)
Halloween and Fall
Party (includes birthday)
Victorian and heritage
Within each category, I file ALL my page kits and supplies possible. For example, I may have Mary Engelbreit style swap page kits. But I try to file those ME christmas kits into the Winter category section and the ME school teacher page kits in with School category. Likewise, my ME beach paper piecing will go in with the Water category in the appropriate binder. Even though Mary E is a 'style', it is not usually a separate category in my binders. My page kits and larger swaps are all already in page protectors, so this sorting is easy to do. Large full sized die cuts, 11 inch borders, delicate laser cut frames, and all bigger page elements get their own page protector to keep them safe until use.
figure 7 Film star page kit Large Items
Now that leaves the smaller odd elements like layout idea cards, paper piecing patterns, die cuts, premade page toppers, stickers, punch art, finished paper piecings from swaps etc. Those items also are filed in the same categories in the same binders right along with the larger page kits and larger swaps. I use baseball card holders for small stickers and 4x6 plastic photo page holders for the smaller objects that will fit. Nothing gets bent, crumpled or lost. The holders are all clear and I can easily flip through and see the various elements clearly. I can see at a glance if the colors on the premade page topper will match the colors on that cute Ebay paper piecing....
Figure 8 Small Items Nine card holder
YOU ARE ORGANIZED!
After filing all my goodies in the binders, I place the binders on my scrapping desk so I can see the spines. I label the spines with computer made paper labels (figure 5 above). But you can also use adhesive labels and Sharpie markers. If you do not have room on your desktop, place them in a nearby bookcase. Or did you know that many standard 3 ring binders fit perfectly into a desk filing drawer? That desk file drawer is an out-of-sight yet a handy spot if your binders will fit.
This is the most important step. If you want to be organized, you need to commit to STAYING organized with your new purchases and creations. After each shopping trip, simply pull out the binder you need and file the new loot away! This keeps it off the general stack of desktop jumble which also keeps the elements from getting torn, smashed, and crumpled! What a waste to spend good money on a beautiful, hard-to-find supply only to find out later it was ruined from careless storage (or no storage at all!) The money you save by storing your things safely will certainly offset the initial cost of a few extra page protectors and baseball card sleeve pages.
PLAN AND PACK--Now it is EASY!
How do I then use this category system when planning a page or packing for a crop? Here is an example.
If I have pictures of my sweet husband to make into a "SOME BUNNY LOVES YOU!" layout, I get a new page protector out. I slide hubby's photos in and then just go to the ANIMALS section of my binders where I keep the bunnies . There I will see all in ONE place all the bunny ideas and supplies I already own. From die cuts to patterns and premade page toppers, it is ALL visible and handy within a few flips of the binder pages. No more sorting through so many separate file folders, books, binders, shopping bags and boxes just to see all the heart and love ideas. I can now easily pick the accessories that apply best to this set of photos. I slip my choices into the page protector with the photos and I am ready to crop. Being organized in this manner, I also TRULY know when I am getting short on 'ANIMALS' category of supplies and ideas. This makes shopping much more efficient and cost effective.
figure 10 bunny page kit
It is SO nice to be able to reach for an idea or supply and actually FIND it immediately!! My binders full of page ideas and supplies help me do just that. I have found this alphabetical binder system works for me. What a relief! No more misplaced supplies! No more stepped on die cuts! No more ruined paper piecings that got jammed a month ago behind the magazines on accident.
What a time saver --and money saver-- good practical storage can be!!! It will help YOU stay organized, so go get some binders and categorize ALL your own page additions and elements today!! You can do it!! You'll be SO glad you did! You'll be much more productive if you can FIND your supplies faster.