It seems like every year one or more of my resolutions involve organization. This year is no exception, and I have a fairly long list of projects to tackle. However, unlike my other resolutions to exercise more and lose weight, I really look forward to digging in to different areas around my house and straightening things out. There is something about looking in a drawer or closet and seeing everything neatly in its place that makes me happy.
A little over a year ago, I decided to find a new system for organizing my growing stamp collection. I’ve tried many things in the past, from narrow shelves to hold wood-mounted stamps to binders full of clear stamps to stacks of CD cases, but nothing seemed to work as well as I envisioned.
After a few false starts, I have finally come up with a system that is working really well… I can find what I need quickly, and it is easy to put everything back when I am finished. The best part is that I am actually using my stamps more often, as I no longer dread having to spend 20 minutes searching through binders and boxes to find what I want. I use one system to store my cling and clear stamps and another for rubber stamps.
Cling and Clear Stamp Storage
I was intrigued by the idea of using a Clip-it-Up but thought I would see if I could find a less expensive option. After seeing some examples online, I decided to try making my own using a shoe rack that I found on clearance as the base.
It wasn’t too difficult to create this… the most time-consuming part was moving all of my stamp sets into the clear pockets.
Bolt cutters helped snip off the extra parts, and rubber tips were hot glued onto the cut ends. (You can find more details about how I made it by reading this post.)
I thought I had come up with a great solution… until I had been using it for a few days… and everything started to get a bit wobbly to the point where the whole thing almost toppled over. I tried re-tightening the poles, but I finally had to admit that it just wasn’t meant to hold so much weight. This might be a great solution for storing other types of supplies, but the stamps were simply too heavy.
I wound up taking off the two upper tiers and just using the base…considering I spent less than $15 on it, I still think it was a good solution.
One benefit from my experiment was that I learned that I really liked storing my stamps this way and having them so accessible. I decided to spend the extra money to buy an actual Clip-it-Up system and have been thrilled with the results. I have been using this system now for over a year and can report that the two-tier model has been holding up extremely well… no more wobbling!
It is so easy to flip through each set and see what I have. For stamps sets that came in clear packaging, I simply added a clip to the top. For other sets, I placed the stamps on pieces of transparency that I found at an office-supply store and cut to fit these clear pockets from Tim Holtz.
Wood-Mounted Stamp Storage
One of my most favorite storage pieces – and biggest splurge – is this set of drawers from First Choice Products. You wouldn’t believe how much they hold without taking up a lot of space. I store all sorts of things in the drawers – embellishments of all kinds, ribbon, stickers, and wood-mounted stamps.
The 1” drawers are the perfect size for all but the very thickest of my stamps… I use the 2” drawers for those. A label maker is one of my favorite tools for organizing.
One of the best things about these drawers is that they can be pulled out and moved to your work area and then easily put back when you are finished.
Although nowadays I find myself using clear stamps much more frequently, I think of wood-mounted stamps as mini works of art and use them to decorate my studio. I found these vintage wooden crates at an antique store for about $10 each and use them as shelves to store some of my favorite images and ink pads.
The size of the opening is perfect to highlight some of my smaller stamps that might otherwise be overlooked in a drawer. If you have been stamping for any length of time, I bet you recognize some of these… I remember a time when that dragonfly from Magenta was on almost every single card I made.
I also remember when this quote was part of the background of almost every card I created. Having these stamps on display is kind of like visiting with old friends.
Hope this has given you a few ideas you might be able to use in your own craft space.
Until next time – Happy Organizing!
Alice Golden from Golden Moments (www.alicegolden.com)