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January 28, 2016

A Guide to Organizing Your Stamps

As I shared earlier this week, I am reviving my Use Every Stamp challenge from 2013.   Part of that challenge included a free workshop where we discussed stamping, organizing and storage.

I was recently asked to re-share this information.  Read on to learn more.

On a scale of 1-10, I would say I am a firm 6.5 when it comes to organizing.  I can usually put my hands on what I need, but I have no need to go overboard. (I once had a friend ask if my idea books where alphabetized.  NO! They are happy sitting on the shelf all mixed up....but together.)  I am also a function over form gal.  So my studio is not super pretty (it would never be featured in a magazine) but everything works for me.  I tend to organize by color and I always have something that still needs to find a home.

Below is a presentation that describes my stamp storage system.  But before I share my system I wanted to share a few myths or misconceptions I have learned along the way.
  1. My system will work for you.  Probably not.  I know, I know that is sooooo frustrating to hear.  We all have different resources and limitations to deal with.  While you may be able to use some of my tips, you will most likely have to tweak my system to meet your needs.
  2. Once you are organized you are done.  Well, this would be true if you NEVER purchased another stamp set....but that doesn't seem very likely.  Which means you also need to have a system to deal with new purchases.
  3. You only need to room for what you have.  This gets back to #2.  If your organizing system only has enough room for what you currently have.....what will you do with new purchases.  If your space is limited you will also need to decide how to remove the old to make room for the new.  I know, I know what a horrible idea, but someone has to say it.  And I am just the girl to do it.
  4. Being organized will make you more creative.  There is some truth to this statement.  If you are buried under your supplies (you know who you are) it is quite difficult to be creative.  However, constant organizing can become an effective time waster.  If you find you spend all of your time organizing and never have any time for creative pursuits, you might want to re-evaluate you strategy.

Since 2013 I have made a few changes to accommodate some newly purchased Project Life stamps.  In addition, I have a basket of letter stamps.  (I recently shared my new found love of letter stamps.)

So if you can't just use my system as your own, how do you go about creating your own system?  Well, I have a few tips for you.
  1. Spend time looking for inspiration.  (Yes, I know I just said that you should not just adopt someone else's system.)  That does NOT mean you should not gather information on what works for other stampers.  By all means, check out what other people do and use that information to create your own system.  I have a Pinterest board to help get you started.  
  2. Make sure your system is expandable.  A highly detailed spreadsheet sounds perfect if you have 25 sets of stamps.  But what happens if you have 100, 200 or more.  Will you be able to keep up?  The more complicated the system the less likely you will be able to maintain it.
  3. Take stock of what you have before you begin.  You may have found the perfect container....it is so beautiful and you can't help but purchase it.  Only to bring it home to discover it won't fit in your space nor does it accommodate the growth of your stamp addiction. :)
  4. Focus more on your successes and less on your failures.  Look around your studio or craft and see what works.  Analyze why it works and then use that to create new systems.  We often spend far too much time focusing on, and beating ourselves up for, our failures.
  5. Learn how you work.   Any organizational system should be based on how you approach your creative pursuits.  As I mentioned above I tend to organize my supplies by color as that is how I approach a new project.  As for stamps, I tend to keep some companies together while others I sort by theme.  I also tend to use some images or sentiments more than others.  For example, I use a lot of hearts and many sets use a heart as a filler.  So in my binders I have a section just for hearts, so I can see all of them in on place.
  6. Create a long term plan.  Unless you have just a handful of stamps, it will probably take you a while to get them all organized.  Trying to sit down and organize them all in one week-end is not very realistic.  Time to create a plan for getting everything done.

Already have a system that works for you?  I would love to learn more....I am always looking to improve.  I know your fellow readers would appreciate learning your tips.

For those readers just beginning this journey I say good luck.  Be sure to post any questions you may have....I am always happy to help.

Happy Crafting,

1 comment:

  1. I like your system. I also like that you've given yourself a year to do this. At this point, I just need to start! Looking forward to more organizational videos from you. Thank you, Jeri!