Thursday, August 11, 2011

SNT Tuesday - Organizing Paper Stax

On Tuesday I sat down to upload my tutorial, and my computer decided it was time to bail out--we knew this was coming, but the timing wasn't good.  I guess the blessing about the whole thing is 1. My DH took off work for two days (for his birthday--LOL), and 2. that not even 5 minutes before it went kaplooie I backed up all the files I use on a daily basis, pictures and such (which I never do, but should), and 3. I really needed a new PC!  My Dad helped Chris build that one back in '04-'05, so I had some attachment to it since he passed away, but it had really started lacking in agility.  =)  Anyway...all that to say, I finally got my new computer up and running and I'm finally posting my Tuesday tutorial--on Thursday. 

Last week's tutorial was about organizing cardstock scraps, this week I'm showing you how I organize my 12"x12" cardstock.  A few years ago I came across a sale on ArtBin's 12x12 paper containers (I believe I have the "standard" size satchel - the inside usable space is about 13 1/2" x 13 1/2", with just over 3" in depth).  I found that I like these particular paper containers because the two front locks have stayed secure with excessive usage, they have a sturdy handle for carrying, they have divider tabs & labels, made from acid free plastic, and stack without bowing into each other with their weight. 

I've been pleased with mine, and I currently have them laying flat & stacked under my sewing machine table.  They slide easily on the carpet, so when I want to use my sewing machine (which isn't often as yet) I just slide them off to the side.  I keep the majority of my printed paper/cardstock (CS) in these bins, as well as 12x12 die cuts, & some specialty solid CS.

I label the outside to show the bulk of what is inside

Then I label the lid to show what file labels are inside
All this fits inside one bin!
This bin holds my paper stacks

This bin I have sorted with a variety of papers that I organized into categories.
Romance, Travel, Flowers, Shabby Chic, Food, Specialty, & Die Cuts (peek-a-boos)
When I was doing a lot of teaching, I kept American Craft (AC) CS on hand so that I could easily match my solid CS with most designer papers that the local scrapbook store had on hand.  AC has their solid CS separated into theme colored stacks: seasons, pastels, tropicals, earth tones, primaries, etc.  I like that you can remove the top of the cardboard packaging and you have a vertical file holder of colored CS.  So  I took what I had left (about 4 packs) and re-packaged them according to colors (ie. the Tropical file now holds my greens).  I keep these, and an accordion file with all other 12x12 colored CS close by, standing upright next to one of my cabinets. 

American Crafts re-organized by color, solid cardstock
This according file was originally made to hold 12x12 papers & layouts
specifically for taking to crops.  But I like it holding all my extra variety of solid CS.

I also have another Cropper Hopper vertical file, like I showed organizing my scraps in last week's tutorial, that I use for Name Brand/Designer papers that I know I'll be using frequently.  Besides my scraps file, this vertical file also stays next to my desk.  This is especially nice to have accessible for when I want to make scrapbook pages, or when I need designer paper larger than my scraps. 

vertical file of designer paper I use regularly
As for my ArtBin containers - if you go to a lot of crops, the handles are great for carrying so that you can put in what you need for the scrapbook pages you're working on;  or you could use it to carry a variety of tools, embellishments, sticker packs, adhesives, etc. (lots of stuff); or instead of sifting through your paper choices, you could bring the whole container of paper stash. 

The downside of these bins, and why I may eventually go to the vertical files like my designer paper stash, is that it can be a pain to dig through the papers that are on the bottom of the box--especially if you have arthritic hands.  The best solution I've found in dealing with that issue is to lay a folded towel, or pillow, on your lap (to protect your legs from the box hinges) and set the box on your lap with the back of the box leaning against your desk and the lid opening towards your body (handle at top), and look through the papers like you would an open vertical file.  I've found this to be SO much easier to find what you're looking for, and the weight of the paper isn't so heavy on your wrists. 

holding your ArtBin vertically is an easier way to look through your papers
 As you can tell, I have several different methods for organizing all my 12x12 papers.  There are other, possibly better, ways such as buying a specifically made paper stacking unit that might be best if you have the space allowance.  However, part of the whole storage/organization concept is having a place to put it.  I have to think creatively when working in a smaller workspace that doubles as a bedroom, so I use what I have--and of course, buy on sale.  I take time to look around my space and see if I have any nooks & crannies that I might be able to use, then I find a storage solution that fits that space. 

Hopefully this will give you some ideas about using space & storage interchangeably to create the best solution for you.  Thanks for stopping by ~

Happy Dayz & Crafty Ways  ~  Lisa


  1. Great storage Lisa! I have a few of those Artbins for my 12x12 papers, they're brilliant! Love your little teahouse below too! x

  2. Super organized, lady! Looks like a really good system. It's especially nice to corral all those 12X12 paper packs in a limited area.

  3. I need you to come and get me all organized!!! Great idea! The corner punch is by EK Success and I am sure I bought it a Michael's or JoAnn's with a coupon. Not sure what the actual name is, but it looks like a heart! Have a lovely afternoon!


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