Saturday, September 24, 2011 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Organizing All That Paper!!

Call me collectively cheap! I searched a variety of videos and blogs as well as Google images to see how artists stored their punches. Most artist stored their punches either in shallow drawers, which is how I had mine, but being a visual, I needed mine where I could see them, which is why the second way appealed to me which was to display them on the wall. How I saw them was to hang them on the wall using towel rods, but when I went to the store and priced towel rods, I was like, "No way am I paying those prices for towel rods!" I knew that I would need at least three and eventually more. The ones photographed above aren't ALL that I have!! =)  So, I went over to the curtain department and got the $.97 curtain rods which come with the metal hangers and got three of them. They work perfectly! So for less than $3, I have the perfect organizer for my punches and plenty of room to add more!! So is it any surprise that I organize in the cheapest way and share them with you?!

Now, let's talk more about paper, studio papers, art papers, collage papers and scrapbook papers. I want to frighten you by sharing with you how I organize some of my favorite pieces and then how many of my friends shared they organize theirs...believe me, they are more organized than I on this topic. When I moved into the newest studio space, which is still under development, I found that I had a large collection of one brand of scrapbook paper. So, I labeled several 12x12 drawers with that brand name and placed that paper inside. Then I went by theme: guy paper, Christmas, projects I have planned, Asian, black, white, glitter, rub-ons, acetate, even chipboard, just to name a few of my labels. Then I have one labeled kits that are from a particular company that I love. I have many more drawers but this gives you a glimpse of how I have gotten started.

One of my favorite suggestions from my friends was organizing by color because I am a visual and I think it would be easier to add these papers to my projects or pages when I am working. Plus I could find the papers easily. I also thought of putting the accessories in the same neighborhood with the papers for easy access. Another, placed her collections by theme so that in her busy life she could pull whatever she needed for crops or her work travels and take it with her. She scrapbooks all the time even at ball practices and when she is traveling with her job. So she pulls coordinating materials to go with the photos she has printed and she is ready to go. ((Yes, I am jealous ALL the time of her lol))  Then there is organizing by manufacturer, which is something I really should consider since I can never ever remember who makes which papers! If you don't believe me just watch my videos...I get tongue tied trying to remember! I have ADD and get so excited over a piece of beautiful paper that I totally forget! By manufacturer you then can revisit that company again and again to enjoy their designer team's work and use it often. I did that with some of mine when I realized how much I had from one company. Then surprisingly I found that one of my friends organized her paper by specialty paperscard-stock, and color. Regardless whatever works for you, most said they tried different methods before finding the one that worked best for them.

Scraps: I place mine in a plastic container with a lid and then use it from time to time before going through it punching it between two of my favorite punches to use on various projects and then donating the larger scraps. One friend swaps her scraps at crops while another organizes her's within her paper system and uses them. Collage items: I just put mine in a labeled drawer, but alternatives are pizza boxes, paper trays, and decorative shoe boxes if you don't have plastic storage units, these work for your papers too (remember papers can absorb chemicals from cardboard, google for more information). I do like to store music pages, hymnal pages and book pages in boxes so they get that aged look and then use them in my projects but then I have tons of old books that I pull pages from. A guy friend of mine once asked, "Is that legal to tear a page from a book?" I replied, "Only if you are me!" True, you know...

I hope these have been helpful in getting at least some of your papers organized. Consider donating or sending a RAK (random act of kindness) to someone of extra papers you no longer think you will use to remove the clutter from your life. That way you will create more room to organize the items important you as well as get to shop for more!!! =) I would LOVE to hear what your favorite organizational tips are! I am in the midst of moving into a new studio space and need all the help I can get! Remember, we are all in this together, sharing is helping one another have more time to create...which makes us all better people...all the time...others like us more when we do...=)



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