7 Top Scrapbook Organization Tips

Please welcome this week’s Guest Writer on Scraps of Mind.
Erika from
Scrapbook Obsession is a passionate scrapbooker who is on a never ending quest for ways to tame her scrapbooking stash and keep it organized. In today’s article she shares seven of her top tips for a more organized scrapbooking space. When you’ve enjoyed Erika’s article, why not click over and check out her blog?
Don’t forget, you too can join the Journalist Team at Scraps of Mind and showcase your work to other Scrapbookers by writing a Guest Post and getting published on Scraps of Mind.

Is your scrapbooking area organized?

Or do you sometimes avoid scrapbooking because you know you won’t be able to find something when you need it? Or better yet, you can’t even find a clear space on your desk to scrap?

My organizational level seems to rise and fall. At times, everything is a huge mess with no hope of finding what I need. Other times, my scrap area is neat and tidy, allowing me to create freely and stress-free.

In hopes of getting you to the second condition, I thought I’d share some general organizational tips I’ve picked up over the years:

1. Use Online Resources

There are so many great resources to help you become organized the online ones are the fastest, cheapest and easiest to find.

Just type “scrapbook organization” into Google and you will find a huge list of references. One of my favorites is Organized Scrapbooks (www.organizedscrapbooks.com). They have been around for awhile and have tons of ideas, free printable forms, and photos of organized spaces.

Another favorite is the Yahoo group called Scrappers Challenge (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ScrappersChallenge/). If you sign up for the e-mail list, the moderator routinely sends out reminders and little challenges to help you achieve or maintain scrapbook space organization. Members of the list (there are over 8,700!) submit specific questions and members help each other with suggestions or success stories. They also have a photo gallery you can peek into for ideas.

Another favorite place of mine is the Gallery at 2 Peas (http://twopeasinabucket.kaboose.com/). Many “Peas” have posted their organized scrapbook spaces and they usually include several photos, with detailed descriptions of how or why they organized as they did.

So when looking for ways to organize your scrap area, the internet is a wonderful place to start.

2. Divide and Conquer

Once you’ve checked your resources and have some great ideas in mind, I think the next step is to divide and conquer.

By that I mean to spend some time separating your stuff into categories, so you can get a fair idea of how much you have of each item, and how much space it takes up. For instance, gather all of your 12×12 paper and cardstock and, at least as a starting point, get it into stacks, pizza boxes, vertical holders, or some kind of grouping.

Put all your ribbon into one pile or shoebox (okay, 3 shoeboxes!). Gather your photos from all over your house and place them into one large Rubbermaid bin. The point of all this is to get a visual of what you have and how much of each type of item. By the way, here are a couple of cool ideas for you to make ribbon storage.

If you sort your scrapbook items by type (or whatever categories you choose), it will be so much easier to find things when it’s time to scrap.

3. How Do You Scrap?

I think this is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself.

Think about your own individual process (NOT the way Becky or Ali or Lisa B. does it, but YOURS). Do you design your layouts based on the colors? Then your supplies should be organized by color, so when you need blue and white embellishments for a page, you go to the blue section and the white section.

Do you tend to scrap by sticking to all one designer’s paper, embellishments and letters? Then organize your stash by designer. I noticed this was the “method to my madness,” so why did I have Basic Grey baby paper with baby stuff and Basic Grey letters with letter stickers? Now I keep everything I have by Basic Grey in one container.

If you sort your stuff the way you scrap, it will be so much easier to find things, and so much more intuitive to put things away when you buy them.

4. Purge…Then Buy Containers

As you sort your things into piles that make sense for YOU, purge as you go along.

I’m sure you have some paper that is no longer your style, stickers representing a sport or hobby your family no longer participates in, etc.

While you’re organizing is the perfect time to purge. Why bother taking time and making space for something you’re never going to use? I recently purged my scrapbook supplies and ended up with a box of stickers and papers for kids crafts, and a bag I donated to a grateful friend who was just starting to scrap.

Does your local scrapbook store hold “garage sales”? What better way to get rid of your unwanted items and earn a little money…perhaps to buy new supplies that inspire and excite you.

Once you’ve cleared out unwanted supplies, and you have a visual of how much stuff you need to store, start gathering containers or utilizing more effectively the ones you already have.

5. Go Vertical!

Nothing has changed my scrapbook space organization more than “going vertical” with my paper storage.

Cropper HopperBefore, I had my 12×12 papers stored in a horizontal paper rack I bought, used, when an LSS closed, combined with accordian style folders with handles. When I saw these Vertical Paper Holders by Cropper Hopper, a light dawned in my head.

I said to myself, “If you change your paper over to those vertical holders, you can save so much room, cut down on the dust, and flip through your papers much more easily.”

So I switched all of my papers and cardstock over – I “went vertical” – and it was the best thing I ever did. They only cost about $5 to $7 each and are well worth the investment.

6. Go Big!

One thing I’ve learned the hard way is: When buying scrapbook storage items, always buy bigger or more than you think you’ll need. You WILL outgrow it if you buy too small.

Here is an example: When I first started scrapping, I bought a Creative Memories Journaling Mate Case to hold my often-used pens and tools. These are my “right hand items” which literally sit to the right of my desk within easy reach because I use them on every layout or project. Well, as time went on, I collected more pens, another pair of scissors, and added a second pen case. Needless to say, as my expertise in the craft grew, and my collection of craft knives, paper piercers, mini-staplers, erasers, file sets, etc. continued to expand, every small storage item I added to the mix was outgrown.

I’ve now finally settled on a Cropper Hopper Flat Pack, which holds all my adhesives, erasers, staples, etc. and a mini ToteAlly Cool Mini Tote for my pointy tools and pens.


Cropper Hopper

If I had just “gone big” in the first place, I could have saved myself a lot of time in reorganizing, shopping and adding small caddies not to mention the money I would have saved. Just cut to the chase and buy the larger storage item from the beginning because I guarantee you’ll fill it up someday.

7. Purge Your Packaging

Depending on how you store your supplies, one great space saver may be to unpackage your supplies like I have. I keep my themed embellishments in the ScrapRack (this photo is from the Scraprack website):

scrap rack

I know many people use similar systems that utilize page protectors of some sort, whether Crop In Style binders with 12×12 slotted pages, or a regular office binder with 8.5 x 11 page protectors.

When it dawned on me that my stickers and embellishments were being shielded inside the plastic protector anyway, I asked myself, “Why not take them out of the packaging they came in?” I now have them filed in their protectors without the packaging and, wow, what a space-saver that has been.

Take one look at your full trash can after you purge all the packaging, and you’ll see how much room you were wasting just to “store” packaging.

I’ve heard one objection to removing items from their packaging is that, if you submit pages for publication, you need the packaging for your materials lists. A solution would be, before you toss the packaging, to use a Slickwriter or similar marker to write the pertinent information on the plastic sheet, back of the sticker sheet, or on a sticky note that you file in the sleeve with the item.

Well, there are 7 of my organizing tips and tricks. I hope you are able to put them to use, and organize your scrapbook space for maximum creativity!

Erika writes the Scrapbook Obsession Blog where she shares more scrapbook organization ideas as well as her great scrapbook layouts and other scrapbooking tips.

Other articles you might like:

Scrapbook Organization for Ribbons

Scrapbook Organization on a Budget

Hybrid Scrapbooking – what’s it all about?


19 Responses to 7 Top Scrapbook Organization Tips

  1. Erika March 19, 2008 at 4:19 am #

    Hi Karen ~ I was so excited to be on your blog, I had to come over first thing and see! Thanks again for the opportunity. I hope your readers will feel welcome to come visit my blog anytime. Oh, and one little disclaimer that I didn’t make clear in the article: All of the photos are NOT from my scrap room, but taken from various places on the internet. Thanks again!

    Erika’s last blog post..Fiskars ?Threading Water? Scallop Punch

  2. karooch March 19, 2008 at 10:55 pm #

    Well your article looks great Erika and I hope that folk who read it here click over and check out the rest of your blog. I love the way that this Guest Article spot is such a great two way street.

  3. Tink March 20, 2008 at 11:53 pm #

    Fantastic article Erika. Thank you for all the great ideas.

  4. Barbara March 24, 2008 at 6:50 am #

    I am always sorting through my ‘stuff’ before I am able to start another project. I try to organize, but never seen to keep my area clear enough to be usuable. I have to share what little room (our tiny dining room was converted to an office) I have with my husband so he can pay bills, and I never seem to have adequate storage for the things I have accumulated. I am always on the look out for ways to better organize and reorganize everytime I use my area. Things just seem to get stashed higher and higher until I just can’t stand it any longer. I have come up with little ideas that have helped over time, but there are always new challenges that arise with the new tools and other items and how to store them. Then as I saw on one of the other blogs, we can get a little carried away when we see a ‘sale’ on our favorite scrapbook supplies and we can get carried away. I at one time had wanted to start an at home business, but really cannot afford the space to keep stock on hand, and have not been able to start a website up yet. I am in the midst of organizing an all day crop and gathering items for that, so there will be quite a few things I am collecting for that.
    Anyway, thanks, for the article. Any help is always appreciated.
    Also, I ran across this while searching for crop party ideas and have been impressed with the site and plan to bookmark it for future references… Thanks, Barbara.

  5. karooch March 24, 2008 at 5:55 pm #

    Wow, Barbara. You sound like life is a whirl. Organisation is one of my bug bears too. I think I must have a disorganised mind because i find it really difficult.
    It’s one of the reasons that I’m so in awe of people like Erika who are so tuned in to it.
    Ah well, maybe one day.

    And I’m so glad you like Scraps of Mind. I’ll look forward to seeing you around the Scraps of mind community in coming weeks.

  6. aureen August 18, 2008 at 10:06 am #


  7. karooch August 18, 2008 at 10:13 am #

    Hi Maureen

    When people start out in scrapbooking they often look at scrapbooking magazines or blogs like this to get ideas and then try things out for themselves. Paper scrapbookers will often take a class at their local scrapbook shop.

    And if you’re interested in starting to learn digital scrapbooking then check out Step by Step Digital Scrapbook which is a site especially designed to help beginners get started. There is heaps of information and videos and also links to a digital scrapbooking mentoring program which I run that will teach you step by step how to do it.

  8. Lucia May 7, 2009 at 5:49 am #

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I am always trying to organize my stuff.

    • karooch May 7, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

      You’re very welcome Lucia. I’m glad Erika’s article has helped you. She’s got some great ideas.

  9. Camille Tan June 23, 2010 at 12:17 am #

    Thanks for sharing these tips. This is helpful to those who find it hard to organize their work.

  10. Stacey Reich July 28, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    I just posted your link to my Scrapbooking Room Organization Page On Facebook (: Thanks for the great ideas (:

    • karooch July 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

      Thanks a lot Stacey.

  11. Andrea the Premade Scrapbook Lady August 29, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    Thanks so much for posting this! Purge, purge, purge…that’s the key for me! It’s so easy to keep collecting, collecting, collecting! Thanks also to Erika for writing this article and for all the links. I’m off to visit her website next!

  12. Stef September 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    I am not the most organized person in the world, especially when it comes to my scrapbooking supplies. At times, I think I have too much, and maybe purging would be a great benefit to me. Storing paper vertically looks like a great idea, and is such a huge space saver. I’ll have to take a look at storing my paper in that way.

    • karooch September 14, 2010 at 8:36 am #

      I find every new scrapbooking organization idea I try helps to manage the ever growing mountain of my scrapbooking stash. Why oh why can’t I stop buying more until I’ve used up what I have?


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