Scrapbook Organization on a Budget

Today I want to talk about how you can bring some scrapbook organization to your stash without breaking the budget.

scrapbook organizatonOnce you start scrapbooking your scrapbook supplies seem to increase like rabbits and storing them can become a challenge. Erika from Scrapbook Obsession wrote a great guest post on scrapbook organization tips a few months ago and I’ve also written about organizing your digital scrapbook supplies.

But scrapbook storage products can be pricey, especially when you need so many of them. Fortunately there are many scrapbook organization budget alternatives which you can use to store your supplies and have fun with personalizing them as well. After all, we are scrapbookers aren’t we?

Stamp, Punches and Equipment Storage

You really can’t go past the humble shoe box for this. there is always someone in the family buying shoes so you’ll have a constant supply to work with.

Now you can just bang a label on the end to tell you what the contents are and then stack them on a shelf or a cupboard. Or you can choose to personalize them by covering them with paper (I suggest pretty gift wrapping paper as the sheets are larger than scrapbooking paper) and adding a few scrapbook embellishments. Make your labels all the same design to keep a level of consistency. A good idea is to design them on your computer (a graphics editing program like Photoshop Elements is perfect for this or you can even come up with a good design using Word) and then print them out.

If you keep your boxes on an open shelf you might like to give them a colour theme that will coordinate with your room. In fact an overall colour theme for all your scrapbook organization solutions can be a great look.


The jam jar is your friend here.

Using similar jars creates a unified look that is very pleasing to the eye. Sort your flowers into however you want to theme them: it might be by colour or by size. And have a jar for each category.

And your decorating skills come into play here too. Paint the lids of your jars a matching colour and use your left-over scrapbooking supplies to dress them up. A set of matching decorated jars on a shell can look just stunning.

Ribbons and Fibres

Ribbons and fibres can easily get out of hand. Especially if you collect them from gifts and other sources where they don’t have a spool to keep them neat.

Well don’t ignore the used toilet rolls in your house. Now there’s always a constant supply of these, and they are brilliant to wind ribbon around and hold in place with a piece of tape or a pin. If you don’t like the cardboard colour then painting them a fresh white is a great option. Just make sure they are totally dry before you wind the ribbon on them.

And you can store all your new ribbon spools in one of your newly decorated boxes.

What about ribbon offcuts? Well, I refer you to the above section on jam jars.

Try storing off cuts of similar colours in the same jar. then when you need that little ribbon bow accent for your layout, you’ll easily be able to find a piece in the colour range you’re looking for.

Brads and Beads

Small compartmentalized boxes are very inexpensive and can be readily purchased from chain stores for a few dollars. they make great storage for your tiny embellishments such as brads and beads.

But if you don’t want to buy your storage then an old ice cube tray is a great compartmentalized box for your tiny bits. Just remember, unless you can craft a lid for it you will need to be careful where you store it as picking up a squillion beads is not a fun way to spend an evening.

Also smaller jars can make great storage for your tiny elements. And what about the small plastic containers that dips from the supermarket come in. Nothing should escape your beady eye when it comes to scrapbook organization possibilities.

Paper and Cardstock

Finding storage for your paper and cardstock can be a challenge. 12×12 is not a size that fits seamlessly into the world outside scrapbooking. If you scrapbook in a smaller size then a 3-ring binder filled with plastic pockets is a great and compact scrapbook organization solution for your papers.

But for the rest of us we need another solution.

For a long time I used an office file rack (like a giant toast rack) with all my papers and cardstock in office folders, sorted by colour. And I found that worked pretty well.

Another alternative is to try to get hold of some clean pizza boxes. Cut the lids off and stack them on top of each other, holding them firmly in place with tape. Then cover the outside with gift wrapping paper and you have an attractive set of 12×12 shelves for your paper and cardstock.

As you can see, no stone is left unturned in our pursuit of budget scrapbook organisation ideas.

Paper off-cuts and flat embellishments

I mentioned the 3-ring binder in the previous section. This is perfect for your paper off-cuts and flat embellishments.

Fill it with plastic pockets and store all your flat leftover bits there. If you keep them organized by colour it becomes easy to find that coordinating piece of paper to accent your layout.

And before I go…

This doesn’t really come under the heading of scrapbook storage solutions but I think it’s a vital part of scrapbook organization. Keep a container of baby wipes handy to your scrapbook area. They are a boon for fixing those scrapbooking mishaps with the over-eager glue applicator or the just-to-far ink smudge.

I know I’ve not covered all the budget scrapbook organization solutions here. Do you have any favourite ideas? Let’s hear about them in the comments below.

Other Related Articles:

Spring Clean Your Digital Scrapbook Stash

7 Top Scrapbook Organization Tips

A Dozen Ideas to Find Scrapbooking Time

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23 Responses to Scrapbook Organization on a Budget

  1. June Campbell from Scrapbook Video Tutorials August 21, 2008 at 1:30 am #

    Scrapbook organization is a huge challenge for me. I have many, many supplies and live in a small apartment. I have already converted what was once the dining area to a home office for my writing business, and my scrapbook supplies have taken over everything else. I like your tips, especially the one about using toilet paper rolls for ribbon. I have many ribbons and fibers. My current solution, which is far from perfect, is to string a long length of twine through the ribbon spools and tying the whole thing to a coat hanger. I hang the coat hanger(s) in the closet. I dream of having a larger place with a dedicated scrapbook room.

  2. Laura K August 21, 2008 at 5:24 am #

    An inexpensive idea I use are the new “Glad” disposible containers. They are all sizes, you can see through them and they are stackable. For boxes, I shop at a discount food store and they have tons of “box trays” that food was stored in. I have a large number of them in all sizes. I keep my colors seperated and put a piece of paper of each color on front of box.They fit perfectly on a book shelf. I use several to stand my ribbon spools on their side. I put like colors together and have beautiful “rainbow” boxes of ribbons. I have 2 cheap wire tray carts and can wheel them them in and out when working. They hold boxes and containers. Works for me!

  3. karooch August 21, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    Thanks June and Laura. I really like those ideas of yours.

    That coathanger idea sounds better than keeping the spools in a box June. And you can thread the toilet rolls on a coathanger too. Maybe even one of those trouser hangers with the tiered multiple rails.

    I like the thought of those see-through Glad containers Laura. I haven’t seen them here. I’ll have to look out for them in the supermarket.

  4. Judith January 7, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    I use the cleaned, clear Mayo jars to hold my glue sticks and silk flowers. The Kraft Mayo has a big lid that is easy to put things in and take out. It is free after you use your Mayo up. My scrapbook freinds love this storage idea. I do not like to throw good storage containers out.

  5. karooch January 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    What a cool idea Judith. Thanks a lot for sharing it with us. Yes, I have a problem with throwing out good things too. But I find it can be a double edged sword if you don’t have something that you can use them for straight away. I have a stack of boxes that I’m not sure what to do with but I’m afraid to throw away in case I need them.

  6. Janelle February 17, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    Just a thought – if you can’t easily find clean pizza boxes, try the local calendar store, especially in October-December. You know, those stalls that appear in the mall around Christmas time? The boxes their large calendars come in are about 13″ square and are free for the asking. These stalls go through a lot of boxes in a very short time, and I was able to completely outfit my paper storage with these. I also use them to store the supplies for a single album; I glue in a divider just at 12″ wide, and stack my papers with photos for layouts in the large side, and use the small section to hold the embellishments I’ll be using throughout the album.

  7. karooch February 17, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    What a great tip Janelle. Thanks a lot for letting us know about it. There could be a rush on calendar stores around the country now.

  8. Sophia Wilson May 26, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    Scrapbooking was one of my hobbies when i was in high school and college. it was quite fun.”~~

  9. Jennifer June 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    One cheap way of storing your die cuts is a binder with different page protectors. I use just a regular old binder from the dollar store, and than I went to a sports card store and they have quite a few different plastic pages. There’s the basic nine pocket card holders, but, they also have all a few other pages that have all different pockets that go from two pockets to twelve small pockets. It’s really simple cheap and doesn’t take up a lot of space. I even use the photo pages that hold 5×7 or 4×6 photos.

  10. Hanna June 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    There’s another one for PAPER and CARDSTOCK (I can’t take credit for this as my aunt, who is a nursery teacher, had the idea originaly and I just ‘stole’ it and altered it to my needs):
    achordion file folders or memo notes and a bunch of other names to … it’s also a great do it yourself project, look at paperama for inspirations. They sell realy nice ones too as well as diy kits. I don’t know if they’re big enough as I like to work poster-sized and allways make my own…

    The next idea is for the RIBBONS:
    If you don’t like to use toilet paper rolls (I always find the diameter too big) you can cut out strips of cardboard (from cerealboxes or cut up toilet paper rolls) and wrap it around that (in the way yarn to fix socks is sometimes wraped around cardboard), make a PDA hipster and hang it on a hook. You could also make tubes of any diameter you choose or use the packages from smarties and string them up like beads …you could even make spools out of cardboard (two circles and a tube stuck between them), but then again you might not have a constantly bored litle sister who makes them for you as presents (and lots of other stuff too, it’s like birthday and christmas every day, even though those presents are even better)

    WOW! That’s almost as long as the original article, sorry for all the rambling but I hope it helps!

    • karooch June 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

      That’s a great idea Hanna. Actually you can come up with some really cool and decorative ideas for storing ribbons. I pained a shoe box and then poked holed in one side. then I heaped a couple of dozen ribbons into it and poked them out through the holes.

  11. WSoard June 15, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    So I was reading through your cheap organization blog here…here are a few other ideas. For those of you with kids; utilize the baby food jars. Have a million wipe containers around? utilize them for whatever you need. Also why not clean up the baby formula can and decorate them and use them for items. Hit up the dollar stores…they have all kinds of small containers for objects that you might need somewhere to store. On the ribbon…use paper towel instead of toilet paper rolls and collect a dowel and a cheap towel rack that is easily removed to slide it onto. Just a few things I’ve come up with…hope it helps

    • karooch June 15, 2010 at 8:17 am #

      Thanks Whitney. All ideas are welcome because different things will suit different people in different circumstances.
      When you mentioned my ‘cheap organization blog’ I’m hoping you meant the ideas are cheap not the blog (grin).

  12. Hanna June 15, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    thanks :-D

    what do you do to prevent the ribbons from getting stuck

    • karooch June 15, 2010 at 8:19 am #

      I don’t seem to have any problem with the ribbons getting stuck Hanna. The lengths are usually a metre or two in length and they pull out of the holes pretty easily.

  13. Florence Mills July 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Scrapbooking was my hobby when i was still studying in high school, it is a good hobby and it is fun too.`-;

  14. LynB June 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    I find I have quite a collection of embellishments and really need a better way to store them. I found an old concertina file and fine this works well to store the sheets of various alphabetical stickers and various assortments of butterflies and flowers which each have a separate section and are much easier to find. I might also decorate the file as its black! thanks for your article there are some very handy hints I will be implementing to try and keep organized.

    • karooch June 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      Thanks for your handy concertina file tip Lyn. I like the idea of decorating it. I think I’ll be following that one up.

  15. Brandi August 24, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    I noticed that no body has discussed clear stamps. I have found 2 ways (depending on how many you have) that work well. 1) c.d. cases. Full sized, not the slim ones. Pop out the peice that holds the c.d. in and you just stick the stamps to both sides and close it up. You can see though each case without haveing to really dig. 2) for those like myself who have way to many because I can’t say no to sales, leave then on the plastic sleave they come on and use plastic sheets that hold cards for smaller packs and full size sheets for full packs. Slide them into the sheets and put the all in a big binder!

    • karooch August 24, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Hi Brandi
      Thanks for the great ideas. I use the binder option. I keep my clear stamps on sheets of acrylic stored in clear plastic sleeves in a binder. Of course the real challenge is making myself put them back in place as soon as I’ve finished using them. But I guess that’s the challenge with all my scrapbooking supplies.

  16. budget scrapbooking tips November 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Wow, your office space looks a lot like mine with all that stuff (only cleaner *grin*). Some good tips that I will be sure to put to use as organizing it all can be quite a challenge for me sometimes.


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