January 2012

18 posts.

Sort Your Paper

The most basic scrapping supply is also one of the largest, which means valuable space gets eaten up by stacks of this staple. Read on for 16 tips for tackling your piles of paper.

Vertical vs. Horizontal Storage

Want to store your paper vertically?

Use magazine-style paper sorters.

Fill a large filing cabinet with hanging folders for stashing paper.

Adapt a rolling tote or large crate as paper storage.


Need horizontal storage solutions?

Look for stackable paper trays to keep in your scrap space or tuck away in a closet, such as the stackable open paper trays.

Repurpose shelves that are more than 12″ deep for stacks of paper. Just make sure the shelves are out of direct sunlight so your paper doesn’t fade.

Use a plastic bin that fits 12×12″ paper and dividers.


Sorting Styles

Think about how you scrapbook. Do you typically:

–Have a specific color scheme in mind? You should sort by color.

–Scrap mostly events? Consider sorting by theme.

–Identify paper by manufacturer? Keep entire collections together.


Sorting by color makes it easy to find the perfect paper to coordinate with a photo, but it can get tricky with multicolor patterns. Create a separate category for these sheets to eliminate anxiety over paper sorting.


If you’re primarily an event scrapper, sorting by theme makes it easy to find paper for your pages. This method isn’t as efficient when you’re working on nontheme pages, so consider sorting everyday patterns—dots, stripes, and florals—by color.


If you’re constantly visiting manufacturer websites and know just by the look who made what pattern, sorting by manufacturer may be the method for you. This allows you to keep entire collections together—but it can be overwhelming if you’re looking for a specific color or theme.



Purchase a large, transparent envelope, such as the Cropper Hopper Scraps Storage, above, or an accordion folder, to organize scraps by size or color.

Store scraps in a clear tub, large drawer, or bin.

Create and stick to a size restriction. Don’t keep scraps smaller than 2×2″ unless they are from a truly precious paper that you are certain you will use again.

Every few months, go through your scraps and recycle those that you know you won’t use. Putting time between using that pretty sheet of patterned paper and deciding what to do with it makes it easier to place the remnants in the recycling bin.

Purchase inexpensive magazine holders. Label each holder by color and tuck your scraps into it. Store the scraps by your (organized) paper so you aren’t tempted to grab a full sheet.

“I have a wicker crate where I keep my favorite papers, sorted by manufacturer. It’s not all the paper I have, just my current faves that inspire me and that I plan to use in the near future.”—Contributing Editor Polly Maly


Learn how to sort your tools.

Learn how to sort your embellishments.

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Sort Your Tools

Finding the right tool when you need it is a key function of an organized scrapbook space. Read on for 12 tips for keeping your tools in check.

Sorting Styles

• Find a drawer adjacent to your work space and use drawer dividers to keep each tool in its spot.

• Designate specific spots for tools on pegboard. Hang containers for adhesive, writing utensils, and other small tools; suspend scissors and hand punches from metal hooks or brackets.

• “I like my most-used tools to be visible and within reach, so I use a tool tote on my desk.” —Contributing Editor Polly Maly


Stamps and Inks

• Store ink pads in a cassette tape or CD case holder or on a wire organizer.

• Slip stamps in a hanging shoe organizer and store them in a closet.

• Have a lot of wood-mounted stamps? Place them in a single layer in a drawer.


Die-cutting Tools

• If your die-cutting tool includes a mat, thread a ribbon through the top and hang it from a decorative hook above the
die-cutting tool.

• Store your die-cutting tool on top of a rolling cabinet or cart and keep the accessories below.

• Stash dies or cartridges in decorative baskets or binders with divided page protectors to hold each die or cartridge.



• Place punches on shallow shelves or in shallow drawers so it’s easy to see all of them at a glance.

• Tuck punches away in sturdy tubs decorated with punched cardstock identifying the tools inside.

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Negative Storage

Got pesky negatives hanging around? Make quick work of them with these tips.
  • Place negatives in clear plastic sheets or paper envelopes and boxes that are negative-safe.
  • Store your negatives separately from the prints, like at a friend’s house or in a safe-deposit box, to avoid losing both if something should happen.
  • Scan negatives and store them on CDs.

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Digital Organization Software

Digital organization software can be a great tool for wrangling digital pics. When choosing software, look for these beneficial features.


  • Tagging. Tagging means attaching additional information to the image to make searching easier. Being able to add custom search features, like “Uncle Rob,” to your photos is a major time-saver.
  • Sorting. If you choose to upload photos into folders by event or subject, it’s nice to have software that can sort by date as well.
  • Editing. It’s a great time-saver to be able to remove red-eye on the spot when uploading photos.
  • Backup features. Many programs will allow you to backup your photos onto DVDs or CDs at the touch of a button. This convenience leaves little excuse for slacking on backing up.
  • Ratings system. You may be able to rate your photos (think three out of four stars). This is a great way to find your very best photos quickly.
  • Online albums. Some software allows you to create online photo albums and e-mail them to others. This makes sharing your photos with family and friends a snap!

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Digital Storage and Backup

We don’t need to tell you that photos are priceless. Keep them safe for computer theft or failure by storing and backing up your files with these tips.

  • Keep an original file in one place and a copy of that file in another. Only store photos in folders on your computer temporarily, or you’ll have no backup if your hard drive fails.
  • Burning photos onto a CD or DVD is a great way to back them up–and it allows you to easily store photos in a separate location. Discs can be stored in fireproof sages, lockboxes, and special archival storage boxes. Bonus tip: Burning to disc is one of the more economical backup methods.
  • Back up photos on an external drive, and keep the originals on the internal hard drive or consider alternate storage space. Just don’t keep your external hard drive and computer in the same place–in the event of theft of fire, having them together won’t save your photos.
  • If remembering to back up regularly is too much, purchase a program that automatically encrypts and sends files from your computer to a server at an off-site location.
  • Several online sites offer photo storage. Not only can you order prints from these online retailers, but they also store your files remotely.
  • If you use an online storage site for backup, choose a site that doesn’t resize or compress your pictures.
Have trouble organizing your digital prints? Click here for our best tips!

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Sort Digital

Organizing digital photos may seem daunting, but once you become familiar with a system, it’s easy to maintain. Check out our sorting tips.

  • Get photos off your camera’s memory card as soon as possible.
  • Sort photos by person, year, or event.
  • Once your photos are on your computer, tag them. Most photo organization programs have this option.
  • If you don’t have tagging capabilities, use the file name a a way to label the photo. Rename “IMG0027″ “Soccer Team” to make it more identifiable.
  • If you duplicate a photo and convert it to black-and-white, add an identifying factor to the end of its name, like “bw,” to make it easier to sport which photo to print.
  • If you have a laptop, label your photos while watching TV or sitting on a plane.
Have printed photos you need to organize? See our tips here. 

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Store Your Prints

After you sort through all your photos, it’s time to store them for easy access. Here are our best tips for storage ideas.

  • No matter what storage method you choose, look for products that are archival and photo safe–otherwise the quality of your prints will deteriorate over time.
  • Remove prints from photo-processing envelopes–they’re often not acid-free and can damage photos–and place them in photo envelopes instead.
  • Place your prints in photo boxes and sort them with dividers. This makes it easy to flip through photos.
  • Divided page protectors offer the option of storing several photos in one protector. Keep these in scrapbook albums or store them separately.
  • Photo albums are a great way to store and display photo at the same time. Photos in albums are safe from fingerprints and stay organized.
  • Make sure to store your photos in a temperate place that isn’t damp or too hot or cold.
Learn how to organize and label your pics here. 

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Sort and Label Prints

Prints can pile up quickly. Turn to these tips to help wrangle your collection.

Split your prints into three piles: give, toss, and keep.

  • Give: Duplicates can go to family and friends.
  • Toss: If a photo doesn’t tell a story or spark an emotion, throw it out.
  • Keep: Organize this pile once you’ve sorts your stash.

Sort the photos you want to keep by date, people, or event. Think about how you’ll be looking for them later and sort in that style.

Minimize mess by sorting one album or box of photos at a time. Use clear plastic tubs to hold your piles so you can just slip the lid on them and tuck them away at quitting time.

Label your photos as you sort. Depending on your sorting method, labeling could be as easy as using:

  • Dividers: Add the dates and place them between photos.
  • Photo-safe envelopes: Label them and use to store piles.
  • Photo-safe pens: Mark the back of each photo with relevant information.

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