While I’ve got most of my stamping area cleaned up and reorganized, I’m still tweaking things around the edges and figuring out how to store a few more kinds of stamping stuff. This is today’s addition to my reorganization project.
You may remember that my stamping area takes up one quarter of a large room while my office takes up another quarter right next to it. When I got most of my stamping area in shape, I turned to my office area. Sigh. I’ve been cleaning out file cabinets that have been accumulating paper for years. My shredder and I have spent many hours together over the past week getting rid of a big chunk of it. (I am now very weary of shredding!) But the by-product of this is that I’ve liberated this IRIS file drawer from my office area and reassigned it to craft storage duty. It now sits in the low area to the immediate right of my stamping work area (an area that was empty.)
In the course of reorganizing, my templates and stencils have moved several times, ending up piled up in two drawers in a wood chest of drawers in the corner. I still wasn’t really happy with this because while it gave them plenty of space, you have to paw through everything to find anything. Today, I moved them to a new home that I think will work better.
For this storage, I was inspired by Lindsay Weirich’s June 30th blog video, “Stencil Storage Solution.” She divided up her stencils into basic categories and sorted them into regular (non-hanging) file folders and lined up the folders on a shelf. This approach lets you grab a folder of stencils to take over to your work area as needed.
When I realized that I was going to be able to free up a file drawer, I decided to riff on Lindsay’s idea by sorting my stencils and templates into categories that work for me. Instead of regular file folders though, I used some expansion and box bottom file folders I already had (the kind that have bottoms about 2″ deep. I did this because I wanted the contents of each folder to have plenty of room so that I could 1) flip through a category without having to take the whole folder out and 2) allow room for a few longer stencils that had to be gently curved to fit into the folder. (My file drawer is only letter size; legal size would really be better!)
I kept most of my stencils and templates in their original packaging because it makes even small stencils like this one easy to find in the folder. Because I look down into this file drawer, I decided not to go with regular folder tabs and printed up labels on my computer printer, applied adhesive using my Xyron machine and stuck them at the back of each folder. These larger labels are easier for me to read than the small plastic tab type system. Although it wouldn’t work well in a very full file drawer, it works in this looser arrangement of folders.
I have a folder at the front where I put interesting and clever cards and boxes that arrive in junk mail that may be the inspiration for a future card or box. Then I’ve got several folders for templates (Envelopes & Boxes, Cards, Books & Bindings) and several for stencils (Alphabets & Words, Children & Holiday, Backgrounds & Borders, Things, Blank Stencil Material.) I also have another folder with a few stray mortise masks I’ve cut at various times to go with stamps.
I don’t have a lot of templates and stencils and I don’t use the ones I have very often. But I’m hoping that with this easier to access storage, I’ll use what I’ve got more.
How do you store your stencils and templates?