by Andrea Steed
What is the best way to store 12” x 12” patterned papers and cardstock? As a scrapbookers’ stack of papers and cardstock grows, this question may weigh more heavily on their mind. Thankfully, now there are several manufacturers who have realized the importance of paper storage and have answered the pleas of scrapbookers everywhere. The question isn’t “How to do it?” anymore, but “Which system and products will work for me?”
Below are several options for storing 12” x 12” cardstock and patterned paper. Some are products designed specifically with scrapbook papers in mind and others are make-shift solutions put together by a scrapbooker in need. Take a look at several solutions to see which will work best for you.
Assess Your Needs
The first step in choosing a storage system is to assess your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have more cardstock or patterned paper?
A collection primarily made up of cardstock might be best stored in horizontal paper trays arranged by color. A smaller assortment of patterned papers could then be stored in one or two trays or an accordion folder. On the other hand, if you have primarily patterned papers, you may prefer a vertical storage system that allows you to easily browse and see the patterns on each sheet from above.
How much space do I have to devote to my paper collection?
Where you have room available in your scrap space may help determine the best method of paper storage. For instance, if you have a narrow footprint where you can store your paper, but have a large amount of paper to store, you might consider paper towers or stackable paper trays so you can store your paper horizontally, while building vertically to save floor space. Then again, if you have windows, shelving, or a desktop that prevent you from building up, you may prefer a shorter, but wider storage system in the form of hanging file storage bins sitting on the floor.
Do I need to have a portable storage system?
If you plan to take your storage system with you when you go to a crop, look for a system that travels well. Handles, wheels, and a cover are all handy ways to bring your paper with you. If portability isn’t important to you, then more heavy-duty and permanent options may be more applicable to your situation.
Categorize Your Papers
Another factor to consider before choosing a storage system is how you organize your papers. Knowing how many categories of paper you have and how they will be divided will help you determine how many shelves, folders, or containers you will need for your storage system.
As you begin to categorize your paper, think about the way you scrapbook. When you go searching for a sheet of paper to use, are you looking for a particular type of pattern, or are you looking for a specific color? Do you know the manufacturer you want to use for a layout, or do you like to mix and match papers from various manufacturers? Answering these questions will help you know how you should organize your papers so that you can quickly and easily find exactly what you are looking for. You may find that organizing by manufacturer is more easily done one way and organizing by color or pattern is best done another.
Here are several examples of paper organization categories:
Categorize by Color
Since so much of scrapbooking revolves around color, this is a very popular method of organizing. Regardless of the pattern, manufacturer, or material of a sheet of paper, if you need red, you’ll be able to see all of your red paper options in one place.
Categorize by Pattern and Style
Basic patterns tend to be repeated among the various patterned papers available. If you like to add specific pattern styles to your pages, you may prefer to organize your patterned papers by the style or pattern so that you can see all of your striped paper options at once, for instance.
Themed (pets, holidays, seasons, school, etc)
Realistic (animal prints, wood grain, photographic scenes, etc.)
Specialty Paper (mulberry, handmade, velveteen, metallic, etc.)
Categorize by Manufacturer
If you tend to buy paper in large packs or are partial to a few specific manufacturers and always use their papers together, this might be a good option so that you can keep coordinating papers grouped together.
Ultimately, this is your system and it should fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to combine aspects of these suggestions. For instance, you may want to divide your papers by color, and then have additional sections for your favorite manufacturers, and yet another section for themed papers. As long as you know where to look, you’ll be a step ahead.
Don’t Toss Your Scraps
As you decide on a storage system, be sure to consider how you will store your scraps or leftover pieces of paper. Individual plastic drawers, folders or even ziplock baggies are a good way to find what you’re looking for quickly. For consistency and ease, the organization method you use for storing scrap pieces should compliment the method you’ve chosen for your larger sheets of paper. Using the same categorizing system and a similar storage method will increase the likelihood that you’ll check your scraps before pulling a full sheet to create a photo mat or journaling block.
Now that you know what you have, you probably have a better idea of the type of storage you need. Here are some options for storage solutions:
Vertical Storage Systems
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Paper Product Reviews
Scrapbook Supply Storage Solution Reviews
Using Patterned Papers in Scrapbook Pages