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Organizing Your Scrapbook, Paper Arts And Beading Supplies

For today's column, we're going to talk about storage options for our scrapbook, paper and beading supplies. If you're a regular reader of mine, you know I'm always saying, "Go vertical!" And it doesn't matter if we're talking about a craft room, kitchen, bedroom or garage; to maximize space you must go vertical.

I love the upright towers for storing scrapbook sheets and stamp pads. If you purchase the plastic variety, there are pros and cons to them. On the plus side, they're inexpensive and the drawers are usually clear, enabling you to see their contents. On the downside, the drawers are flimsy when partially pulled out. Your other option is to reuse an old upright wooden chest of drawers. You may already have something like this tucked away in your garage or basement--go check it out now! (well, not right at this exact moment)

Anyway, I'll give you an example. The winner of my 2005 Messiest Sewing Room ContestTM also loves to scrapbook and make her own greeting cards. She had long ago purchased a couple of ugly (but sturdy) narrow wooden chest of drawers at a yard sale and was using them to store her hundreds of stamp pads. All I did was to have these chests painted, install new drawer knobs, and use my handy label maker to label the drawers. These towers looked brand new, and were much more sturdy than the plastic variety.

Speaking of scrapbook paper, I prefer to store them flat instead of vertically in a hanging file. Did I actually say, "Don't go vertical when storing paper???" In this instance, yes! Here's the scoop: Paper bows when supported on the bottom and standing vertically (those of us who are former secretaries are nodding our head emphatically). If you're able to stand your paper vertically and have it compressed on both sides, then you're fine. Now, when I do store them horizontally, I don't want them in a big stack. If you've got different types of paper in a stack an inch thick or more, of course you're going to want a sheet towards the bottom! Use a narrow drawer or slot instead. The great thing is that our storage options continue to multiply. If you haven't checked out your local scrapbook supply store lately, stop in soon!

Other storage possibilities exist with having customized built-ins installed. If you're fortunate enough to have these, I envy you! The pros and cons of these are simple. The pros are that you have a professional, completely customizable storage system and work area. The cons are that they are expensive, are not portable (they become a permanent fixture in your home), and there's usually a lead-time of 6-8 weeks between ordering and installation. Here in Arizona, I work exclusively with Classy Closets (, and my clients have been very pleased with the results! Their closets are made from 3/4" thermofused melamine, which is a durable, furniture-grade material. They also use concealed Euro-hinges and hardware (which I love!). The drawers pull out smoothly, and there's the option of installing full-extension glides (how many times have we pulled out drawers and been unable to reach everything in the back of the drawer--very frustrating). The grand prize for the Messiest Sewing Room ContestTM is highly-efficient storage and work area, custom-designed and installed by Classy Closets! The 2006 winner has not yet been announced, so keep an eye out for my future columns or check out my website.

Now, let's quickly talk about beading. Coincidentally, I attended a class yesterday on how to use your sewing machine to sew beads on garments or quilts. I was a bit skeptical, because I envisioned glass beads shattering if punctured incorrectly with the needle. While that can happen if you aren't careful, I learned a great technique that is much quicker than hand sewing. All that aside, let's talk bead storage. I have found that the easiest way to store beads is in small, stackable containers that screw together. You then have a long, sectioned tube that is portable to classes. I don't label the containers--I find it's easier to see at a glance what I actually have than to try and create a short labeled description.


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