I get frustrated when I sit down to make a card for a birthday, anniversary, or other occasion, and can't find the stamp I'm looking for. The stamps usually come in sets of 6 or 8 and the name of the set is always something clever like 'Tart & Tangy' or 'Sun-kissed;' not intuitive or descriptive enough to know what would be in that set without opening the box. Here's how frustrating it is - all I see is wood blocks and have to take out each set to look at them and decide if that's what I want. UGH:
Today was the day to fix this. Don't know why, it just was. Here's what I was working with after I took alllllllll the stamps out of their boxes:
I know if a Stampin' Up demonstrator or loyal customer saw this they might scream at me for breaking up the sets, but I don't really care that the popsicle, Happy Birthday, and flip flops are in the same box together just because they came that way. That system doesn't make sense to me - my brain works by grouping like objects into categories, so as I was taking the stamps out of their original packaging I was also thinking about options for a long-term storage system that would make it easier to find what I need quickly.
Then the light bulb went off!
A few weeks ago I was in Joann Fabrics looking for scrapbook paper for a gift and I came across these 12x12 plastic Protect and Store boxes. I stood there, thinking 'hmmmmm,' but didn't buy them because I was on a mission for this paper and couldn't think of a purpose for them at that moment. As I sorted the stamps today, I thought about these boxes, which I remembered to be about 2 stamps deep, and decided they'd be the perfect solution.
I bought five, thinking I could just return any that wouldn't fit in the empty part of my craft closet where they would be living. When I got home, I put the lids on each box and stacked them to figure out how many would fit, so I'd know how many categories I needed. Luckily, all 5 fit with an inch or 2 to spare at the top...
Once I knew I could have 5 broad categories, I started putting all the individual stamps in piles, like holidays, phrases with no pictures, pictures with no phrases, trees, hearts, etc. I knew I'd have to combine some piles later, but this helpful to see how many duplicates or even similar stamps I had (why do I need 5 'thank you' stamps?). Once I had my piles, I started purging. I'll tell/show you how many I purged in January, during my January Junk Jettison :)
I ended up with these 5 categories - Nature, Phrases, Objects, Holidays, and Large stamps:
I broke out my Dymo to label each box and slid them into their new home on the closet shelf. This makes it so much easier to grab the appropriate box when I want a tree stamp, or 'Congratulations' rather than looking through 2 Rubbermaid boxes and a basket and a Mason jar and a drawer to find the one I'm looking for. Now they're all in 1 place! It's the simple things that make me happy...
And the $15 I paid for these 5 boxes is well worth a more organized system for storing these stamps! It was a happy accident that they just happened to be on sale today, down from $4.99 each! Yay!