Sunday, May 31, 2009

My system for organizing stamp sets

I have been asked to share my stamp set organizational system several times and I keep meaning to, but I keep putting it off and then I forget. I figured since I mentioned it in my last blog post, and again was asked to share it, that I should do it now before I forget again. So here you have it, my stamp set organizational system.
First I took my stamp sets and I sorted them into categories. (I wanted to do them in categories because when I know I am doing a Christmas card I didn't want to have to sort through the binder until I found a Christmas set, now I can just go straight to that section.) I have Floral, Animals, Nature, Children, Other Occasions, Whimsical/Fantasy, Every Occasion, Words/Sentiments, Christmas, Patriotic, Tags, Background, Miscellaneous, And then all my single stamps. I also have my wheels in this book as well so that I have them at a glance as well, however all my wheels are in special cases made for storing wheels so those are easy to find. After I separated them into categories I stamped each set onto a piece of white cardstock and then labeled them in the book (I'll show more of that in a moment). As for my book, I have an ordinary 3 ring binder (I didn't take a picture of it, cause it's just and ordinary 3 ring binder. ;-) Next as you will see, in my binder I color coded each category.The lines you see show the separation of sets so I know what stamp goes in which set. Then I wrote under each set in the book, the sets name, the category and # that set is in the category along with the brand of stamps it is (Stampin UP, TAC, Missy B, Hanna Stamps, MFT, Etc.) and how many stamps are in that set.
Next I labeled each set with the colored label, category, and set # that corresponds with what is in the book.

As I get a new set it gets stamped into the book and labeled accordingly and then gets put on my shelf. It was alot of work when I started this system, but now it's really easy to keep up with it. The hard part in the beginning was the time that putting it together consumed.

Here is where my system comes into play. Take for example when I was making my niece's graduation card the other day, as I said before I didn't remember having a graduation stamp. So I opened the book and started flipping through. I came to the Every Occasion category and my Year After Year set from SU.

As you will see, it's listed in the book as Year After Year, Every Occasion # 7 (which means it's the 7th set I have in that category) and then set of 8 (because there's 8 stamps in the set) and that it's a Stampin Up set. (The brand of stamp, is important and I'll show you why in a minute.) I saw that there was a graduation cap in the set. Perfect!

So now I had to find the set. So I go to my shelf, and I know from what my book has labeled that I am looking for a Stampin Up set, color category orange for Every Occasions, set # 7.

Look! There it is! It took me literally less then 10 seconds to find it. Since I knew what color category I was looking for and what set # it was.

Now, the reason I put the brand is because different brands are stored differently. All of my SU sets are all mounted on wood blocks, so I know if it's an SU set that I am looking only in the SU plastic cases. My unmounted sets are all kept in either CD cases or DVD cases. It just cuts down on the looking time if I know the brand I am looking for with how I have them stored.

Here is a shot of my TAC sets so you know what I'm talking about. Some of these cases have more then 1 set in them so you'll see that those cases have 2 labels.

Here is a shot of my single stamps. They are all on my top shelf and are at the back of the book. That way if I choose a single stamp I know where they are located too.

Is this system complex? I don't think so, but some may. It works for me though. It sure has cut down on the time it takes to find a set to use. Before I started doing this I found that I would be standing at my shelf for sometimes 30-45 minutes just pulling out sets and looking for the ones I wanted to use. Now that I have this system it has cut down that time drastically. I will look through the book and in less then a minute find the set I want and then it takes me around 5-15 seconds tops to find that set on the shelf. So in less then a minute I'm stamping rather then it taking 30-45 minutes to even start a card.

So there you have it! Clear as mud? I hope I didn't confuse you all too much and that this makes sense. Like I said, the most time consuming part is when you start the system having to stamp every set into the book by category and then labeling the set and the book. But once you have all your currently owned sets done, it's fairly easy to keep it up as you add new sets to your collection. :)


Jennifer said...

You are so organized. I remember seeing your binder in KS and thinking I soooo need to do that...hasn't happened yet! You did inspire me to reorganize my craft room/office so maybe this is next.

Proud Mom said...

Thanks for that great description -- I'm looking forward to organizing myself that same way!

BloomingPink said...

Great idea! How long did it take you to organize it all? I think a similar system might work for my unmounted (on cling cushion) and my SU stamps sets. I have been trying to find some way to organize them - trying to find my cling cushion stamp or SU set takes me quite some time right now. (and it's especially difficult to remember where I found the cling cushion mounted stamp and return it to the correct tray).