Papercrafting Organization: Keeping An Inventory of Supplies & Tools
Papercrafting Organization – Know What You Have & Stop Wasting Money!
Often I go to the store to purchase papercrafting & art supplies, items I need for a particular project.
The problem is, I always find myself buying more than what I intended to buy.
I can’t help myself. I walk up and down every aisle looking to see what’s new, and what’s on sale, and hit up the clearance section to see if any of the items I’ve been longing for have FINALLY gone on clearance!
The downside to shopping like this (besides spending more money than I intended to) is that I often find myself purchasing things that I already own because I just can’t seem to remember if I already have that color of Gelato or a 1.5″circle punch or that particular color of Stickles.
I know you can relate, right?
When I unintentionally buy a duplicate, I have to decide if I should keep the item and have two of that item in my stash, or give it away, OR make another trip to the store to return it, which is not a good idea because I will just end up buying more.
The worst part is that the money I spent on an item I either didn’t really need, or already own, could have been saved, or used to purchase something else I wanted. (OK, let me be honest here, I would definitely purchase something I need! LOL!!! )
So, in order to help myself be smarter about purchases, I’ve come up with a (simple to create and update) inventory system, a system that helps me to to avoid purchasing items I already own.
It’s a very simple system – all you need is:
- a binder,
- page protectors (full page and pages with assorted-sized pockets)
Now when I know that I’m going to the papercrafting or art supply store, I grab my binder and take it along with me.
When I see an item that I’d like to purchase, and I can’t remember if I already own it, I refer to my binder.
Here’s how I created this helpful (necessary!) tool for my creative life…
I started with a binder, one that I’ve had for several years.
Sorry I don’t remember the name of the manufacturer of the binder ( I think it may be by Heidi Swapp, but I’m not 100 percent sure), but it’s a two-ring binder with a thick, unfinished chipboard cover.
The binder measures 6.75″ tall x 10″ wide x 1.75″ thick and it came with several sheets of page protectors with different sized pockets.
Personally, I like the smaller binder size because it’s easier to stick in my bag and carry along with me, but you can use ANY size binder for this. There are so many different binders on the market, in different shapes and sizes. Find the one that will work best for YOUR needs, for keeping track of the types of supplies and/or tools you need to track.
NOTE: I do not keep track of EVERYTHING I have – I’d break my back trying to carry that binder around! 😉 I only include in this binder the items that I regularly shop for and/or the items that I am currently using a lot in my papercrafting and art projects. And because I am using a 2-ring binder, rather than something with fixed pages, I can easily replace and/or add pages and pockets when my needs change.
Here are a few different ways to keep track of your papercrafting and art supplies and tools using a binder…
Using Black Cardstock As Pages in Your Binder:
The following pictures show how I’m using a piece of black cardstock to keep track of items like Stickles, Distress Ink Pads, Inka Gold and Metallic Markers.
For items like Stickles and Dimensional Pearls, simply write the manufacturer and/or product name at the top of the page, and the colors you own (and/or other relevant product information) in a list below that (see example above).
Then, squeeze out some of each color, placing each squeezed sample next to its color name – and be sure to let it fully dry before moving on so you don’t end up with a mess on your hands.
Since my supply of Ranger Ink Distress Ink pads grew larger than the space I had on the page I’d allotted for them, I attached an extra piece of cardstock to the assigned page using washi tape – now I have extra space for more inventory.
To enter a new ink into your system, simply rub some ink onto a sticky label, place the label on your page and write the color name next to it (see above).
For my Inka Gold inventory (see below) I simply wrote the product name across the top of a full page and the color names down the left side below that, then swiped a bit of each color next to the corresponding name. Easy!
Making Pockets for Packaging Inserts:
Many products come with important information on the packaging, information you might want to keep. An easy way to store this information is to create a pocket for it.
In the example below, I measured the size of the page protectors that came with the binder and transferred those measurements to a blank sheet of cardstock. I then trimmed the cardstock to the right size, folded it in half and stapled it. And finally, I closed one of the openings with washi tape.
This now serves as a pocket to keep instructions and reference cards for particular items I own and I have available space for jotting down important notes, like colors and sizes.
Options For Using Full Pages:
Again, I measured the size of the page protectors that came with the binder, transferred those measurements to a blank sheet of cardstock, and trimmed the cardstock to size.
I use these full pages in three different ways:
Dedicating A Full Card To A Supply Or Tool Category –
Because I know my supply of Gelatos will grow, I dedicated one full page (front & back) to keeping track of just Gelatos.
Keeping Track of Punches I Own
You can keep track of your punches in several ways, here are two options:
1) Punch directly into the card stock; or,
2) Punch your image from a scrap piece of paper/cardstock and adhere that punched piece to a page in your binder.
The pictures above show how I’m doing it both ways.
Keeping Track of My Embossing Folders
My collection of embossing folders is quickly growing and I was having the hardest time remembering which ones I do and don’t own.
Now, when I’m at the store and I see one I like, I can quickly flip through my binder to see if I already own it.
To create an inventory of your embossing folders, simply place a section of the assigned cardstock in the embossing folder you want to add to your inventory – you only need enough of the design to remind you of what the image is. (I’m trying to get as many impressions on one page as possible, so that’s why I don’t imprint more of the design – it’s not necessary and would waste space.)
Keep adding embossed impressions until your page is full, then start another page.
You can also emboss a piece of scrap paper or cardstock and adhere that to your page, if you prefer – that’s what I did above, in the example with the embossed white paper.
And now, on to the page protectors…
Using Page Protectors In Your Binder:
In these two pictures you’ll see that I store color charts from products I’ve purchased in the page protectors that came with my binder.
Now I know what colors I own and which colors I still need to purchase.
Note: Some companies include a chart when you purchase their products; for others you’ll need to go online and download a chart from the company’s website, or from another source.
Note from Steph: Companies like Ranger Ink have updated product inventory charts for most all Ranger color products and they are easily downloaded from their website (via the link directly above).
I’m also using some of the included page protectors in my binder to store important reference papers from tools that I own, including papers like instruction manuals and usage charts.
Now I know exactly where these papers are when I need to reference them. Score!
One last thing I’m keeping track of in my binder: washi tape.
Using the Binder’s Covers:
I use the insides of the front and back covers of my binder to keep track of the washi tape I own.
When I get a new roll of washi tape, I tear off a small piece from the roll and stick it inside my binder.
Then, when I run out of a particular design, I open my binder and remove it – I usually just stick it to some project I’m working on at the moment because there’s NO WAY I’m just going to throw it away! Come on, you know you’d do the same!
Well guys…. that’s MY inventory binder and how I keep track of my papercrafting and art supplies and tools.
I hope I’ve inspired you to inventory and keep track of YOUR papercrafting and art supplies and tools.
Yes, this can be a bit of a job to create if you don’t have any sort of inventory system already, but it’s well worth it because once you have a system in place, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep up with it.
And the best part of creating this for yourself? It’s a handy, easy-to-bring-along tool that helps you remember what you need and avoid buying duplicates, something that saves you both time and money, time that’s better spent creating and money that’s better spent on more supplies and tools!
TIP: Be sure to write down important information like color names, sizes, brands, etc. next to the appropriate items on your cards.
TIP: This organization system will not work if you don’t keep up with it! To be successful with this type of system, create a habit of updating your binder as soon as you get home with your new purchases. As you unpack items from your shopping bag, add them into your binder – it’s quick and easy to do! Heck, you could even update your inventory as you’re waiting in the check-out lane with your new purchases!
So who’s game?
Who’s chomping at the bit to create their own
papercrafting and art supplies & tools inventory system?
Please share your thoughts,
and your completed system when you’ve created it!
And if you already have an inventory system that works well for you,
share that too – we can all pick up tips from each other!
I’d love for you to come by my blog, BeEclecticArtStudio, to say hi!
Ready, Set, Go! Start Organizing & Keep Creating,
Supplies and tools used in this project:
- Binder (any style and size that fits your needs)
- Page Protectors (full sheets & some with pockets)
- Hole Punch
- Information on all of YOUR papercrafting and art supplies & tools that you want to track
- And last, but certainly not least, Decorative Items (No binder would be complete without decoration on the cover, right? Plus, if it’s pretty, you’re more likely to want to use it!)