Clear Stamp Organization Using CD Cases
Most of us with a paper habit tend to have a stamp habit too. They kind of go hand-in-hand, and though I just love clear acrylic stamps for their versatility and value, I was having a hell of a hard time organizing them all. I had a drawer stacked full and two desk baskets storing what I used the most.
I personally don't do well with any kind of storage binder systems. If I tuck my supplies away in closed books, I can't see what I have and eventually "lose" them in my brain. I had to have a system on the desk, easily accessible and tidy. I searched various forums and blogs, and finally decided to try clear CD storage cases.
My collection of stamps seems to be quite small compared to others I've seen, so I went into the project thinking it'd be quick and easy. Because of my perfectionist nature, it was neither, but it was still so worth it to have it finished and easy to add to as I collect more stamps. I'm hoping my tips in this blog post will help someone avoid a mess and make their organization a bit easier.
WARNING: It's going to take a long time, no matter what. :-)
WHAT YOU NEED:
Standard Size Clear CD Cases - Make sure they say "standard", and not "slim"! I found if you think you are going to need 20, you actually need 40. I bought mine at Target for $6 for a 10-pack. Amazon sells them in bulk here.
Avery 8 1/2" x 11" Full Page Shipping Labels #48165 - Any full-page shipping sticker will do, but I found mine at WalMart for under $5 a pack. One pack will do 40 CD cases.
Sterlite CD Storage Crates, 9"x"7"x6" - I needed something to fit on my craft counter that wasn't too tall. These were also at WalMart for $1.50 each.
Patience - You need to decide how you are going to store all these clingy little buggers. I did mine by subject. You may decide to go by manufacturer or collection - it's what works for you. You will need a long flat surface to arrange ALL of your stamp packages into themes. Once you have the piles sorted, you can work on a group as you get time to sit with it all.
Once you have a plan, the rest is pretty much robotics. Personally, I sat down for two days straight to get it all done in one shot. I realize I was lucky not to have a huge hoard of stamps in order to make this possible. I highly recommend an organization process gets started as soon as you start buying these things, because once you buy, you won't stop. :)
WHAT TO DO:
1. Cut your shipping labels into quarters so you have 4 stickers per sheet.
2. Remove the plastic CD holder in your cases. This can be tricky, but I only broke one. If you carefully take off the cover first, it's easier. Then you kind of squeeze the base part and pry a corner of the CD holder out. All four corners will pop out and you can recycle the plastic insert that holds the CD in place. Put your two halves back together for your storage case.
3. I arranged stamps inside the case first, to be sure of what would fit. I then applied stamps of like thicknesses to a 4" x 5" acrylic block. This saved me from stamping several times for each case. I stamped an example of what would be in each case, then wrote the contents onto the very top, making a spine label. Sometimes, you can't fit all of your stamps onto the label, but it's a good general guide to jog your memory. Once stamped, I applied the label to the CD case and filled it. Use your thumbnail to really get the spine part of the label to stick to the case, fold it over and apply the rest of the sticker to the front. Don't stick the label on first and try to stamp it - it will most definitely break the case and the images won't look good anyway.
4. The thin clear stamps will stick to both sides of the case and still allow it to close. The foam mounted stamps won't and must cling to only one side. I was able to mix-and-match flat stamps with foam stamps, as long I was careful to not store anything on the opposite side of a thick stamp.
5. To finish each case, I also cut out the manufacturer print of the stamp from their packaging and laid it on top of my stamp. Like I said, very time consuming, but I'm a visual person here and it will help me a lot to see that image on or near each one.
Eventually, this wonderful little crate system came to life. :-) I store my acrylic blocks and a favorite background stamp on top, within quick reach. I also connected my two crates with wire so the unit doesn't want to slide around as much and feels much sturdier.
I hope I've helped spark some inspiration and motivation when it comes to clear stamp organization. I know I felt pretty hopeless about it for a long time myself! If I've left something out, confused you further, or if you just have a question, leave a comment and I promise to reply!
Clean it up,