Monday, July 20, 2009

Organize Your Stuff Challenge - Week 9

I won't lie to you. This week is not going to be nearly as much fun as last week. It's going to be time consuming, involve a lot of curse words as tiny objects fall from your grasp for the thousandth time, and will require a lot of decisions. But it will be oh-so-worth-it in the end. We're talking embellishments this week. Get your Challenge hats on, this one will be a doozy.

I think the biggest issue with embellishments is that there are SO many - different colors, types, uses, you name it. It's nearly impossible to find one single solution that fits everything. Which means that in this case, it's ok to mix and match. What works for your Primas may not work for your buttons. They don't have to. As long as you know WHERE to get what you need, and HOW to get it, then all is good. That's what organization is all about - finding your supplies.

First off - HOW are you going to organize your embellishments? This depends on how you scrap - your main choices are by color or by type. When you're looking for an embellie, do you think "I need something red over here?" COLOR sorting may be the way to go - all your red embellies go in one bin, green in another, etc. If you're looking for an embellie and think "A button would look great in the corner," then sorting by TYPE may work best for you. Make a decision, and that will guide your storage options.

I think the best way to tackle storage is by giving you all a lot of storage options and then showing what I've come up with for each type of embellishment. I'll try to tackle it embellishment by embellishment, so if I leave something off, please let me know - I'll be more than happy to add it to the list. And if you have found a great solution, PLEASE post it - the more the merrier!! Keep in mind your stash as well - a few brads will easily fit in a tackle box. If you hoard, you'll need to move up to jars. As before, please note that the links I posted are intended to give you a visual idea of what it is I'm talking about - it doesn't mean I endorse the product or the store.

General storage for all kinds of little goodies:
Cropper Hopper Embellishment Boxes:
Glass or plastic jars in drawers:
Small ziptop baggies (look in the jewelry section of stores like Hobby Lobby)
Empty film cannisters
Spice jars on spice racks - revolving or magnetic/wall mounted
Multi-drawer chest
Photo storage box
Making Memories Embellishment Storage Box: You could also use a jewelry box!
Magpie tins - originally for Quikutz, but really are versatile:
Pegboard or slat wall with hanging bins

By Embellishment:

Brads: I have 3 systems for my brads.

First system: my general, run-of-the-mill brads are divided by color and shape into the multi-compartment containers from the Container Store. I keep them labeled and stacked in a drawer. If I need a brad, I use a pair of craft tweezers to get the one I want out:

Second system: my large brads go in large glass cannister jars. These are from the glass storage section at Hobby Lobby.

Finally - fancy brads are divided up by type (velvet, fabric, stripes, etc) into small plastic containers from Container and Packaging (link is above). The jars are thick clear plastic and are slightly shorter than 3" - which means they sit beautifully in the 3-drawer units from Sterilite! I used to house them in those drawers, I now have them in a single drawer in my scrap space:

Notice that I store them upside down - makes it easy to see what's in each container, no?

A unique idea I found, I've never seen this before! Very clever.


I know these little flowers give people fits! I think they'd be easy to store if they didn't come in such pretty packaging - you want to keep the jars, but it's hard to find anything in those mixes. My solution - first, sort by color. ALL the flowers. Then divide up by size within the colors - my larger flowers go into these beautiful glass cookie jars from Hobby Lobby:

My smaller flowers go into the original Prima jars, but this time - by color!

For packaged flowers - like Petaloo, or the fancy Prima flowers - I keep them in the original packaging, stacked on end in my drawer. Nothing special, but it works. You could easily do this in a pretty bin or basket as well.
For smaller stashes, a clip-it-up type system might work great:

Dew drops/Skittles: I keep these in their original containers as well. I found a pretty fabric-lined basket and just keep it in a drawer with my packaged flowers. It's easy to sort through the basket to find the right color.

Eyelets: Stored in the same Container Store boxes as my brads in a different drawer. Sorted by size first, then by shape and then by color.

I LOVE buttons. I love seeing them almost as much as using them! I think they add fun to a space. I have mine stored in glass cookie jars from Hobby Lobby, sorted by color:

For my fancier buttons (shaped, wooden, etc), I store them in the same small jars as my brads in a shallow drawer:

I have also seen them stored in shallow bowls or baskets, which is really cute. If you go to crops, re-using tins may be a good alternative:

These are tricky, since some are stickers technically, some are not. I have my loose ones in the containers from the Container Store. I store that container - along with my packaged rhinestones - in a small milkcrate of sorts from Hobby Lobby. The crate goes on a shelf:

Miscellaneous STUFF:

All those little things that really don't fit into any categories. Wooden pieces, photo corners, metals, sequins, acrylic pieces, glass slides. I use the same small containers as the fancy buttons in the Sterilite drawers - but I removed those drawers from the main unit and stack them in my drawers instead.

Now, I just gave you a lot of information. A LOT. I don't want you to zone out on me here, and get overloaded. If you feel overwhelmed, go get your original list - your what works/what doesn't, and your brainstorming list. Now check those against the solutions I've offered here. You can probably immediately cross a ton of options off your list based on things you've tried before and didn't work, or your stash size, or because things that spin scare you. Go to crops a lot? Cross off any system that won't travel well.

In closing, I want to add my 10 rules for organizing. I'm going to post these at the end of every challenge, because I think they are very, very important. I want you to keep them in mind as you tackle each of these projects - they will make your life easier and the task less daunting.

1. Label your containers.
2. Be consistent in your methods.
3. Don't be too specific - your search for your items within your space should be short and simple.
4. Your organizational method should be easy to take out AND put away.
5. When organizing, break any large piles into smaller groupings. Have a 2 foot tall stack of paper to sort? Do it in 1" high chunks, it will be easier to handle mentally.
6. If it's something that you use on almost every project, then keep it within reach of your main scrap area.
7. Don't stress your containers. Get a new system or purge your stash.
8. For most items, product packaging adds bulk. Toss it. With once exception - rub ons.
9. Repurpose when you can - almost anything can be painted or covered in paper/fabric.
10. THE GOLDEN RULE - FIRST choose an organizational method, THEN choose a container that fits your space and style. Always shop for containers with a list in hand - a beautiful container is simply clutter if it doesn't have a dedicated purpose in your space!

Congratulations, you're no longer sucking up gallons of brads and eyelets every time you vacuum! Tell Mr. Duchovny it's time for your massage and we'll meet back here for Week 10 - it's alphabet time!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Whoops, accidentally deleted instead of edited:

    I blogged my cheapo solution here:

  3. Here's something I"m looking at as I have a bunch of the cups already.

    or Stampin Up makes one similar that takes up less 'realestate' on your counter.

  4. I love how you said there would be a lot of cursing as tiny eyelets and brads fall from our grasp! HA! It's so true.

    I love this whole challenge, first of all, and this week is no exception. I *think* I like the way I organize my embellishments, but sorting AAAAAALLLL my flowers by color is pretty tempting. . .

  5. I have just completely finished my over haul. I didn't post pictures of the detailed organizing of small embellies but I have them in small containers in the CTMH embellishment cases. It works great and is portable to take to crops. Check out my blog to see the pictures. I am so proud of what I was able to do. You really helped me get jump started on this. I haven't actually followed you week by week. I read the first few posts, got super inspired and just went for it head first. I think that you would be proud of the results. Thanks for all of the time that this has taken you.

  6. You inspired me to get into this. Thanks.
    My start of my other embellishment is on my blog at I use the Creative Options tote for my brads and eyelets

  7. I just stumbled on to this challenge while looking for embellishment storage ideas in the gallery at 2peas... I'm moving my scrap space from a corner of our large master bedroom to a downstairs room that's too small to really be a guest room... so I nabbed it. Embellishments are the thorn in my side, though, because they *could* fit so many different categories. I sit and hem and haw and lose valuable time! Thanks for a great set of ideas!