Friday, 15 February 2013

Organizing Your Stamp Sets

Today I’m going to share with you my system for organizing my stamp sets. Please don’t let the word “system” scare you. Remember that I’m a Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator, and as such I feel the need to record my inventory in much greater detail than someone with just a few stamps. Hmmm…can you ever have “just a few” stamps? Anyways, don’t feel you need to adopt my system, I’m posting this to give you some ideas. Pick and choose the bits that work for you.

Step 1: Into the Inspire Box

I love the Stampin’ Up!  tagline  Inspire. Create. Share. In my studio, I have “zones” dedicated to those three words (a post for another day.) I have a box next to my work area that I call my “Inspire Box.” In it, I keep all sorts of things to feed my creative mojo. Card sketches, magazine articles, cards I’ve received that I want to copy, and of course, new product.
Here’s a shot of my box from this morning. Right now it’s overflowing with goodness from the new Spring Catalogue. I went a little, um, overboard on my last order!
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When I get a new stamp set, I don’t immediately pressure myself to file it into my system. Instead it lives in my Inspire Box, where it can be right at my fingertips…ready to be inked, and played with, and loved, and told how cute it is. *ahem* Did I say that out loud? I love my children more than my stamps. Really.

Step 2: Prep Stamps

Before ink hits the rubber, there are a few things I do with my new stamps. The thick, protective liner gets removed from the cling foam. I also separate the stamps from the surrounding rubber, and offer up a prayer of thankfulness every single time I do this that we no longer have to cut out our own rubber. Praise be to SU for die cutting their stamps!
I don’t throw away the leftover rubber, either. I stick it to the inside of the case for two reasons. It stops the stamps from sliding around all loose in the case and I know immediately if I’m missing a stamp.
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I’ve decided my stamps cling way better without the clear stickers on them, so I just slip the stickers behind the cover in case I want to later resell the set.
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Then it’s time to give my new set a little exfoliating treatment. I take a sanding block and (gasp!) rough up the stamp. I know this sounds a little extreme, but trust me. Just a very light sanding in all directions removes any residue off the image and makes the stamp accept ink beautifully. Check out this video if you don’t believe me.
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Step Three: Stamp Index Sheet

Here’s where the work comes in. I take the time to stamp every single stamp I own on an index sheet. This way, every one of my stamps gets to see ink at least once in it’s existence. I also now have a paper record of all my stamps that is much easier to carry around than all my stamps. Makes my yearly inventory super easy to do and it’s piece of mind for insurance purposes too.
A tip for all you organizing junkies who love how “tidy” things look on Pinterest after they’ve been organized…the secret is to standardize things as much as possible. Look and see, they will use all the same types of bins, or use a color scheme to tie things together. So how do I do that here? I keep all my index sheets the same two sizes. In the front of my inventory binder I have a bunch of computer paper chopped up in halves and quarters, all ready to be stamped on when the time comes. (Having it ready to go also ensures the likelihood that I’ll do it, too!)
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After everything is stamped, I write down a few details. The name of the stamp, the number of stamps in the set,  whether it is clear or wood mount, which catalogue it was from and how much I paid. (In the example below, I actually got the set free so I wrote ~ to give an estimate of what the set would be worth for resale and insurance purposes.) I also assign a number to the set, which I’ll explain more about in the next step.
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I file all my index sheets in a 3-ring binder with page protectors. I sort them in sections using the categories in SU’s main catalogue, since my brain is hotwired to think that way. The beauty of this system is you can file things however you want and in a way that makes sense for you. If you make cards for specific events you could set it up by occasion, think birthday, Christmas, thank you, sympathy. If you use your stamps more for scrapbooking, you may want to consider organizing by theme, think flowers, snowflakes, animals. I’m sure you get the picture!
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Step Four: Label and Store

A few years ago, I convinced my husband that all I wanted for Christmas was a label maker. Best. Gift. Ever. It makes me happy every time I use it…and boy, do I use it! Guess that’s why I’m so happy all the time! *snert*
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Seriously now, I do use it to label all my stamps. I give each set it’s own special code and number. Let me explain the reason I fuss with this. I used to store my stamps alphabetically and ran into the huge annoyance of needing to re-arrange everything every single time I got a new set. Talk about a time waster! Not to mention because it was so annoying to do, I ended up with stack of stamps everywhere because I didn’t want to take the time and arrange everything yet again. Huge disorganized mess.
Labels to the rescue! Now when I get a new stamp, it gets a label and added to the next number in sequence. If I need a specific set, I just look up its number in my inventory binder and whoosh! Its right at my fingertips.
Right now my stamps are stored in drawers, but soon my Precious, soon you will have a lovely Ikea shelf to call home… (I’ll be sure to post pics when that happens!)
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For those that are curious, here are my codes:
CMC= clear mount current WMC=wood mount current CMR=clear mount retired WMR=wood mount retired
Since I’m a Demo, I have to be very aware of current stamps vs. retired product. Most of you will never need to get that detailed. As an aside, if you are a Demo, this system works like a dream come retirement time. I just re-label the old sets and move them to my retired storage drawer. Any holes in my “current” drawers  just get replaced with new stamps as they come in.

So there you have it….that’s the physical part of my stamp organization system. Say what? Yes, I take my stuff to one more level and keep a digital copy of my inventory on my computer in a brilliant little program called Evernote. But that’s certainly not for everyone, and it’s certainly for another post!
Have fun stamping your index sheets, and please drop me an email if you have any questions!


  1. thank you so much for this ... I am printing it out to put things into evernote and then follow up on the organization tips ... thanks a lot ...

  2. My trouble is that I can't remember what set contains "that" perfect script that says Happy Birthday.
    Can you help me with this?

    Also, I just heard about evernote and have subscribed to your blog to hear more about it.

  3. I have wayyyyy to many sets to do this with them all, but have recently spent ages (while recuperating from surgery) stamping out all the words/sayings etc that are in my stamp sets. I also am a Stampin' Up Demonstrator. I put a big R for retired on the bottom of the box when they retire. All my words etc stamps are stamped onto computer paper and next to it I have the name, whether current/retired, and cling/wooden. My current stamp sets are kept in a different cubicle than the retired ones. I have 4 x 16 cube shelf units that I use for my craft storage.
    I don't know what Evernote is but sounds awesome :)


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