Monday, August 10, 2009

Organize Your Stuff Challenge - Week 12

Good Monday morning (if there is such a thing!) - everybody ready to play? Today we're going to tackle another toughie - ribbons and fibers. You may not be able to complete this Challenge in one week. And again, that's ok - as long as you have a system in place in your head and know where you're going, that's what counts!

So let's cut the chit-chat and get started on HOW to organize your ribbon. You can organize by type (ie, grosgrain vs sheer), width, color, or by packaging. Once again, follow your scrapping cues here. You can also mix and match - it's easy to group all your red grosgrain ribbon together, for example.
Now let's take a look at WHAT to store your ribbon in. I'm not a big fan of ribbon packaging - I've found that once you take it out of it's neat and pretty little package, it never goes back in quite the same. So I immediately pull off all my ribbon - off cards, spools, bobbins, you name it. It brings me happiness to see a puddle of fibers. Aaaahhhh. Anyways, I have found oodles and oodles of ways to store ribbons. One of these methods surely will work for you and your stash! 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.

Stacked spools: or Pottery Barn used to have a nice one, it's been discontinued but you may be able to find one on Ebay or Craigslist. Oriental Trading also has one:
In Cropper Hopper boxes - this shows it in a drawer -, but those little boxes fit beautifully in the Cropper Hopper embellishment case as well
This method isn't realistic for most of us, but it gives you another beyond-cool option:
In page protectors (like the kind for slides or baseball cards, one strand per pocket) in a 3-ring binder
Combined with a tool or stamp organizer:
On floss cards in floss boxes
On spools, stacked on dowels inside jars
In ziploc baggies, in boxes or hanging
Cropper Hopper ribbon spool drawer:
On the spool on a tension rod - you can put this in any open space, between furniture, in the open shelves of an Expedit, even in a window or door frame!

Now, if you couldn't find a working solution in one of those links, you're helpless. Seriously. Just chuck your ribbon out the window and have it done with. Just kidding - send it to me instead!

My solutions have evolved over the years. I first started out with ribbon in the Cropper Hopper embellishment boxes. Problem is, if your ribbon is over 3/8" wide, it won't fit.
So, I had my wider ribbon on ribbon cards from Magistical Memories in a large ArtBin box.

I loved this system, but the Artbin boxes take up a LOT of room. My third system was on dowels on a pegboard. I took everything off the spools when I reorganized and used my pegboard rack for tape instead:

I was really getting tired of looking in 3 places for one ribbon. So I combined them all into the card system, but using clear plastic shoeboxes instead. One color per box, it's sooo easy to find what I'm looking for:

Some of the cards are from Magistical Memories - the others I just made myself from cheap chipboard I've hoarded. Each ribbon is secured with a glass-head straight pin.

So that's how all my "true" ribbon is stored. For fibers and floss, I use the floss cards in floss boxes, divided up into multiple colors per box:

My felt "ribbons" that come on rolls (or that can be made into rolls!) is stored in a Pottery Barn craft center. I don't know if they still make these, I purchase mine at an outlet. My paper "frills" are in here too:

I keep all my colored twine in rolls in a metal basket. Basket is from Hobby Lobby.

My Scrappers Floss is in a basket as well - also from Hobby Lobby (yes, I love their baskets - I like even more that they frequently have them on sale for half off!).

One more basket (do you see a theme here?) - my Magic Mesh and the like also go in my ribbon cabinet. If I forget to put away one of my baskets, no big deal, they're just as pretty sitting on the countertop.

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. One 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!

Your ribbons are no longer a tangled mess - you did it! Go get some cheesecake (the good kind with the gooey strawberry sauce) and get ready for next week - it's stamping time!



  1. You did it again! Great posts (I have some of them bookmarked already in my great ribbon hunt!).

    I have a question about your little Cropper HOpper holders. If you unwind a few inches to drape across your LO, how do you get it back into the box? do you have to take it all out and rewind?

  2. First time here from 2Peas; oh what a great idea! You definitely have my OCD in high gear looking at all those links... thank you!

  3. Wow - you have quite a stash/collection? It is so pretty to just look at! Thanks for sharing your organizational tips!

  4. I have a question about your "wrapped around a card system." I have been leaving the ribbon on the spools (if it comes that way) but it is definitely taking up too much room! The thing that is stopping me is that the ribbon that comes on cards tends to be creased, more so the closer you get to the card, and I hate having to iron it (too anal not to iron out the creases) and the time it takes to do this puts me off. Do you get creased ribbon? iron it? not iron it? don't care? do you have any solutions for this? Any insight you have would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Nancy

  5. Jo - I would just take it all out and rewind it again. It would literally take me seconds - you can't fit more than a yard or so inside those little boxes, so it rewinds pretty fast.

    Nancy - I've found that the only part of the ribbon that creases significantly is the first wrap around the card. The rest may have a little wave there, but once you secure the ribbon down with adhesive, the wave goes away just fine. With the part that is creased - I've never had to iron it because it's always worked out that that part turns out to be scrap! If I'm really desperate I suppose I could iron, but my main ribbon strands have never needed it.

  6. Hi - I'm wondering what you recommend to use for a label maker. I have been through your weekly posts and have could not find what you use. I'd prefer not to have to print off a page of label on my printer.

  7. Thanks for the mention, most honoured.

    The other thing that is handy with my peg system is that the packs are ready for crops/page kits :)

    Must stop drooling now over your lush ribbons et al collection :)

  8. Love how your ribbon looks once it is on the cards and organized by color. Can you post a picture of the ribbon card before you put ribbon on it? I think I am going to adopt that system and get my ribbon out of their packaging and into a form where I can find things and sue them! Thanks again for doing this. I have been following along every week and have really enjoyed it.

  9. Thanks for such a nice collection of ribbons and these are hopefully helpful for those who are using this for their works.

  10. I don't know if you mentioned what you do with your wood mounted stamps. Right now I just chunk them in a drawer, but getting them out from under one another is a pain, plus they're bulky so not many fit in one drawer. Any suggestions?

  11. Wow!Absolutely gorgeous,It is so pretty to just look at! Thanks for sharing your organizational tips!I really impress.
    Plastic Card.

  12. Nancy - I've found that the only part of the ribbon that creases significantly is the first wrap around the card.

  13. Jo - I would just take it all out and rewind it again. It would literally take me seconds - you can't fit more than a yard or so inside those little boxes, so it rewinds pretty fast.