First off - let's talk about HOW to organize your chipboard. You need to decide whether to keep them in their packages (and often this means for the sheet variety like Fancy Pants, whether or not to leave them attached to the sheet), or to break them off into their individual pieces. This really is a matter of personal choice and may even be dictated by your space - sheets are going to need a good 12x12" space for storage, while if you have smaller pieces of chipboard, they could go into smaller containers that could stack. So keep that in mind. If you know your manufacturers, or have a small amount of chipboard, storing on the sheets is very feasible. But if you have a large amount and can't remember who makes what - you just want a large chipboard daisy! - then breaking up your sets may be a way to go.
A second issue is how to categorize them - by manufacturer or theme. Follow your paper on this one. If you know who makes what, then sort by manufacturer. But if you are looking for a chipboard frame with a star on it, then sort by theme. It will make your life easier to have all your like pieces together. Some themes include frames, seasons, brackets, scrolls, floral, hearts, stars, etc. Go through what you have and see what you have a lot of - start grouping them, and that will help to dictate what categories you need (and how many boxes to buy!).
Now, alphas are another story entirely. You can choose to store them with your chipboard here, or with your other alphas. I think it makes more sense to store them with your alphas - unless you are a fan of keeping all your manufacturers together, then store like with like.
Finally, let's talk blank sheets. I know every scrapper hoards chipboard from any place imaginable! The best solution I've found to store it is to treat it like you do your paper. So if you use the vertical paper files, dedicate one to chipboard. Chipboard is also nice in that it can stack upright on a shelf without bending - just a bookend is all that's needed. File cabinets are yet another option.
Now that you have an idea of HOW to organize your chipboard, let's talk about what to store it in! Here are some solutions I've found - keep in mind which route you decided to take. If you're keeping original packaging, then you need to accommodate the bulk of chipboard and the 12x12" nature of it. Some options - like hanging zip top bags - may not be strong enough to hold. Most unpackaged chipboard sorted by piece can fit into much smaller containers. You will need as many containers as themes or manufacturers, and plan for future purchases as well.
Clear plastic shoe boxes
Hanging zip-top bags, on clip-it up style rails or pants hangers
Page protectors in a 3-ring binder
Photo storage boxes
My main storage method (in addition to the shelf and paper holder shown above) is an Iris cart with the snap top boxes, wheels removed:
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, your chipboard is now easy to find when you need it! Meet me back here next week, same time, same place, and we'll deal with all kinds of pretty die cuts.