This week we're going to focus on something BIG - dies for die cutting machines. And I say BIG because the oh-so-creative-but-not-so-kind die cut machine designers wanted to make sure that their dies are never, ever confused with eachother, which means us lucky consumers have to find storage systems for a gazillion different types of dies. Thanks, scrapbooking industry! Thankfully, a lot of companies have recognized this and put out storage methods for their own products, which DOES help, but it also means if you have multiple die cutters, chances are, you're going to have multiple storage systems as well. Which means more work for you this week.
There are 2 different ways of organizing your dies - by manufacturer or by type. I would love to organize by type - have all my shapes together, themes together, etc - but it would really be a nightmare to find a storage solution for. How can you store Quickutz with Big Shots dies? And then adding Cricut carts to the mix - what a mess! So I suggest you store by manufacturer and create an inventory book or Rolodex that you can group your dies together by theme in. So you can turn to a page and see all your dog dies from all your different companies, and then go to the appropriate manufacturer to take out the one you want. It seems the most logical way to go.
I know there are a lot of different systems on the market, so I'll try to break them down into one general category first with options for many different types of dies, then tackle specific systems and solutions I've found for the different die systems on the market. If I missed a die system, it's because I couldn't find solutions! So please - help me out here and if you've found a solution that works for YOUR system, post it to benefit everyone.
As always, 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 ideas for any/all die systems:
Photo storage boxes
Clear plastic shoeboxes
Divided hardware storage drawer units
Divided plastic boxes
Over-the-door tape racks: http://craftski.multiply.com/photos/album/180/My_Craft_Room_Latest_Photos
Ribbon holders: http://www.splatpat.com/archives/category/my-crafty-spot
Wall storage and 2 portable methods: http://www.obsessedwithscrapbooking.com/2009/01/cricut-storage.html
Sizzix/Big Shot dies:
Narrow drawer units: http://craftski.multiply.com/photos/album/180/My_Craft_Room_Latest_Photos
In bins or boxes: http://www.scrapjazz.com/topics/Organization/Scrap_Rooms/1596.php
Sizzix towers - no longer being produced, but you can find them on Ebay
On magnetic sheets: http://craftski.multiply.com/photos/album/85/Nestabilities_Organizer
Die carry case: http://spellbinderspaperarts.com/die-carry-case.html
In clear CD cases: http://embellished-dreams.blogspot.com/2008/04/keeping-my-spellbinders-dies-organzied.html or http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/gallery/photo/952552
Quickutz storage binder:
On a clip-it-up type system: http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/gallery/photo/1166432?cat=500&ppuser=173723
On the inside of cabinet doors (or on any flat wall surface): http://wickedlywonderfulcreations.blogspot.com/2009/01/new-nesties-now-what.html
Magpie tins: http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Magpie-Nesting-Scrapbook-Storage-Tins-Pack-of-3/3191176/product.html coupled with an indexing system: http://craftystorage.blogspot.com/2007/09/quickutz-dies-by-angela-urbano.html or http://craftystorage.blogspot.com/2008/02/valerie-shadlyns-storage-idea.html
Slide storage sheets in a 3-ring binder: http://www.archivalusa.com/2x220hb100.html
In baskets: http://starlitstudio.blogspot.com/2007/01/cuttlebug-die-storage.html or http://sewdelish.blogspot.com/2009/06/cuttlebug-die-and-embossing-folders.html
In divided plastic boxes
Cuttlebug storage binder: http://www.amazon.com/Provo-Craft-37-1575-Cuttlebug-Storage/dp/B0015KCV92
Hopefully one (or more) of those methods will work for your stash! Here's some solutions I've come up with for my die collection:
Sizzix - I keep all my Big Shot dies in a cheap white photo storage box from Hobby Lobby, nothing fancy. My border dies (the long ones) are kept in plastic ruler cases from the school supply section of most mass retailers like Target or WalMart. The Sizzlits dies are kept in baseball card holders in 3-ring binders - I can get 2 alphabet sets per binder:
My regular Sizzix dies are stored in Sizzix towers:
For my Cuttlebug dies, I found a divided plastic storage case that I could customize for the long versus short dies. My embossing templates (the square ones) go into a photo storage box.
My Quickutz are in the Magpie tins. I love this system! A lot of places have them on clearance now, I saw them for $20 at Big Lots. My Revolution dies fit well in the bottom drawers of the units.
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 dies are all neat and organized and snug in their beds. Let them join the rest of the party going on in your scrap space, and I'll see you back here for Week 23.