Organization Solution: How to Use Supplies that Never Seem to Go Away

We all have a certain supply type (or two) that taunts us whenever we come across it.

It was the supply we thought we’d never have enough of…Until that time came that we very much did have enough of it because suddenly there was a new kid in town, and we definitely could not get enough of that new supply.

So what is your old scrapbook supply that never seems to go away?

Mine was hot circa 2005 and fills two jars: ribbon.
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My Organization Theory: Move It to Use It

I discovered this truth after having changed my supply setup a number of times.

When supplies get stale and lose their enticement there is a simple way to make it attractive again: Re-categorize it.

In other words, Store it with new companions that help you to see your supply differently.

Let me show you what I mean…

In 2005 or so, ribbon was hot. So I stored it as, “RIBBON” in ribbon jars because at that time, whenever I made a page I thought, “I need some ribbon on this page!”

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But now it’s 2015. I never think, “I need ribbon!” anymore. More like, enamel dots.

I’ve been looking past and around these two jars of ribbon, no longer even noticing that they’re there.

You see how quickly an organized space can become unhelpful to us? As our interest in products change, so must the way we organize them if we want to keep them relevant and helpful in how we create.

It no longer makes sense for me to store my ribbon as “RIBBON.”

Above: A drawer for embellishments I do think of whenever I scrapbook. At this time, enamel dots, decorative tapes, and sequins work great when organized by what they are because I think of them that way. When the time comes that I no longer automatically think of them, I will move them to a new spot that make them easier to use again.

If I re-categorize and move my ribbon to a place where I’m going to easily see how it will help me on a page, then I will actually use it again.

Here’s how I moved my ribbon today so that I will better use it agin…

The Most Awesome Way to Find Supplies Ever

I funnel my scrapbook supplies into kits that I make for my various album stories and themes, and I store them in a way that is easy and exciting to use them. But you could also do this with kits you purchase from kit clubs.

I have now dispersed all my ribbons among my various kits…

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Above: Kit embellishments drawers for the ballet stories (left) and for relationship stories (right).

When I decide to do a ballet layout for Trinity, for example, soft rosette ribbon that I once ignored will call to me from the ballet kit.

Because I re-categorized and moved my ribbon, it no longer matters that I never think of using it. I’ll run into ribbon every time I scrapbook now, and because it’s with other supplies it matches, it’s easy for me to see how I can use it up.

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Above: Kit embellishments drawers for stories about myself (left), stories about my boys (middle) and stories from my life in the Philippines (right).

Organization isn’t just about making the room look tidy. It should help you to better use your supplies and your space, and facilitate your crafting.

What is your lingering supply you forget you have, and never use? How can you store it in a new way that is more likely to help you use it?

  • Mari

    Buttons! I don’t much care for them (unless sewing) so I have no idea why I have any of them in my scrapbooking supplies!

  • ShortDrMom

    Thank you for this way of thinking, Noelle. I hadn’t considered looking at old stuff with new eyes!

  • Marimur

    Oh, it must be ribbon for me too. I have made some kits in ziploc bags for certain theme pages, and I could easily put a few matching ribbons in and see if it makes a difference! Thanks for the tip!

  • Thanks for this post! I’m reorganizing my craft space and feel like my ribbon is gathering dust. I’m going to try sorting it differently and see if it inspires me!

  • Lisa

    I agree buttons, ribbon, brads and those little grommets. I need to find new homes for these items!

  • Debbie Piercey

    Ribbon & buttons for sure. Your kit plan is a great idea.

  • Hanna Lyons

    Brads and grommets for sure – I have entire plastic divided trays full of them, stored with all the tools for them. And they are stored out of sight, out of mind. Good idea – pull them out!

  • Gabrielle McCann

    I love this post. Thanks so much Noell. And I really like how you do your embellishments into kits. It looks like you have some scraps of patterned paper in here too? I think this is a solution that would really work for me too.

  • Yes, only if the scraps are tiny pieces — maybe 2×3 at the largest. Anything larger than that I just keep with the paper part of the kits. :)

  • Gabrielle McCann

    Such a great idea. I’ve been living in apartment for 2 years now and am still struggling with how to best organise my stash now that i no longer have an actual scrap room.

  • maridette

    thanks for the tip. I created kits as well but in those 12×12 plastic containers. I eventually would love those drawers that have grids in them. Where did you get yours? I hope they’re still available.

  • Cindy Ault

    Yes, buttons. I have a storage container full of buttons! Hardly touched. Out of sight. I will recycle and put them with the other embellishments where I can see and use them! Thanks Noelle!

  • Organization isn’t just about making the room look tidy. It should help you to better use your supplies and your space, and facilitate your crafting.


  • Donna Clark

    I’m just amazed at how tiny your ribbon collection is! LOL! :) My lingerer is buttons….a GINORMOUS glass parfait bowl filled to the brim! (Not including the ones on button cards!) I will never use them in my lifetime and am stressed every time I look at them collecting dust! I use to have the separate jars with one color in each, but tha took up too much space, so now they sit there and taunt me ;) I’ve thought about making button wreaths or trying to figure out other ways to craft with them, but nothing really jumps out at me.
    Would love to hear PRT guests talk about ways they use their loitering supplies;)

  • Hi, Maridette. I first used a plastic container like that for all of my Christmas supplies, but quickly realized it was chaotic and difficult to work with when I had the embellishments in there with the papers. That’s why I decided I needed to separate the papers from the embellies.
    The drawers with the grid compartments are from Michael’s. They’re called Recollections Cubes and they’re the cubes that have a single drawer on the bottom half and an open shelf on the top half. I have based my room setup with these cubes, but I have a love-hate relationship with them. They’re wonderful in some ways, but they’re made cheaply and I end up returning more than I keep because of problems. They suit my needs enough that it’s been worth it for me to continue buying them, though.

  • Heather Ermengarde Stading Gil

    I have many. But I love how you are putting items together that you will use together. I am currently (re) doing Tiffany Spaulding’s GetOrganized Challenge, and that is her underlying theme. If you would USE it together, STORE it together. That way, you are ORGANIZED, not CONTAINERized.

  • Juleann

    Excellent idea. I’m in the process of reorganizing my little scrap room so found this tip very helpful.

  • I have tons of buttons too!

  • I totally agree with this!

  • I have tons of ribbon, buttons and brads, but I can’t organize my stuff by kits right now.
    I’ve recently done a major purge, but I still have tons of stash to purge after I finish a few big projects I have in mind :)
    TFS your great ideas!

  • Teresa S

    I recently sorted my basic embellishments (buttons, brads, ribbon, enamel dots, papeclips, rhinestones, etc.) by color. I purchased small sterlite drawers (7 inch stackabe) and store all my goodies in there. Whenever I complete a page, I pull out the coordinating colored drawers and add some more embellishments. It has helped me remember what I have and also use up supplies I’ve had for a long time!

  • Jodi

    This may be off the subject of buttons, but I desperately would like to know when and where I can purchase the planner? I have bypassed other planners because I like yours the best…. I would like to get is ASAP
    Thank you