Friday, March 19, 2010

Organizational {Friday} Revisiting Stamp Sorting

Okay, don't anyone have a stroke. I am NOT changing my stamp storage! LOL! I LOVE how I store my stamps. If you missed my post on the Univenture binders I use and how I store my stamps, please see my post here. And I physically do not break apart my stamp sets; however, for this category reference system you will see below, I do break these "stamped cards" apart and do not keep the sets together in my reference system. Now, once you reference my storage post linked above, get a cup of coffee, a large sweet tea, or whatever your fancy because today's post is long!

What I want to share today is how I sort and find my stamps. When you get a large collection of stamps, it is very easy to forget what you have. Then not only do you forget about them, you certainly then cannot find what you are looking for. If you looked at my post referenced above, you saw my Excel file that I use in sorting, categorizing, and finding my stamps. Well, as much as I love my Excel file, sometimes it is not the fastest way to find what I am looking for. So, several weeks before my "room move," I decided to start stamping every new stamp I received onto Rolodex cards before putting them away. And, as I have time, I am going back and stamping the stamps I already have in binders. Now, I am going to use my Rolodex to categorize ALL of my stamps (clear, unmounted rubber, and wood mounted stamps) so I can easily find what I want to use. Let's look at what I am doing.

First, here is a photo of my Rolodex. Isn't it cute? Of course, it HAD to be pink. Not my favorite shade of pink but it will do! :)
If you want this particular Rolodex, you can find it here at Office Depot. They also make one in yellow, white, black, and mahogany. Click on the color name to see it at the Office Depot site. I much prefer the rotary Rolodex because it makes flipping though the cards very easy!

As of February 2015, I now have three Rolodex files and these are the categories I have:

  • Alpha/Number 
  • Animals 
  • Arrows 
  • Backgrounds 
  • Birds 
  • Birthday 
  • Border/Frame 
  • Christian Images 
  • Circles 
  • Clothing 
  • Day/Date 
  • Easter 
  • Floral 
  • Food/Kitchen 
  • Handmade Stamps 
  • Leaves 
  • Love/Wedding 
  • Magnolia 
  • Mail/Postage 
  • Masculine 
  • Mixed Media 
  • Music 
  • Patriotic 
  • Photo Corners 
  • PL Stamps 
  • Planner Stamps 
  • Quotes 
  • Scenery 
  • Scripture (one whole Rolodex full sorted by the books of the Bible) 
  • Sentiment Christian 
  • Sentiment General 
  • Sentiment Single Word 
  • Sewing and Crafts 
  • Tickets and Tags 
  • Wheel Stamps

Now, just a note about the categories. First, some stamps can fit into several different categories. For instance, a "Happy Birthday" stamp could be put into 'Sentiments--General' but I feel it more appropriately fits into the 'Birthday' category so that is where I put that particular stamp. I have categories that make sense to me and where I know I can find things. You will want to adjust your categories as you see fit and that will work for you!

Also, for scripture stamps in the 'Scripture' category, I file all of the scripture verses in order of the books of the Bible. It makes it VERY easy to find a scripture within that category. Now I can easily find if I have a stamp with a certain verse.

You may also be wondering why I have separate 'Bird' and 'Animal' categories. I have a lot of bird and parrot stamps so I personally wanted to break them out from the 'Animal' category. That's just my personal preference. :)

I will add more categories as I complete this project. I will try to keep this post up-to-date with my category list so that you can reference it if you would like. Just remember to bookmark this post or come back and check it periodically. :)

Creating My Category Dividers
To create my cute cagetory divider cards, I just cut 2x4 pieces of kraft cardstock. I then punched 1 1/4" inch circles out of the same cardstock. Then I stamped a cute decorative piece (the LOC Touch of Elegance set) onto each circle and added ribbon and the category name and attached it to the card.
I do keep a stash of pre-cut ribbons, cards, and circles in a baggie. I also have a note to myself on how I made them so I can quickly make more when I run out. It's easy to make these in mass production!
Individual Card Notations Okay, so what are the notations on each individual card? What do they mean, and how does it help me find a stamp?

Well, in the upper left corner I write either UM, WM, or CL. That tells me if it is an umounted rubber stamp, a wood-mounted stamp, or a clear stamp. My wood-mounted stamps are not kept in my binders (see below). I have drawers for them, and I will label my cards with drawer numbers once I get to those stamps. I haven't tackled them yet. :)

In the upper right corner, I write which Univenture binder contains the stamps. For instance, PL-1 means "Plaid 1." All of my clear stamps are kept in the "plaid tagged" binders. So, the particular stamp above, "LOC Joyful Noise," can be found in the first plaid box of my clear stamp binders. I also have boxes with the prefix 'H' for houndstooth (the boxes with the houndstooth tags), and 'BG' for the boxes with the tags made out of Basic Grey papers. Here are a few of my houndstooth boxes and my Basic Grey boxes are shown below the first photo.
The bottom left corner is the name of the stamp manufacturer, and the bottom right corner is the name of the individual stamp or the stamp set name (whichever applies).

Larger Stamps
So, what do you do if your stamp is larger than 2x4? Well, I either stamp it sideways (which isn't my favorite way to do it) or I just stamp what fits. The portion that shows on my card will remind me of the complete image. That's all I need anyway. I don't worry about it if the entire image does not fit. :) Here are a couple of examples of larger stamps: And Finally
This system is very easy to keep up wtih if you get in the habit of stamping and categorizing your stamps as soon as you purchase them! After that, put them away. Easy fast, and now you have a great reference that is quick and easy to use as you create. You will also find you use more of your stamps and can find them super easy!

I hope this has helped. Please feel free to ask questions in the comment box. Just be sure to check back for my responses there also. :) Have a blessed weekend ahead, and Happy Organizing!


Stephanie said...

What a great idea, Patter. As I'm starting to collect more stamps, keeping up with what I have is getting harder. I'll also have to share this with my dil. She's just setting up her scrap/craft space & loves organizational ideas.

Isabel Z said...

I absolutely LOVE your organizational ideas and find them extremely helpful. I keep my wood mounted stamps which are mostly SU in their original cases and assign them numbers and letters--C1 (Christmas 1), F1(flower 1), etc. I have a binder which has all the images in it separated by category and the corresponding number. If I get enough stamps one day to unmount them I will borrow your idea in your other post. The rolodex ideas I'm going to use right away b/c it will be easier to keep all my images handy. Even though I have the images by set in the notebook sometimes I forget what is in each set and it would be faster to scroll through a rolodex than my notebooks Thanks for the great idea.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Patter~

I LOVE that roloddex idea. (I wonderif you could enter it in a contest through a catalog or ideas type of column? I don't know. It is just so smart to actually stamp the stamp on the card, rather than qwriting a sm. paragraph describing it. I love how you made it so pretty, too!

I hope you will show us your scrap bin...not trash bin, but if you are like most of us, you keep scraps. I have a box where I throw any piece over 2." I have 4 ziplock large baggies taped tot he outside of each box. 1 for strips...used for sentiments usually. 1 for tissue and Mulberry papers. 1 for pieces that would cover at least 1/3 of a card. And one, for all of the squares I cut with my square punch 2" and 1" from the little odd scraps. These are great mats for little objects, or letters.

Patter, I am very interested in your lace. You said you keep it dust-free, I think? Maybe some of the paper? In my reall lace bag, I also have very easily bent doilies of all types and sizes. Any suggestion on how to store them? I have them hanging from my wall, in a heavy plastic bag, hung by 2 thumb tacks. Hey, every inch counts in this room!

Please let me/us know what you think?

Happy to be His,
Traci S.

Jonia said...

Please come to my house and do mine! You are so talented with all your storage. Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

Just came across this on 2Peas...I absolutely LOVE this and it is definitely doable. Thanks for the I just need to find myself a rolodex to get started!

Anonymous said...

I too just happened to find your posting on SC - and really love the idea of using the rotary file for my stamps! I'm definitely going to get one started for myself!

Helen said...

This is so cool! What an awesome idea! I'm in the process of cleaning and organizing and I've been trying to decide what to do for this portion of orginization and I LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Georgina said...

Patter this is such a great idea - I might try it myself. At the moment I have my stamps in a binder or two but even then I end up searching through for hours! This is such a good idea.

Pam said...

Just happened to get to your blog from the hop. What a great idea. And thank you for sharing it with us. I am fairly new to stamps and card making so I have guite a few stamps but not a whole lot. So if I get started now it will be easier. Thanks so much.

Kelley said...

What a great idea! I've been trying to figure out a way to keep track of what I own and the rolodex is perfect.

Candace said...

Thank you so much for the ideas! I have a straight line Rolodex (not the rotary), just taking up space, and think this would be a wonderful use for it.

One question though...What about alphabet stamps? I have a handful of alphas, but really don't want to stamp each and every one.

You can get back with me at!


Patter Cross said...

Thanks everyone for your sweet words. I e-mailed Candace an answer about alphabet stamps, and I would post it here too in case anyone else is wondering what I will do with them. :)

"As far as a alphabet stamps, I would just stamp the “ABC” to get an idea what the font is like on one card, and file it under “Alphas.” I haven’t gotten to those yet but that’s what I am going to do. I wouldn’t stamp them all; just a sample."

Chris said...

I meant to post this last week but I find your organization tips inspirational. I'm working hard to get everything organized in my craft area, and I totally love your tips. I've seen the Rolodex idea for making a stamp index, but I thought I would prefer to have it on the computer. I was relieved to read that you find your Excel file takes a bit too long to find what you need - I have the same dilemma. I love your Rolodex index and I've decided to take the plunge. I'm already using the pink Rolodex for my card sketches, so I will have to get a different color for my stamps. :)

Colleen Kramer said...

I keep coming back to this post and wondering if it could work for me. Right now, I have a large binder with 8.5x11 page protectors. I either stamp onto the page, or like with SU sets, I cut the actual pics out of an old SU catalog. It's nice to see the actual size of stamps. I have the binder divided by companies. Do you have stamp sets or just singles...did you make a rolodex card for each image? Thanks for the clarification.

Cheryl said...

This is such an awesome idea. Thanks for sharing all your organizational ideas.............! Super blog too.

Kathleen said...

thanks for this great idea. i've been wanting to inventory my stamps for a while but it seems like such an endless task.
might just make a start as I use stamps and then add to it if i get a spare day (or week) to start on my wooden stamps!!
Off to look at your other organizational posts!!

Kathleen Mc

Ginger Snaps said...

I LOVE your Rolodex but it seems like it would fill up rather quickly if you only stamp one image per card. Does the rolodex hold more cards than I think it would, do you have more than one Rolodex, or do you not have a many stamps as I would assume? I want to do this but hesitate to start because I don't want to get halfway there and find out I need multiple rolodexes. Thoughts??

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I'm just wondering about smaller stamps. I have a few that are really small, would you put them together of one on one?

Patter Cross said...

Anonymous, yes, if they are really small AND they are in the same category from the same set, I do put them on the same card. If they are from different sets, I don't. I hope that makes sense, and glad this has been helpful!

Pam said...

What kind of binders do you use? Thanks for all the information. Pam

Patter Cross said...

Pam, I use the A5 19mm clear Univenture binders. If you don’t care about color, the black or white 3 ring binders are on sale for $1.02 each!!! They are on close-out so I don’t think they will get black or white in anymore—just the clear that I use. You can see the sale binders here:

Let me know if you have more questions. Blessings,

Jami said...

I have wanted to tackle a stamp inventory for a loooonnngg time, but have been too overwhelmed with the idea of it. I like how easy it would be to add and move things around with the rolodex idea. Thanks so much for the detailed post!

Jami said...

I have wanted to tackle a stamp inventory for a loooonnngg time, but have been too overwhelmed with the idea of it. I like how easy it would be to add and move things around with the rolodex idea. Thanks so much for the detailed post!

mary d. said...

I love to be organized also, where did you purchase your rolodex punch from? I am really looking to organize my stamps, and I agree with you when you know what stamps you have, you are more likely to use them!
you can respond to me at

Unknown said...

What do you do with sets of stamps like Stampin' Up sells? All on one card in part or several cards or what? Email me at Thank-you so much!

Jen M said...

Hello - What a wonderful way to organize. I have way too many stamps and have lost track of them. Hopefully, this will let me weed them out as I organize - LOL.

Do you stamp on both sides of the cards and then put them in the sleeves?

thanks -

Patter Cross said...

Glad this might work for you Jen! I do not stamp on both sides of the cards because it would be impossible to see the back unless I turn the Rolodex around each time. That would be a pain for me. It doesn't mean it wouldn't work for you but I prefer to just stamp on the front of the cards. Have a blessed day!

Kathy said...

Hi Patter!

I love all your tips for organization...especially the rolodex. I just posted how I did mine on my blog and referred to you here. My blog is Thanks so much for the idea! I just noticed that your rolodex has sleves, mine doesn't. Plus mine isn't a pretty color! I may have to buy a new one...hopefully the same cards I made will fit in it! Blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

I was looking online to see if anyone ever organized their stamps according to theme b/c I've only seen that people organize according to brand or material (i.e. wood, clear-mounted, etc.). I wanted to see if anyone ever did it like I did and came across your blog & storage ideas. BOY, am I IMPRESSED (-: ! I thought I was the only one who organized my stamps like you do . However, you do it even more thoroughly than I ever thought about (-; ! I absolutely love your methods! You are quite an inspiration (-: !

I also wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your deep love of God and how you really incorporate Him in all you do. I try so hard to do that, and reading all that you do in that area is very uplifting! I really love your ideas, like in the hymn scripture study. What a terrific idea! Biblical AND creative at the same time - Genius (-; !

I will certainly subscribe to your blog after reading all of the wonderful things you suggest here. Your web site is like balm on a wound after reading all of the terrible things I see on the Internet (just from opening my homepage )-: ). I have been looking for more positive, Godly web sites, and yours is right up that alley (-: . I'm afraid to make it my homepage, though, b/c I don't think I'll ever get off of it to do whatever it is I need to do; I could stay here looking around all day (-; .

God bless you for wonderful work, words, & Godliness. I, like the rest of the world, really need it (-: !

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