Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Irritant Neutralized...Sort of

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!!!! I hope all my readers in the United States are enjoying a wonderful day relaxing with family and friends, eating way too much good food. And I wish all the rest of the world a Thursday of peace, joy, and gratitude, too.

And now, what better day to rant about stamp organization than Thanksgiving! After all, I'm incredibly grateful for all the many stamps I have to whine about organizing...more grateful than anyone who isn't a stamper could possibly understand.

Do you hear me squawking freedom? Of course, you do!

Anyway, those of us with mild OCD find plenty to irritate us in the stamping world. Take stamp storage, for instance. There is no way for an obsessively-organized stamper to use all different forms of stamps (clear, wood-mounted, cling) and have a truly consistent and satisfying storage system. Not. Possible.

I accepted years ago that there is no perfect system, so I've compromised over the years, trying to balance it all within reason and without spending gobs of money. It's hard, though. Surely, you can spot the problems--plural--with this picture?

Let's count all the first-world problems, shall we?

1. Papertrey provides printed labels for CD/DVD cases. But these labels, printed on clear stickers in black, are nearly impossible to read when stored this way, despite the fact that my craft space is extremely well lit. (And we won't even get into the fact that PTI switched from giving CD cases with stamp sets to suggesting you buy DVD cases instead. No way was I going to change my system that far down the road...too expensive and too big a job.)

2. Other companies do NOT provide printed labels for CD cases, which means we have to improvise if we're going to put clear stamps in CD cases. So we end up with two different kinds of labels, mixed willy-nilly together. Seriously? Aren't you getting itchy just looking at them?

3. At the very back of the picture, you will see stamp sets from other companies left in their original packaging of large transparency folders. How in the name of all that is good and wonderful and tidy can this work? It can't. It just can't!

4. Please don't mention the one set in front that was put away backwards. Because the labels are so hard to read, I didn't even notice it until I loaded the picture. Sigh.

What is a mildly OCD stamper to do?

Well, this is the place to start:

While I likely won't put my Hero Arts and Waltzingmouse and Clearly Besotted and Lily Bee and Dare 2 B Artzy stamps into jewel cases (I'd need more than 25 cases), I did get a largish order of Papertrey sets Tuesday that needed cases. So I bought more cases and a new pack of 2" x 4" address labels.

All my sets currently stored in CD cases got new labels today. I made these by cutting the labels into 1/4" strips with a craft knife and quilting ruler (if you cut so they stay attached to the full backing paper, they are easier to work with). I hand-wrote the names of sets, and now the whole collection is at least readable and consistent.

Even at a distance, you can read these labels. YAY! What's stored in these two green boxes is almost all Papertrey. (A few random sets from other companies are tucked in as well. I'm only mildly OCD, remember?)

I will put the other companies' stamps--the ones in transparency folders--in the storage boxes with my wood-mounted sets and deal with them another day. I've no idea how to handle them, but this is enough of a fix to satisfy me for the time being.

And because I know people will ask, the sets I bought are Fair Isle Motifs, Note Niblets, Doodlie-Do, Wet Paint, Keep It Simple: Christmas, and Polka-Dot Parade #12. My sister-in-law gave me a very generous gift card to Papertrey for my birthday. Bless her thoughtful little heart!

And now for a card, one destined for Operation Write Home:

I had Hero Arts' clear set called Oh, Snap! out (with the arrow) and Papertrey's Love Birds set out. The gray and red color combination from my winter/Christmas cards was fresh in my mind. And this was the result. It makes me smile!

Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

stamps: Papertrey Love Birds, Hero Arts Oh, Snap
ink: Hero Arts
paper: Papertrey
accessories: none


  1. Excellent job of organizing your stamps, Susan. I wish I were so inclined...

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you too
    Love the card.. A while back I'd made a I miss you card.. a lone blue bird sitting on a branch .. I wonder how this same card would look like with just the one bird

    Here is my card.. I don't mean to litter.. but I really want to share this with you.. after all you are my #1 inspiration :)

    1. Your card is so sweet, Jaya Christina! Thanks for sharing it. Blue and miss you go so well together!

      I love the single-bird approach to miss-you cards, but very deliberately put two birds on my arrow. The arrow symbolizes the love and longing that keeps two birds together even when they are far least, that was my thinking, LOL!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Susan to you and all of your blog readers. I appreciate your insight on the simple yet effective storage concept. I do something similar, but I still struggle with the idea of storing my stamps by manufacturer or by theme. For example, there are so many useful sentiments that come with image sets, yet I sometimes don't think to look there for the perfect sayings for my cards - I habitually reach for the 'sentiment set'. Also, do you do any type of indexing of the images? I started it, but then it got too overwhelming. It all came about because the PTI labels for the fronts of the CD cases are also clear and I couldn't see the exact images. Thoughts? Thanks again for sharing your approach.

    1. I've stored my stamps both ways--by theme and by manufacturer. I've pulled sentiments out of sets...and put them back. I've had a stamp index, but as you discovered, I found it became unwieldy and began limiting it only to clear sets. Don't ask why, as I can't answer that, but I do appreciate having the index for searching sentiments.

      Hmmm. That makes me wonder if I should do an index just for sentiments.

      I seriously think we should look at storage as organic and evolutionary. As long as we grow our collections, our storage needs will shift and change. We may never be perfectly happy, but maybe if we focus on organizing that enhances creativity rather than blocking it, perhaps we can reach happy compromises along the way.

    2. Ha! Love the rationale, especially the key words "grow our collections". You are so absolutely right. I actually enjoy reorganizing every now and then and usually come up with some ideas as I go along. It DOES spur creativity.

  4. My stamps are mostly in their original packaging all over my desk. It's driving me crazy! I love your solution. I think I first need to buy a storage "thingy" to put them all in, so they aren't on my (small) desk. I can't wait to see what you do with Note Niblets and Doodlie-Do. :-)

  5. I love all your labelled sets. Several years ago, I bought DVD metal tins to fit a rack I already owned. My solution was to limit my stamps to what would fit in the rack. At a hundred cases, I thought it would last forever, hah! Anyways, I carefully labelled each tin. My dear, sweet two-year-old was too quiet a few days later. I caught him having peeled off all the labels as far up as he could reach. It was only about half of them. It took me days to get everything labelled. I've never bothered fixing it. I'm so used to my system, I can grab within 4 boxes the set I want.

    1. Ohmygosh!!!! The things that two-year-olds can get up to!


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