Friday, March 13, 2009


Wendy Smedley, friend/scrapbooker/author/organization extraordinaire, is teaching a Big Picture Scrapbooking class right now (based on her fabulous book, The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker - currently sold out at CK Media).

She asked a few of her students to come up with a few questions for me about my space... and my super-cool job at The Container Store. I was perfectly happy to oblige. Me talk about scrapbook organization AND my job?! YES, please! :-D

I hope you're ready... I'm very thorough and hyper-link-happy (with your mouse: right click and click "open in new tab/window" to go to links while staying here on this page... or Mac users: hover over link and Command-Click.). :-D

1. What are The Container Store's options for storing 12 x 12 papers? -Renee

Renee, I'm so glad you asked! The great thing about The Container Store... they know their audience. You can go to their website, and type in "scrapbooking," and get these results. LOVE that feature.

So... here's what they have to offer (and some other ideas I came up with) as far as paper storage:

Scrapbook Cart (and what's really great about this... you can buy those Paper Storage Cases *without* the cart if you'd like)

Archival Scrapbook Storage Box

Translucent File Tote

14-Pocket Portfolio

There's also this MDF Paper Sorter (shown in my own scrap space):
It is VERY well-constructed, and has SIX paper trays (plus the top to put things on). It's not available on the website anymore, but I *know* that it's still available in some stores (Austin, Texas is one of them). Unfortunately, stores can't ship, but if you have one near you, check it out! They may have some left! Retails for $39.99 right now (on sale).

We also have these *fabulous* elfa Cabinet-Sized Mesh Drawer Units. They come in three heights and three widths... PLUS three different-sized drawers (1-runner, 2-runner, and 3-runner... and you can mix and match if you'd like). These Cabinet-Sized ones only come in white (my dog, Ruby is making a cameo in this photo)...

And the "Medium-sized" ones (NOT the Narrow!) fit paper perfectly! The *inside* dimensions (most important) are 14x14 (I measured them myself!)... so they'll even accommodate that extra 1/2" (that most patterned papers have these days). These one-runner drawers (shown in the below photo) would be perfect to hold paper! (Though the Narrow-sized drawers have outside dimensions of 12 7/8" x 16 7/8", the inside dimensions are too small to hold 12x12 paper. They will hold 8.5x11 paper, however.)

You could order and build (very easy... literally, takes minutes!) a 10-runner (ten 1-runner drawers) for only $137 with the sale right now! You just need this frame kit in Medium, ten of the Medium 1-runner drawers, and you're set! (Of course the price will be a bit higher if you're having it shipped.)

If you don't want to buy the whole unit, you could just buy a few of the drawers and have them sitting on shelves. You could also get a deeper drawer to house completed layouts before they make it into albums.

However, we *also* have ones that are a bit larger (20 3/4" long - outside measurements), and those come in three heights, four widths (including Wide) and *two* colors: white and platinum. For both the regular and cabinet sized, you have the option to add a melamine top (shown in above photo) and/or wheels! (Also, don't forget back-stop pins if you don't want the drawers to open both directions or in & out stops if don't want to be able to pull the drawer all the way out.)

Elfa is The Container Store's best-selling product. It's VERY sturdy, has an awesome guarantee (great return policy if it doesn't hold up or serve the purpose it should), and is completely customizable! Plus, it's 30-50% off until May 10, 2009! Seriously... what more could you ask for in scrapbook storage?!

2. What Container Store products do you use in your own scrapbooking space? -chameleongryl

Wow, what a question! I think there are too many to name. LOL! Well, in addition to the MDF Paper Sorter, my favorites are...

-A whole slew of these Stockholm boxes in all different sizes (in white; though I'm *really* craving the orange and red right now... and I may have to give my scrap space a color makeover...). Our store also sells them in a deep plum color (which is GORGEOUS), graphite, and a green stripe. :)

-This Natural Desktop File. It's "raw," and I think that's what drew me to it (check out its matching friends on that page). Raw chipboard to most scrapbookers means altering. :) And I'm an altering fiend, so I love this! I spray painted mine with an antique white paint and decorated it with lace and buttons. :) It holds my alphas, and it really is the perfect alpha solution for me. I tried *many* storage options before I settled on this gem:

-This is kinda unconventional (considering these are intended for clothes and towels), but I keep my punches in these adorable small canvas bins. I have three of them (my punches are organized by category: squares, circles, shapes like flowers/hearts/etc). They are *under* my computer desk now because I was so sick of lugging a box of these off a shelf. Ugh. They're much too heavy to keep up high. LOL. LOVE this solution. Adorable? Check! Open? Check! The small one large enough to hold lots of punches? Check! Perfection.

-And last, but certainly not least (save the best for last, right?!) is my elfa shelving. :) I get a HUGE discount on elfa (50-60%... see, a great place to work!), so I went a little crazy. LOVE it though. And what's great about elfa is that I can add shelves as I "grow." Tee hee. Here are some photos of my space. It has changed a *tad* since I took these photos in December (moved the ribbon *under* my desk by my punches, moved the paper sorter to the left where the ribbon cabinet used to be, and placed another shelf where the paper sorter used to be). I'm often changing and rearranging to fit my current creative process. But it's pretty much the same. :)

3. What products are on your list of things to invest in?

From The Container Store? elfa! elfa! ELFA! I think this really is the most important for me. We say, "Happiness is an organized closet." Well, for us scrapbookers? Happiness is an organized scrap space! Am I right?!
(photo from

The wonderful thing about elfa is that it is COMPLETELY customizable. The shelving options are almost unlimited... birch, walnut, bamboo (GORGEOUS in real life!), sycamore, driftwood (very cool and different), white solid (my personal fave), white ventilated, and platinum ventilated. You can create an entire room, just a couple walls, or just a *small* workspace.

Also, elfa can hold A LOT of weight. On average... 70 pounds per square foot. Seriously... the guys at my work HANG on the ventilated shelves! LOL. And if you ever have ANY problems with your elfa (or any products at The Container Store, for that matter), just bring it back... no matter how long it's been. We want you to be completely satisfied! How's that for service?!

And my favorite non-Container Store purchase is the Cropper Hopper Vertical Storage Holder. :) I have TWENTY of them. Not exaggerating. I didn't always buy the value packs though. Most of them, I bought the holder only.

Oh! I just thought of one more thing. Paper/project envelopes! I sort my paper by manufacturer, each manufacturer (or each kit or collection) has its own envelope, and they fit inside the Cropper Hoppers. This way I can keep all papers/scraps, die cuts, alphas (that coordinate) together in one place. Michaels sells a pack of 10 envelopes for $12.99 (these may be a different brand than Generations, and they have snaps instead of ties), and I use my 40%-off coupon (I feel like I'm stealing them at that price...)! I probably have over 50 of them. I've never counted. Now I'm scared to count. LOL.

4. Do you organize by color/theme/manufacturer?

Umm... all three. :) Most embellishments are by color. Metal, wood, journaling cards... are by *type* of embellishment (they all have their own drawers in the embellishment drawer center):
Christmas embellishments are separate (including snowflake punches).

Punches are by theme/shape. Alphabets are all together in that one container, but still in color order (so all whites together, blacks together, etc).

Cardstock is by color, ROY G BIV order. I don't separate Bazzill (the main company I use) from other manufacturers.

Patterned paper is by manufacturer. It used to be by color, but I have this creepy knack for memorizing paper lines (and an addiction to buying complete lines), so now I have them by manufacturer. Scary, really. ;-) If I happen to have *many* lines from one manufacturer (*ahem* Basic Grey *ahem*), then I sort those alphabetically by collection name.

And I have one Cropper Hopper for all Christmas papers. I have about seven different Christmas lines from different manufacturers (okay, several from Basic Grey), and it was WAY too confusing to have those separated the other way. LOVE it this way!

Studio Calico kits (another addiction) are kept separate from all the other paper. I do not sort out embellishments or papers into my stash. I have two Cropper Hoppers for those kits, and each kit has its own envelope to hold everything from that month's kit.

5. Are you a 'visible' or 'not-visible' storage person?

I'm not too keen on visual clutter, so I used to have my pens, adhesives, scissors (your basic staples) in drawers and closed containers, but it drove me bonkers. My staples are the only things that are visible because I use them on every layout. (Adhesives are also in a sterling silver plate. Trimmers are in a basket behind my workspace on another table.)
Everything else is in a non-visible box or container.

BUT... I do have labels on EVERYTHING. I used to not have things labeled, and I'd say, "I know what's in there!" But then it was like... 50 containers without labels. LOL. I realized I was wasting precious time not having them labeled. Even though I "knew" where things were, having a label gives my eye something to "catch," and I grab for it faster... don't second-guess myself. I spent one whole night labeling everything, and it was the best hour or two I spent. I even labeled some open baskets. Label, label, label!

7. Which of the hanging file accommodating plastic storage container options do you think is the best -- covered or uncovered, stacking? (Locally, there are about three versions on sale right now.) I'm thinking memorabilia/large photo storage. -Thanks! Kathleen

Kathleen, that's a toughie. I suppose it's personal preference. Since I'm more of the non-visible type of organizer, I'd probably go for one of the non-plastic Stockholm Desktop Files or Archival Safe Storage Box.

But if you wanted plastic, specifically, I'd go with the Translucent File Tote Box (X-large if you think you need twice the space). It accommodates both letter- and legal-sized folders, which is awesome if you think you may want to keep larger newspaper articles! And you can buy archival-safe file folders for those photos. :)

6. What is the one Container Store product (scrap or non) that you couldn't live without?

You're killin' me! I'd say elfa, but I'd sound like a broken record. LOL. So since that's a given, I'll say...

... the Semikolon Spiral Notebook. :D I'm HUGE into journaling, and I also love sketching layouts. It has three tabbed dividers. 60 pages of lines. 60 pages of grid. 60 pages of blank pages. How perfect is that for a scrapbooker?! Seriously! And totally alterable (I altered one for a friend... added some paper, ribbon, chipboard stickers and alphas... to the bottom 1/3 of the notebook).
And my favorite non-scrappy item? It's kinda silly, but...

... the Cup-A-Cake. :-) It was the VERY first item I ever bought there. It's a little container that holds a cupcake... without messing up the frosting. They don't sell them online, so you'd have to go to the store to get one (or email someone who lives near one... LOL). My camera battery is dead, but once it gets charged, I'll take a photo of it, and post it! Check back! :-)

Well, Organizers... that's it. I know... long. Thorough. ;-) If you'd like to see ALL the photos of my space, go here to my December archives. Hope you enjoyed it! Please send me photos of your spaces! I'd LOVE to see! :)

And I'll leave you with this...
My "puppies" (they're almost six years old now), Ruby-Monday and Amber-Lamb love to go shopping with me. Here they are posing in front of Food Storage at The Container Store. Yes, we are a pet-friendly store.

Speaking of Food Storage, it's a great place to find "little" visible containers for your scrappy stuff. One of my favorite sections of the store. Another great department of the store, full of fun containers for everything scrappy, is Collections! Check it out!

Have fun organizing!


Dena said...

Thanks for all the information. I went to the Container Store and bought some closed boxes for my shelves in black and kraft. I want color so it was nice to see the ones that are bright. Thanks, I will have to make another trip (2 hours away).

Bashful said...

Oh Reya, you're killin' me here! Total organization-envy, LOL. Money's a little tight right now, but when things turn around, I know where I want to go for scrapping storage. :-) Thanks for sharing!

tbscrapper said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! So much to think about as I continue to organize my space. Appreciate the info!

JeanetteS said...

And that is why I love the Container Store. There are so many options to organize with. Thanks for the tour. And your puppies are most adorable.

Betty said...

Thank you for taking the time answer questions :)

Kris with a K said...

Funny, Reyanna, I was just at Container Store this weekend to pick up wheels for my 7 runner...I think I saw you...did you get your hair cut?

Angie said...

I linked over from Wendy's blog. This is adorable! and I have a dog named Ruby too, but mine is MUCH bigger. :-)

Kathleen said...

Thanks so much for your info on hanging file storage. I'd been looking more at the translucent tote box, but hadn't considered your other options, which I like a lot. I love the semicolon notebook, too! Mine's green also,and I got it before I took Wendy's class, use it for all my notes/ideas from her class. What a great class, I have learned sooo much. And I've been in the Container Store tooo much!

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking:
Stacy Julian recommends steel master 2-drawer cabinets to use in the LOM category drawers. They average $55 and I can see why she likes them...but I can see that she doesn't have a lot of other options in the way of 4x6 file drawers either. Wouldn't it be great if The Container Store carried something...Hmmm ;)

snaps&snippets said...

Thanks for all the info. Loving those notebooks - might have to hint around to darling husband about those before Mother's Day.