What you’ll need:
- A binder for creating a catalog
- Paper for the catalog sheets – I like 12×12 because I can get more on each page, but you can also use A4 or 8.5×11
- Page protectors for the catalog pages
- Label Maker – optional
- Paper for creating each die sample
Step 1 – Choose an organization tool for your dies
There are many different types of die organizers; magnetic, boxes, binders, etc. Choosing the best die organizer for your dies will depend on where you craft. If you always craft at home, you can use a desktop or shelf-type file box. If you travel with your dies, a binder or bag will be a better option.
1-Binder – 3” Flippin’ Storage Binder with Medium Die & Stamp Pockets
2-Fab File (5×7) & Sticky Die Storage Cards
3-Bag – Denise Buddy Bag with Medium Die & Stamp Pockets
4-Desktop – DeskMaid Die, Stamp & Supply Organizer with Variety Pack Die & Stamp Pockets
Step 2 – Create a list of categories for your dies
Categories should include Alphabets & Numbers, Themes & Sentiments, and Holidays & Seasons.
This follows my general philosophy for organizing your paper crafting supplies in my 4 Section System. Download an example list of themes and sentiments.
Step 3 – Create a labeled catalog sheet for each category
This is as simple as it sounds. I like to use my label maker so everything looks neat and tidy, but you can keep it simple and just write the name of each category at the top of your catalog sheets.
Step 4 – Put all your dies in the organizer(s) you chose.
This might seem a little counterintuitive, but in order to label each die with a location, you’ll need to know where they are going to be stored before you create the catalog. Fill your chosen organizer(s) with your dies. Remember, because you are using a catalog, they won’t need to be arranged by theme.
Step 5 – Number or label your organizers and your dies.
Once all your dies are stored, you can begin labeling both the organizer(s) and the individual dies.
First, assign a number or letter to each organizer. Next, label each location (magnetic sheet, pocket in your binder, pocket in your file box, etc.) with a number. If you’re using more than one organizer, include some type of location code. For instance, if you’re storing them in 3 drawers, label them D1, D2, and D3. Then the dies in D1 would be labeled D1 #001- D1 #125, D2 would start with D2 #126, etc. This can be a little confusing.
Step 6 – Create a sample of each dieWorking through your organizers, cut a sample of each die and add it to the appropriate catalog sheet. Note the number/location of the die on the catalog sheet. If the die will fit in more than one category, make multiple samples and put them in each appropriate section of the catalog.
Step 7 – Add to your catalog each time you purchase a new die.
Give your new die a number. Create a sample of the die, add it to your catalog and put the die away. I used a 12×12 Craft Binder to contain my catalog.
Tip – When I cut this die, the small hearts in the pattern created little tiny hear cutouts. I put all the tiny hearts into a small reclose-able, zip style baggie and stored them in the pocket with the die. Each time I use the die, I’ll add the tiny hearts to the baggie – I can use them as confetti or I can use them to fill a shaker shape.
Why is it best to use numbers and a catalog rather than storing your dies by theme/holiday, etc.
There are a couple of reasons to use a catalog/numbering system over “theme” storage.
First – storing things by theme requires that you are regularly “re-arranging” your supplies or adding more storage tools. If you’ve got a die storage binder for Christmas and it is completely full, when you buy a new Christmas die you’ll also need another binder/box etc. The majority of this new binder will be empty until you purchase enough dies to fill it. You would need binders for Easter, Summer, Travel…depending on how many dies you own, you might have an entire shelf of binders that were mostly empty. If you create a catalog and store the dies numerically, you can fill your storage tools to capacity and then add a second, third, fourth…as needed, filling each to capacity before you add the next.
Second – catalogs show you your full collection of appropriate dies at a glance. If you’re in search of a specific die for Christmas, and you flip to the Christmas section of your catalog, you’re also going to see the other Christmas dies in your collection. There may be a better option that you had forgotten about or there maybe a second die that would work well with the first.
Third – catalogs are portable. Hauling your entire die collection to a crafting event could be quite cumbersome and heavy. However, if you bring your catalog and a little stack of sticky notes, you can choose the dies you’ll use while you’re at the event, but actually, add them to your project when you get home.
Fourth – shopping is simplified. If you’re shopping for dies, either on the internet or at a store, being able to flip through the sections in your catalog will help you choose dies that complement, rather than duplicate the dies you already own.
Thanks so much for joining me today! If you have questions about getting your supplies organized, you can always reach us on Facebook, Instagram, by email, or that old-fashioned device – the telephone (253) 284-9200.