I was recently asked how I store my small loose ephemera. I have tried several different systems but this is the one I like best.

I use clear 4 x 6 photo boxes. Some I store in a canvas box I got at the dollar store, some came in their own clear case. I like both ways although the ones I use the most, I do keep in the canvas box as it is quicker and easier to get to them.

I made a video of my setup if you want to see it: Ephemera Storage Video. I also shot a brief segment of myself using the system to put away items. It shows more about the categories I use, how they can and will evolve as you use them, and how I decide which categories to use. It is: Sorting Scraps into my Ephemera Storage.

If you just want a written description, or if I missed explaining something in my videos, here you go.

I got the loose boxes at American Science and Surplus. They are a surplus store and inventory changes constantly so they may or may not have them at any given time. I got the ones in the clear container at Michael’s and they should always have them. They also had loose ones. I have also seen these at The Container Store and they are probably lots of other places as well.

I used plain washi tape and a sharpie to make my labels. I will probably swap those to printed labels once I am certain my categories are fixed. As I use the categories, I am finding that I have more of this than that and need to divide a category or not many of these so I need to broaden a category.

I will also say that I don’t keep everything I have in these. For example, I make clay faces and bottle caps in bulk. When I sit down to make them, I may make 100. They are fun, quick and easy to make, plus they are faster to make in bulk than one at the time so I have large quantities of those. I have one box in my system for “Dimensional Ephemera” that both of these go in along with many other things. I just keep a few of each in there and restock it as needed from the larger boxes. That way they are right at hand and more likely to be used than if I have to go get the large boxes of them.

My categories right now are:

Canvas Box – This was packed mainly with making tags, ATC and inchie in mind but can be used for art journal pages as well. When you read this you may notice everything is here except the ATC backgrounds. I store them separately. You can see that here.

  • Tag Blanks
  • Wonky House Pieces
  • Simple Punches & Shapes
  • Stamped Nature (this one was actually Stamped Flowers but I broadened it since making this video)
  • Stickers
  • Stamped People
  • Steampunk Ephemera
  • Completed Inchies
  • Inchie Backgrounds
  • Words & Phrases
  • Book/Music Pages
  • Punch Scraps (I save my scraps for a lot of things such as details on wonky houses, borders on a tag or ATC, background layers, etc)
  • Stamps – Christmas
  • Die Cuts – Homemade or Happy Mail

Clear box – This was packed mainly for packing happy mail and making art journal pages or more elaborate tags or ATCs.

  • DIY Pockets/Envelopes (I made a video on these already.
  • Painted Papers
  • Fabric/Cloth Ephemera
  • Images (these are mainly book or magazine images but also may include any type colored images including painted or colored in stamped images)
  • Bought Die Cuts – Plastic
  • Bought Die Cuts – Cardboard
  • Bought Die Cuts – Chipboard
  • Ribbons/Fibers
  • Punchenella (sequin waste)
  • Bling (this is rhinestones, pearls, etc.)
  • Dimensional Ephemera (this is a catch all for thicker ephemera such as clay faces, bottle caps, beads, etc. Pretty much anything that is 3-D.)
  • Smashbook Pieces (this one will probably be a temporary category. I bought a set of these and, while they are cool images, they are super thick and heavy. I doubt I buy more so once these are used up or mailed out, I will phase this category out.)
  • Journaling Spots and Cards (This one includes homemade, bought and received in happy mail. If I can journal on it, it goes here.)
  • Stamps & Postmarks (These are postage stamps. Mainly off Happy Mail.)
  • Bags (This one just holds empty plastic bags of all sizes. I use these when I pack up happy mail. Having them with all the little bits that I would pack up just makes it quicker and easier to package up happy mail and get it in the mail. It also makes it quicker when I am unpacking happy mail items.)
  • Reuse/Recycle (This is a catch all category. When I unpack happy mail or get junk mail and know that I can use something, I put it here. Sometimes I may find a better spot for it later but it can park here short-term. Again, this makes unpacking happy mail easier because there is always a spot for everything.)

So that is my system right now. I have been using it for about 4-5 months and still like it so I think it is a keeper. Now I just need to figure out where I want to keep it. It is on the floor under my desk right now. LOL Not the best place.

Organization is what is on,

Mickie’s Mind!