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Organizational Tips


Before organizing, first decide how you want to organize your papers by asking yourself these questions:

  • What categories make the most sense to you?
  • How do you scrap?
  • Do you tend to use several papers from the same manufacturer on one layout, or do you mix it up?
  • Do you like to work with themed papers?
  • Do you use a lot of vellum?

Close your eyes and visualize how you would have your paper arranged in your dream scrap room.

Here are some ideas for paper categories:
  • Solids and Patterns by Color
  • Solids by Color and Patterns by Color
  • Theme
  • Manufacturer (i.e. Scenic Route, Bazzill, KI Memories, Basic Grey)
  • Manufacturer Sets

There are many different ways to store your paper, but the most important factor is that the system works for you. 

Cropper Hopper products to organize both 12x12, 8x8, 9x9, 8.5x11 and 6x6 paper:

    • Vertical Value Packs/Vertical Assortment Pack
    • Vertical Paper Holders (available in 4 sizes and 2 colors)
    • 12x12 Hanging Vertical File Folders (available in paper or plastic)
    • Paper Envelopes
    • Paper Organizers

Paper Organizing Tips:

  • Because vellum tends to crinkle and rip, store more fragile papers together in their own category.
  • Remember: Do NOT be afraid to open paper packs and sort the paper into your collection. You are more likely to use it this way.

Be sure to evaluate your system after a few months, and make sure that it’s working for you. The most important factor in a maintainable system is that it works for you!

Organizing photos can be a daunting task, especially when you have decades to sort through.  This is probably one of the most time-consuming tasks, but it will also be one of the most rewarding.  Set aside a significant chunk of time to handle this task.  It really should be done start to finish in one session because if you take a long break, it’s tempting to just put those photos back in a box and tackle them, “some other time.”  Clear your schedule on a weekend day, send the kids (and the pets) off with dad, and spread out.  Consider asking a friend to come over and provide moral support.  Put on some of your favorite music, make yourself snacks that you love, and then gather every single photo in your home and put it into one area.  Make sure you find every single photo, even the ones that are hidden behind your framed photos throughout your home. 

Before you begin, decide how you want to sort your photos.  Ask yourself how will you look for them when you need them?  How will you scrap them?  What system will make them the easiest to retrieve?  Some possibilities are:

  • Chronologically – this may seem to be the most logical option, but if it doesn’t make sense for the way you scrapbook, find another option that works better for you.
  • Holiday/Event/Vacations – do you create themed albums by holiday, birthday, vacation, etc?  Consider sorting in a way that would make these photos easier to find.
  • Person – if you have separate albums for each person in your family, it may be easier to have separate categories for each one.
  • Periods of Life – this works particularly well for heritage photos, since the actual details may be difficult to determine.  It may make scrapbooking these photos less intimidating if you have them broken down into times of life.

Photo/Negative Protectors

Sort, Purge and Assign

Depending on the amount of photos you have, you may be able to sort these on a dining room table, or you may need an entire room to really spread out.  Make signs for your categories – i.e. for chronological, have a sign for every year, for vacations, create a sign that says, “Disney World,” and so on.  If you’ve vacationed in the same spot through the years, you may want to make separate piles for each year you’ve gone. 

Now is the time to decide if you want to put some of your favorite duplicates into a photo album for your coffee table, give away any photos, or if you see a small scrapbook in your mind based on photos you’ve gone through, set those aside for yourself in a clearly labeled category.  Don’t worry about being neat at this point (although make sure your piles do not slide into each other), the neatness will come in the next stage. 

Now is also the time to throw out any bad photos – blurry, dark, etc. 

Once you’ve gone through the first sorting stage, it’s time to take each pile and decide if you need to further sort chronologically or if the photos make sense to you just as they are – this is completely up to you and your organizational style.


Now that you have your photos all sorted out, decide how you want them to be stored.  Cropper Hopper photo cases and photo holders are an excellent option, cardboard photo boxes are another, or you can store the photos you plan to scrap the soonest in a container nearest your scrap area.  Just make sure whatever system you use is clearly labeled for easy retrieval later.  Larger photos can be stored in a 12 x 12 Expo, a Paper Holder, Cropper Hopper’s Photo Supply Case 2000, or a file folder.

Negatives can be stored with your photos or in a negative binder.  If you store your negatives away from your photos, be sure to include the index sheet or a written note with each set, so you know exactly what’s on each sleeve, and you don’t have to pull them out and touch them each time.  You can also store negatives in Cropper Hopper 4 x 6 Photo/Negative holders so you have them handy to make reprints. 

Copper Hopper products to organize 4x6 photos and negatives:

Photo Case 864

Photo Supply Case 2000

Photo Box
Photo Organizers


Make sure that your system is one that will make it easy to organize your future photos.  Once you have it down, you should put your pictures away as soon as you have them in your hands, and they will be easy find when you are ready to use them.  Customize your system so that it is picture perfect for you!


Tools and adhesives are some of the most important items in scrapbooking.  There are many things that you don’t necessarily need to create a page, but these are essential to each and every layout you do.  So, how to store them so that they are always at your fingertips but not in the way? 

First, decide what tools are the most essential to you, and also which adhesives you can’t live without.  Think about the things that you reach for every single time you scrap.  Those things need to be the closest to you, while the things you use occasionally are placed a bit further out of reach, and the items you use the least often are stored away or purged. Here are some ideas for each of those types of supplies:

Most often used:

  • Use a Cropper Hopper Flat Pack.  This will store your trimmer, scissors, pens, and adhesive and still have room for your most used embellishments.  You can store this on your desk, and when it’s time to leave for a crop, just grab it and go!  With a Flat Pack – you can easily carry all you need for crops and classes.
  • Store in a basket on your desk.  Whether one small basket or a silverware-type basket with dividers, this will keep your most-used items right in front of you.
  • On a peg board or wall-mounted organizational system, such as the Lisa & Becky Rail System.   There are so many hooks, cups, and holders available for these systems that all of your essentials can be stored within easy reach.

Occasional use:

  • A peg board or rail system is also good for these items, keeping them accessible but out of the way.
  • Eye-level drawer of your storage unit, whether it’s an Iris cart, a dresser, or your shelving unit.  The closer the drawer or shelf is to eye level; the easier it will be to retrieve these items.

Rarely used:

  • Store these items (extra trimmers, gadgets used infrequently, extra adhesives) up on your highest shelf or down below your desk or on your lowest shelf.  These items should be stored in the most inconvenient place; so that they don’t get in the way of the things you use the most.  Use a Cropper Hopper Supply Case to store these items.
  • Consider purging some of these items.  If you tried embossing but find it’s not your cup of tea, sell your heat gun.  If you are hanging on to that adhesive you don’t really like just in case you run out of your favorite, give it to your friend, your child, or your local school and stock up on the supplies you’ll actually want to use.  Now is the time to purge those supplies that are just taking up space.  You’ll be glad you did!

Once you have a system in place for your essentials, putting them back in the same place every time will become a reflex, and you will never have to hunt for your favorite scissors again!


Embellishments are like the icing on the cake, adding a certain flair to your layouts.  It’s important to find a system that will help you store all your embellishments in a way that won’t overwhelm you and is visible enough that you don’t forget to use them. 

As always, first you must bring all of your embellishments together, touch every piece that you have, and sort through them, determining what to purge and deciding how to sort them in a way that makes sense to you.
Embellishment Organizer (CHEMB1)

Some ideas for sorting your embellishments:

  • By category (buttons, brads, alphabet charms, etc.)
  • By color
  • By manufacturer or lines within manufacturers
  • By type (metal, acrylic, tin)
  • By theme
  Embellishment Essentials Boxes
Embellishment Organizer Case


For alphabet embellishments, there are different considerations. 

  • Separate your alphabets by letter and have an “A” section that will store your metal, button, tin, eyelet, and game board letters together. 
  • Sort each type of letter separately (i.e. your alphabet buttons in one place with each section devoted to a different letter).
  • Sort each color separately and then separate the letters. 

Most importantly, the organizational plan has to make sense to you and the way you would use your alphabets.

Now that you’ve decided how to sort your embellishments, the next step is deciding how to store them.  Which embellishments do you find you use the most?  Those should be the closest and most easily accessible to you.  Do you crop away from home often?  If you do, your embellishment holders should be portable enough to be able to toss in your Cropper Hopper Flat Pack and go, without your having to stop and transfer them to another container.

Don’t forget to label everything – labeling is the key for easy retrieval and clean-up!  Whatever system of storage you choose, review it from time to time to make sure it’s still working for you.  Is it still easy to find exactly what you need?  Is it easy to clean up after a scrap session?  Is it easy to put away new purchases?  If you answer no to any of these questions, it may be time to tweak your system a bit.  Remember, being able to maintain your system is one of the most important aspects to organization!


Stickers and die-cuts are some of the hardest things to organize because the different sizes and shapes pose many challenges. Rub-ons present their own challenges because if they aren’t stored properly, they stick to each other, damaging precious supplies.  By now you know that the first rule in organizing anything is to first purge ruthlessly and then to determine how you will be using these items when you scrap.

Some ideas for sorting:

  • Color
  • Manufacturer (i.e. KI Memories) or Lines within Manufacturers (i.e. KI Memories Uptown Collection)
  • Theme
  • Size
  • Type (i.e. stickers - letters, pebble, clear, embossed, etc.; die-cuts, tags, circles, pockets, etc.; rub-ons, letters, quotes, phrases, etc.)

However you decide to sort them, there are many different options for storing them:

  • In Cropper Hopper Expos.  The 12x12 Expos are great for storing all different sizes of letter stickers.  The 7x12 Expo also holds stickers and the 5x7 Expo is the perfect size for die cuts once they’ve been punched from their packaging.
  • The flat side of Cropper Hopper Embellishment Cases is a great spot to hold die-cuts that you don’t want to remove from their packaging.
  • Peg boards or modular wall units (see image).
  • Rub-on sets from manufacturers such as Making Memories and Scrapbworks can be stores standing in baskets. This option works better if the rub-ons remain in their packaging.
  • Large sticker and die-cut sheets can be stored in drawers, but they pose a risk of snagging other sheets when removed.
  • Large sticker and die-cuts can also be stored in hanging file folders.
  • Stickers, die-cuts and rub on sheets can be stored in mail slots or a desk organizer.


No matter how you decide to store your die-cuts, stickers and rub-ons, be sure to label them as much as possible to ensure quick retrieval.  If you have space, sort them out as much as possible according to the categories that work best for you because it will save time and frustration when you want to use these items.


Preparing for a Crop

Crops can be a wonderful chance for you to get caught up on pages, catch up with friends, and enjoy your hobby with other scrapbookers who understand your obsession.  But planning ahead is very important to your success – it is a proven fact that the less you bring to a crop, the more you’ll actually get done.  Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

Flat Pack

  1. Mission Statement:  A crop is a rare chunk of time to spend on yourself.  How long will the crop last?  What do you want to accomplish?  Do you want to socialize?  Do you want to set a goal for completed pages?  Would you like to complete a mini-album?  Do you want to try to master a new technique?  Do you want to organize your photos?  Knowing what you want to get out of it and how much time you’ll have to do it is crucial to your planning, and helps to avoid frustration at the end of the day if you don’t achieve what you set out to do.
  2. Gather your Blueprints:  If you’re planning to get a certain number of pages done, having a blueprint for each page, whether a sketch, a rough drawing, or inspiration from a print ad or a layout you’d like to borrow, is an important step in the planning process.  If these points of inspiration are in a book or magazine, consider copying them or cutting them out of the book so you can place it directly with your photos and papers. 
  3. Match Photos to the Blueprints:  Once you have your sketches in mind, find photos that will coordinate with them.  Then for each set of blueprint and photos, do the following steps:

    1. Journal:  You know from your sketches where the journaling will go and how big it should be, so now is the perfect time to write it.  Once you have your papers together, you can print it out – that way, your pages will be completely finished at the crop! 
    2. Coordinate Papers with your Photos and Journaling:  Match the papers to the colors in your photos and the mood of your journaling.
    3. Choose your embellishments:  Whether your title will be printed on paper, created with stickers, or some other type of embellishment, gather the supplies for that, and then think about your finishing touches and include those.  You may want to bring more than one option so you can decide exactly how you like it when you have everything else in place.
  1. Place your supplies in a Pages in Progress Envelope:  Store each set of blueprints, photos, papers, journaling and embellishments separately.  Bring a few of these and your basic supplies & you can get pages done at the crop!!
  2. Bring a Small Sticky-note Pad to the Crop:  If you forget to bring something for your page, or decide it needs just one more thing, you can write it on the sticky note and attach it to your page.  Now you have a perfect reminder when you get home!

Packing for crops does not need to be a huge chore the day before you go – keep your supplies organized – that way, if you get a last minute invitation to a crop, you’ll be able to grab and go!  You’ll have fun, get more done, and be proud of your accomplishments!