I am a little bit of a cardstock, Designer Series Paper, textured paper, and technique paper hoarder. But it does get overwhelming and then what is the point of all that goodness if you can’t find it? This is the 2nd topic in my Let’s Get Organized series. Today’s post is about how I organize cardstock and patterned papers. Check out organizing stamps and dies HERE if you missed the first in the series.

We all like to have everything magazine perfect but that isn’t the way I actually live and create. So here is a quote that I need you to read (twice).

Organization does not have to match or be perfect. It just has to work for you.

Here is the organization process for cardstock and DSP that I have found works for me. This is one wall of my 13′ x 13′ Studio (actually a utility room in the basement).



  • labeler (I use Brother P-Touch)
  • page protectors (Avery Premium Top Load Heavyweight Sheet Protectors – clear view, acid-free)
  • 12-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ clear plastic bags (ZE12H-12.5×12.5 from Clearbags.com)
  • plastic shoe boxes (IRIS brand is my favorite)
    • OR Clear Acrylic Crate from Stamp-n-Storage
    • OR a 6″x6″ refrigerator bin (I like iDesign or mDesign available online)
  • bookcase or file drawer(s) (IKEA rocks!)
  • cubes (minimum 13″) TIP: If you are thinking about an IKEA wall I would get the Paper Storage option for 12″ x 12″ paper from Stamp-n-Storage. They are 13″ x 13″ as opposed to the craft store brand that is 16″ x 16″. It’s a good use of space and a higher-quality item. With that said, my craft store cubes are 20 years old with lots of use and have held up quite well. The craft store drawer units are no longer available.
  • box for scraps or unwanted papers (to be donated or sold)
  • small dot stickers

Keeping storage containers clear works for me. I like a clean look (is that an oxymoron?) in my Studio. I don’t want other colors getting in the way of my visual joy.

NOTE: I receive an affiliate commission when you purchase from Stamp-n-Storage by using my link. I use these funds to reinvest in my business serving you with creative content.


I use the same naming convention on my labels for everything (including ribbons, trims, and embellishments). Sometimes I put catalog first and sometimes item number because it doesn’t really matter where it is as long as you have the data.

Naming convention: Product Name > Catalog* Time Period Covered (*AC = Annual Catalog / MC = Mini Catalog / SAB = Sale-a-Bration / OE = Online Exclusive) – Item # – cost

  • Stamp Example: Line 1: Marigold Moments Line 2: MC-JA23 #160665 $24
  • Die Example: Line 1: Marigold Moments Line 2: MC-JA23 #160666 $33


I read an article several years ago that resonated with me. The author used the S P A C E acronym to define organizing.

  • S – SORT
  • P – PURGE
  • A – ASSESS
  • E – EMBELLISH (Label)

And that is how I will share my organize notes.


The hardest part of organizing craft papers is the Sort – Purge – Assess step. It can be HARD (I struggle)! Everything has potential. But it is time to get real with yourself. Just because you can, does not mean you will or even should keep something. Our tastes change and it is OK to let go. Pull out the obvious papers you no longer want and put them aside in the box reserved for donation or sale.

Sort your paper by category. Here are my categories

  • 8-1/2″ x 11″ Solid Cardstock
  • 12″ x 12″ Solid Cardstock
  • 12″ x 12″ Patterned Paper (DSP)
    • I separate my Stampin’ Up! DSP from other brands. Over time I have found that I do not use the other brands because color coordination is more difficult. The natural progression from that understanding is to not buy it unless you have an immediate use for it. LOL!
  • 12″ x 12″ Specialty Paper – by type (glitter, foil, vellum, watercolor, linen, etc)
  • 6″ x 6″ Patterned Paper
  • Other – Adhesive sheets, masking paper, scrap paper (not cardstock)
  • Inspiration or Tutorials (printed)

Now let’s attack each category.

8-1/2″ x 11″ SOLID CARDSTOCK


I rarely purge solid cardstock (just small scraps). With Stampin’ Up! color coordination I find that if I keep a DSP that coordinates with a solid cardstock then I need to keep some solid cardstock. This works for me if I set limits on my storage space. 🤣😁

When a cardstock color retires, I place a small sticker dot on the label.


Put 2 sheets of cardstock in a heavyweight page protector for rigidity. All scraps that I think I might use are slipped in the front so I can see them. Then label the page protector with the name of the cardstock (and the item number if you like).


The cardstock is placed behind the labeled page protector on a bookshelf. I use the Billy narrow bookcase from IKEA. The bookcase is sturdy and the shelves do not buckle under the weight of the paper. I have not had any problem with warped or worn cardstock by storing it vertically. If you have a lot of natural light in your room, you might want to keep your cardstock out of direct sunlight.

And of course, I arrange all this in rainbow order.

What is rainbow order? Use the mnemonic ROY G. BIV – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Thank you, Sir Isaac Newton!

I keep 8-1/2″ x 11″ black, brown, white, cream, shimmer, and vellum next to my rainbow of color.

12″ x 12″ PAPERS


I have a great cube system that was purchased from my local craft & hobby store. The cubes can be stacked, rearranged to fit space, and oriented vertically or horizontally. SHOPPING TIP: The key is to make sure that the cube is a 13″ interior measurement. TIP: Go through the Sort, Purge, and Assess process before purchasing lots of storage items.


I may have a slight hoarding problem with Designer Series Paper. 🤣 It is a constant process to purge unwanted papers. As I come across one that no longer makes my heart smile, I put it in the box for donating or selling. I sell full packages and donate open packages and scraps to a local school or church. Use the Stampin’ Up! boxes because they are a perfect size and not too heavy when full! When the box is full, drop it off.


Put the DSP package into a clear bag. I have been using the clear bag from Clearbags.com for over 10 years and they are awesome. Because I put mine upright in my cube, I label the side edge so that the DSP name is visible.

DSP collections have multiple patterns and coordinate with multiple solid cardstocks. I have learned to keep the backing board that comes with the DSP. But how do I see the patterns when the collection is in a bag? Here are a couple of pictures of my solutions.

As you can see, all the coordinating colors, item #, and other particulars are on the backing board. In the first example, I cut out the corresponding catalog page. You don’t get the true color but it is fast. In the second example, I just made a label. And in the third example, I cut out strips of each DSP pattern (make sure you get both front and back) and glued them to the backing board.

What do I do when I only have a few sheets of 12″ x 12″ DSP left? I chop it down to 6″ x 6″.


I separate my current and retired DSP and sort them alphabetically with the exception of holiday papers. The holiday, foils, Glimmer, window sheets, and vellums are all in separate sections of my cubes and sorted alphabetically by topic.

DSP storage in a cube

6″ x 6″ PAPERS

Go through the same Sort, Purge, and Assess process as you did for your 12″ x 12″ paper. Decide on your storage parameters (the Contain!). I try to keep mine to 2 shoe boxes. SHOPPING TIP: I prefer the IRIS brand shoe box with straight sides to maximize my space. But any box that is at least 6″ wide, preferably a little bit more so that paper does not bind at the bottom, will work.

I created tabs dividers from old pressboard folders that my Dad was purging (I love repurposing). I cut the pressboard to 6″ x 6-1/2″. Put a label across the top. I also added coordinating color details to the tab divider. You can get fancy and adhere a punched-out shape of the coordinating solid cardstocks, write in the colors, or create a label.

I labeled one of the boxes SU Paper Patterns and the other SU Blending Papers. Blending papers are tone-on-tone patterns.


And now for the other paper stuff. I have a drawer cube. Adhesive Sheets in one and Foam Adhesive Sheets in another. Label the drawer and toss it all in. Works for me. 🤣

Fluid 100 Watercolor paper is kept in an old stamp clam case or wide stamp case.

Technique papers are the papers created by smooshing ink, collaging scraps, faux finishes, etc. These I keep in separate plastic containers or envelopes and labeled, of course!

I also have a scrap paper drawer. It is full of misprinted copy papers (white only). It’s all part of the repurpose stuff idea.

Another drawer has useable scraps of Basic White, Basic Black, Shimmery White, and Very Vanilla cardstock. Since I reach for these almost every time I create, I found it easy to keep them piled in a drawer near my workspace.


I like binders and page protectors. When I make the project, I like to create a template and list the measurements on the template. I slip the instructions and the template into a page protector for future reference. Word of Caution: Purge or Update old tutorials and instructions. Only keep what you want to do or repeat. Limit the number of binders or space you dedicate to keeping printed instructions and tutorials.

Here are some suggestions for tabbing out your binders

  • Card Layouts
  • Boxes
  • Bags
  • 3-D Projects (not bags or boxes)
  • Tags
  • Techniques

You can put all the categories in one binder or have a different binder for each category.

Another alternative is to save the tutorials and instructions in a digital file. Use the same Sort, Purge, and Assess mindset. Don’t stress – that’s the key here. If you can’t find it, you won’t use it.

I’ve laid out how I organize my cardstock and patterned papers for you. Does it make sense? Leave me a comment and let me know how you have tamed your craft papers.

Remember: Organization does not come overnight. Attack one area or category at a time. Then sit back and admire your work before you go on to the next area.

For every minute spent in organizing, is an hour earned.

Benjamin Franklin



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