13 in 2013: Managing The Stamp Stash

Let’s face it – trends come and go in the craft industry. The must-haves change pretty quickly and one area where I find this particularly obvious is in my stamp stash. Since my storage space is at an extreme minimum, it’s important for me to keep a tight grip on the size of the stamp collection. Stamps – acrylic, unmounted and wood mounted rubber –  take up a lot of craft room real estate and for me, need to be purged on a regular basis.

I admit, there are so many great ways to store them. I love the ‘binder with cling pages’ idea, in fact, I have one of my own:

stamp binder

I love the cd holder idea – there are some brands of un-mounted stamps that come in similar style cases. This example from the Delightful Order blog is very nice:

cd storage from delightfulorder

And I like the simplicity of these simple, flat, plastic packages that come from a kit club. I store these together in this small bin:

small stamps

The problem is when they start to accumulate, they take up a lot of space regardless of their storage format. In addition, the wood mounted stamps can get heavy in large groups.

drawer storage

Since I store my stamps in an Ikea dresser, I always have a problem with the drawer bottoms bowing. So I need to be careful about adding to this part of the collection.

Another problem I have when there are too many; I lose track of what I have and don’t use them. Having that excess saps my creativity so keeping the stamp stash lean and mean is essential for me. Here is how I approach a purge:

Trends: The first category I focus on. Trendy imagery and shapes (like owls, hedgehogs, hexagons, chevrons, doilies, etc) usually don’t have ‘crafty’ staying power. I’m pretty ruthless here. If I haven’t used it in at least a year and it’s a trendy image, it has to go.

trendy

Sentiments/Words:  As a cardmaker these are an essential in my stash but even they can become dated. I’m on the lookout for current and/or timeless fonts & phrases. I’m not above keeping the sentiment portion of a stamp set and purging the rest of the pieces for the sake of saving space. The binder pages are especially handy for keeping these all together in one place.

sentiments in binder

The ‘Basics': This category has more staying power. The are the lined journaling spots, classic shapes like hearts and arrows, etc. When I’m purging this group I’m thinking more about how much I’ve used them. Are they looking dated? Unless I have something specific in mind for a project and  it’s been more than 2 years, I purge them.

basics

And lastly, Condition: I have a few stamps (mostly acrylic) that I’ve used & abused so much that they no longer make a clean impression. If they are torn or no longer making a clean print, they need to go.

I’m ruthless but not to the point of removing the stuff I love. I keep some stamps  just because they make me happy. I even keep them out where I can see them.

on display

Regular purging of product helps me justify keeping my faves and adding new ones. In addition, reviewing the stamp stash on a regular basis, or any part of my stash for that matter, is a sure fire way to spark my creativity. Don’t be afraid to let go of the products that aren’t working for you. The manufacturers will keep making more!

Comments

  1. Shirley C. says:

    Hi Valerie,
    Thanks for this great post. I have two questions. One, would you be able to provide a link or more information on how to create a ‘binder with cling pages’?
    Also, when you are purging your stamps, and you are purging ones that are still usable, are there any organizations that you donate them to? I’m thinking it would be great to find some of mine a new home.
    Thanks,
    Shirley

  2. I have the same question – when you purge stamps – what do you do with them?

  3. Thanks for stopping by and commenting – great questions!

    When I purge my stamps, or any part of the stash for that matter – the materials go to one of several places: 1) friends with children who I know would use/appreciate the supplies; 2) I donate them to the local preschool my children used to attend. They are always happy to have the supplies, 3) I donate them to an organization that has a need or request. or 4) I collect them in plastic storage bins in my garage if I happen to have a yard sale coming up. There are lots of terrific places to donate though – a quick google search or call to your local women’s shelter might provide some more info about organizations in need in your area.

    My storage binder was made with a simple plain 2” binder I picked up at the local office supply store. You can go bigger and fit more pages and stamps. I deliberately keep my narrow so I don’t become a stamp hoarder! I purchased my cling pages from Studio Calico (http://www.studiocalico.com/shop/cleaning-storage/storage-panels) but I think you can get them in the big online stores, too.

  4. I love your ideas. I really need to be brave and divide up my stamp sets and purge some more. Thanks for taking the time to share your process with us.

  5. Hi there

    I found that I kept losing track of the stamps I have and where I stored them, so I stamped each one onto loose A4 sheets, and then wrote down where they were – those I store in CD cases were numbered too. I then put all the sheets in a ring binder, and now when I’m looking for a stamp I simply flick through my binder, and easily locate it. Just thought some people might like this idea.

    Judi

  6. Can you link us to where you BUY your stamps?

  7. Now I’m thinking I might need to do a little purging myself…my stamp collection isn’t really that large, but I only use a few of them more than occasionally.

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