When I was growing up my Papa called me his princess. My husband and son treat me like one to this day. Yet, for the longest time I was a pauper to the clutter in my every day life in my home and my finances. Then one day I decided it was time to stop living like a pauper and to be the princess everyone thought of me as. This is the journey I took to de-clutter all aspects of my life and become a true PRINCESS!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Working in my clean-up thing for the day was a little more challenging than other days of the week, it was payday and that has a different set of chores I must do than other days of the week.

But I persevered to maintain my forward movement toward the goal of a completely clean and organized craft room/office. I choose a project that would not require a lot of thought, although it did take some time to do. The cleaning up of scrap paper.

Anyone who does papercrafting finds themselves with the dilemma whether or not to keep their scraps and if they do, how do they store them?  After consulting with numerous people on the web I decided to combine a few ideas to what I think will be a workable solution for our space.

I had a decent size box of scraps I had been gathering as we cleared the main bulk, so I sat down with my paper cutter and proceeded to cut it into the largest usable pieces possible.  Trimming off all those dangling bits that get bent or cause the paper to hang up when you are trying to get it out of your storage to the point you don’t want to mess with it.  

I cut rectangles and squares of all the usable spaces and placing all that was cut off in a paper recycling bin.  I also sorted by main color groups as I went, white, blue, green, pink, brown, red, purple you get the idea.  While this was time consuming it allowed me to mull through other thoughts so it went fairly fast.

Once it was all trimmed and sorted I faced the task of storage.  First I created magazine holders of sorts out of heavy cardboard boxes from bulk purchases of things like cereals purchased at Sam’s Club.  

I did so by taping both ends of the box closed then cutting the box in half sideways, more or less. I left a lip on the front edge of each box to help keep the pages from sliding out.

 If you work it just right you can get two holders out of one box.  While these holders were not big enough for full sheets of 12 x 12 paper they were perfect for most of the scraps I had.  

I want to put a special note here about sources for boxes.  When I originally posted the photos of my cereal box holder a lively discussion ensued over the flat rate shipping boxes from the post office for larger size paper.  

I would like to say right now that I do not get these “free” boxes from the post office to make the larger holders.  It is my belief that those boxes are not free because they cost the post office money and as everyone knows the post office is in financial difficulties.

I will, however, re-use one that I’ve received in the mail from purchasing an item.  Far better to repurpose a used box than simply destroy it.  By waiting for bigger boxes to come my way it may take me longer to get the ideal paper sorting bookshelf made, but it will be worth the wait and the adventure of keeping my eye open for other boxes I can use for this purpose in the future.

Off my soapbox now.  Back to the discussion of creating the box.  

No measurements, just eyeballing it because what measurements would be good for one box would not be good for another.  You can easily look at the photo below and see basically how you need to cut one.  To cut 2 you use a taller box and do the lip cut from both the top and bottom. 

Be careful when you are doing such cutting, after all there is no savings in a free holder if you end up in ER getting stitches.

Once the thick cardboard was properly cut to the size and shape you can cover it with any type of paper you want.  I will probably eventually cover mine with a patchwork quilt of small scraps of paper and cardstock, but I haven’t decided yet.  So for now you can definitely tell what it is made out of.

The largest of my scraps that would not fit securely in these holders I put in a hard plastic storage envelope I already had on hand.  In fact it was one of the envelopes I had emptied the day before of ephemera. 

The smallest of the squares and rectangles that wouldn’t do well in the homemade holders because of their size I put in legal sized envelopes that I labeled what the color was on the outside and then put the envelope with other papers of the same color in the homemade holder.

The envelopes had the effect of also being a divider for each color as well.  That will aid in future filing or shopping for colors. You could also put a bit of color on the envelope to indicate what color was inside if you are more of a visual person.

Oh and the envelopes, by the way, were free.  They are from a printer that did a misprint of several cases of envelopes for a company I worked for years ago.  So I was given the envelopes and have been slowly using them up for just such projects.  They are heavier than your normal legal size envelope, so that is even better.

Once I had merciless trimmed my paper down to a true usable size I found I had extra space in the box.  Never one to let a space go unused I dug around until I found several small pads of cardstock that were of scrap paper size and added those to the box.  They fit perfectly and now all my small papers are together for one easy shopping experience whenever I’m pulling a project together. 

This had the action of nearly emptying another small drawer that I am certain I will find an excellent use for in the future.

I have some very old versions of this type of holder that my husband made out of chipboard years ago to hold magazines.  They are a bit flimsier than these corrugated boxes, but will also work.  

When he constructed those he made them as a long narrow box with one side completely open and you slide the paper/magazines in from the side. These you could make from any size cardstock or chip board if you didn’t want to wait to find the perfect box.

Of course in all my cleaning and culling I had uncovered some actual purchased holders of the same type to hold 8 ½ x 11 paper/cardstock so those are on the shelf with the papers as well. These purchased folders varied from the old fashioned out of popularity bright yellow ones, to Cropper Hopper versions of it.  So my shelves with paper on them are a bit eclectic in nature, but it works and I'm happy.

If creating the holders yourself is too much work you can always do as I did.  Just make dividers out of used poster board until you get the exact holders you want. 

Craft stores run organizational materials on sale several times a year.  So if all else fails you can purchase those.  Whatever your choice is a selection of paper that is easy to see and pick out colors of is a must in any paper crafting room.

By time I was finished another box was now empty and could be removed from the room, ahhh more square footage to work with for certain.  Gotta love it.

While today’s clean-up was simple to achieve it did take a little bit of time to do because I had such a backlog of paper.  In the future my plan is to trim up all the leftover bits after each project so it will only take a few minutes each time. 

By “shopping” my scrap paper holders with the beginning of each project and using any bit that the cut out will work on I should save a lot of money on scrapbooking products and after all as Granny always said “Mind your pennies and your dollars will mind themselves.”

Jan who loves the fact her room is slowly coming together the way she wants it in OK

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