How to Organize All the “Stuff”

In a previous blog post, I shared my methods of collage collection so you could know me better and also start your own (if you are in to that sort of thing). In order to continue to the explanation of my process, I’m going to share how I keep everything organized. I hope this also helps you not hate me if you decided to start collecting papers and now your home or studio looks like the after-effects of a New Year’s Eve party:)

Ziplocs--I know this seems kind of silly, but the biggest way I organize my collage materials is via ziploc bag. I keep each project in its own bag, labeling the bag by subject matter, location label or commission name. The plastic bag storage keeps everything safe from moisture and allows me to see everything easily.

File Folders--For papers I don’t use as often or simply want to store away for later, I use file folders or manila envelopes (for those pesky pieces of paper that are small and tend to hop out of the less secure folder) Again, I label these files according to subject matter or location and they are put into an open cubby system or filing cabinet in alpabetical order.

Digitize--As my collection grows and grows, I am finding that I need to eliminate the paper all together and the way I do this is by scanning documents and then creating a digital file. This allows me to get rid of the physical collage element and print it later on in the size I need, or it simply allows me to reuse the image or text once the original piece is long gone. With space in my studio being limited, this has been a very helpful organizational move for me.

Flat Files or Tubes--For larger, more delicate papers, a flat file is a great thing to use, or tubes where you can carefully roll the papers and store.

It’s certainly not a fancy system, but it works for me! I think one of the most important parts of organizing your materials is making sure you put materials back in their designated place after you finish a project. Also make sure you label the collections in a way that makes sense to you. Maybe you need to sort via color, texture or fiber. Maybe it is better for you to sort by date or event. Use a method you know you can use with ease. Don’t make it over complicated or you will never put things me, I know, because I’ve done that!

What are your favorite ways to organize?

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