Question: What is the one thing that every stamper should start as soon as she buys her first stamp?
Answer: A stamp index!
Here is mine. I started it last summer, after I had been stamping for about a year. It took me a solid week of summer, but I absolutely love it and can't imagine not having it (or starting it now!) I have four binders: Stamps by Categories, Stamps by Company, Seasonal Stamps, and Embossing/Die Cuts. My DH was nice enough to buy me pretty pink & brown binders at Office Depot for my project, too. I use cheap cardstock for it, but heavy-duty page protectors (they were on clearance at the time so I stocked up). Here are the categories I use: flowers, trees/leaves, butterflies/insects, birds, dogs, domesticated animals, wild animals/dinosaurs [there was no real need to break up domesicated and wild, but it makes me happy], people, things [I wish I would have made a separate food category], things that go, places/scenes, love, birthday, other events (baby/wedding/graduation), doodads, flourishes (two completely different things!), and backgrounds. For the sentiments, I have an "all" category, then broken down into: love, birthday, thank you, friendship/miss you, congrats/wedding/baby, feel better/sympathy, and quotes. I also have categories for each holiday.
For each new set, I pull out all the relevant categories and stamp. I also stamp the entire set on the company page. Then I mark off the section and label it with company name and set number. Learn from me: don't try to "squeeze" in different sets. White space is your friend. Especially true for the sentiments-I started going across the page, but it is about 1000 times easier if they are all in a column like this.
This is one of my punch pages. I punched the shape on the edge, then added the punched shape next to it. Very handy to see if a sentiment will fit on a tag.
Which brings me to my next resource: my nestie pages! I hate to brag, but these are awesome. I have these for each nestability set. They are even color coded so all the circle sets are pink, squares green, etc. To run them through the cuttlebug, I cut the paper in half (hint: cutting the paper in half at 5 1/2 instead of 4 1/4 makes it shift less). Both sets of rectangles can fit on one sheet, as can the ovals, but circles & squares need two sheets if you're going to use both small and large. Then I labeled them as S1, L1, S2, etc and with their measurement. I don't keep them in a binder so I can just pull one out when I'm looking through my stamp index to see if what size will work.
Hating to throw anything away, I kept the cut portions together in a cd sleeve. These are great to pull out to see how different sizes will fit in a layout.
And this is what I finally got around to doing last weekend-a stamp ink index. My sister sent me a solid circle stamp that was perfect for the job. I stamped all my inkpads on white, cream, and kraft. And, guess what? I chucked any pad that didn't work! I know, sounds crazy! Am I the only one that keeps throwing back dried-up old pads into the drawer (SU pigment pads, I'm looking in your direction)?
What are your favorite organizational tips or tricks? I hope you found a few new ones here, or at least were inspired to do a little organizing with your own system!
ps-for real, start an index now. The task will only get longer the more you put it off!