Saturday, July 5, 2014

All the Trimmings - and more

All the Trimmings -

that is the label I have on my tin that I now keep most of my ribbons, bunka and other trims in.
When I first started in miniatures I had to buy trims nearly every time I needed something.  Over time, of course, I have been able to build up a good collection of different types and styles.  As my collection grew, the way that I store them has changed as well.  I believe I started storing them with the project.  Then as I finished a project they moved to a zip bag.  Then they were moved to a drawer - this being about the size of shoebox and was all jumbled together.  The zip bag was fine as it was a much smaller amount to sort through but the drawer was a mess.
The one on the left is ribbons that I am unlikely to use in miniatures for 1:48 scale, but I show as that is how that drawer was. The one on the right is a drawer of Christmas styles also unlikely to use in miniatures.
One day as I was getting everything out to find something, I realized that every time I needed something for a project I was pulling out two to three 3x5x3 inch plastic drawers,  and a cardboard drawer like above, and additionally I had stored some in a case binder that had business card holder pockets.  Oh wait, plus I had participated in a supply swap and it was in an additional cardboard drawer. I recognized after the other organizing I had been doing, that I needed to get my trims organized better as well.

My Solution

I started grouping the trims by color and putting then in smaller zip bags.  I even pulled the silk ribbon and bunka from their special smaller plastic drawers and put them in the zip bags.  This was a really big step for me as I was seemingly committed to the drawers for some reason.  I am not sure what my hang up was, maybe the way they looked in the drawer - all lined up like colored files that you could easily see which to grab, but it did take me a while before I decided to add them in the zip bags.  
My ultimate decision was 'what is the most efficient means to store these different types of trims?'  I thought about how I was getting out all these containers and only looking for a particular color.  It occurred to me finally that the most efficient way was to pull out a bag of the color I was looking for and then I could sort for the possible trims to use.  This truly was my best solution.

Next steps - adding more to the collection

A year or so ago, I lucked into a garage sale of items from a miniaturist who had passed.  The lady had a whole bunch of ribbon and other trims.  Her storage solution, as they were mostly ribbon, was to wrap them on paper towel tubes and then pin them.  These were in small paper shopping bags when I saw them.  I purchased the whole lot of bags and got over 200 different ones.  Granted there were some that I decided later that I could part with as they were larger in scale or a type of material that was not conducive to use in 1:48 scale which is what I prefer to work in.  Some of these tubes had 20 or so different trims/ribbons on them.  But the pins seemed to come loose and long term not a solution I wanted to keep.  Maybe it worked for her, but it wouldn't work for me.
So I removed each and wound them onto cards I made.  These cards are just some I cut from thin cardboard.  It is nice to have the ears on the cards, like the cross-stitch thread or bunka is sometimes seen on but I found it wasn't necessary.  To hold the end in place I cut a notch in the side or end of the card to insert the end of the ribbon/trim into.

Well, now my stash has grown and I needed to find a new container to hold it all.  I had been keeping them in a plastic box slightly smaller than the typical plastic shoe box.  But rather than switch to two boxes, which I needed to if I didn't have anything else, I switched to a tin that I have.  

This cookie tin is quite large as tins go and boxy.  I got it quite a few years ago.  I had been storing a project in it.  The tin did keep the dust out, but it was far too easy to forget what was in the tin where it was being stored.  I can't recall what exactly prompted me to change my usage of this tin from storing a project to storing the bags, but I did have to change my way of thinking.  If there truly is a second lesson to be learned here it is to always be willing to re-evaluate your storage options.

Large Tin used to store current collection

This tin was just right for my current collection.  However I always seem to go OCD about a storage solution and find some flaw.  The flaw in this was bags can't be sorted by color. Plus the bags are different sizes.  OK, I can deal with the not having them 'filed', but the bags sizes - I have do something about that.  Fortunately, I had spare bags available. I switched them to smaller bags.  I of course saved the larger zip bags.  Anything that couldn't fit into the smaller bags, well I just divided up the color - making a lighter and a darker of that color.

Alternative storage solution

A few paragraphs above I said a lesson I need to work on is to always be willing to re-evaluate storage solutions.  As I write this, I reminded myself of the remaining solution i have for my trims - a super cool binder - shaped like a box but it has the rings in it.  Inside I have business card pocket pages.  I confess that I am still using that binder.  Silly I know as the whole point of pulling everything into the tin was the make it easier to find what i might use, but I am still hanging on to a prior solution.  

I am not going to beat myself up over this.  I will do something about it.  But I mention it for two reasons - one to drive my point about re-evaluating solutions but secondly because it is truly a great storage solution.  The only problem with this solution for me is it currently cost prohibitive.  Only reason I started it was because I had been able to get the binder and the pocket pages when they were throwing away items at work.  This binder is called a case binder and they come in different colors and different thicknesses.  


I wrote about my fabric storage in a prior post.  It really is nothing fancy - a drawer of bags where the fabric is grouped in the bags by color.  I really only mention it here because yet again, I had a moment when I reminded myself about having more than one place for storing something.  One of the supply swaps I was in included fabric swatches.  Those swatches took a while to be moved to the fabric bags.  And it was not just because I hadn't gotten around to moving them.
I pulled the drawer out today just to see if there was really something to talk about.  Well, even though I had some new to me fabric, not in the bags, at least it was in the same drawer.  When I feel like sorting or I need a particular color then I will have them all in same place and not have to hunt down that new fabric.  That's probably when it will get sorted.  But I am okay with that.