Saturday, December 29, 2007

Stamping Tips: Moving Your Craft Supplies

After 6 moves in 17 years -- three of which were in the last 4 years-- you would think I’d be an expert at relocating. At the very least, I should be used to it. But our last move was by far the most complicated of them all. I have two college-age daughters, so, immediately upon arriving we started visiting the colleges they had applied to. Once that was done, I set about the tasks of getting the phone, Internet, and cable installed and getting the other three kids registered in the local school district. This was definitely one of those “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” situations. Nothing went smoothly the first time. Well, almost nothing.
The good news is all was well with my craft stuff. When I was finally able to stay at home long enough to start unpacking my stamping supplies, I was pleased with how it all got here.
I would like to share some tips from my experiences that will hopefully make your move and more importantly your unpacking, to go smoothly. These tips are recommended if you are doing all the moving and packing without the help of professionals and whether you are moving across country or just a few miles.

Plan Ahead:
As with any task, it’s important to prepare ahead. A lot of things need to be done before moving day.

  • Inventory: As painful as it might be, take an inventory and at least have a general idea of the value of your supplies. If you don’t already know the value, estimate to the nearest hundred or thousand depending on the size of your ...ahem... ‘collection’.
  • Quick Access: Pack a bag or box of basic card making supplies to take with you in case you need to make a card in the interim. It may take days or weeks to unpack and reorganize your entire room. The family tends to frown upon mom unpacking her stamping supplies before --let’s say for instance-- the kitchen. Besides, it is hard to enjoy stamping with people constantly whining about being hungry.

Moving with Professionals: I could tell that our moving professionals had never handled a room full of rubber stamping supplies by the way they left the room scratching their heads during the walk-thru.

  • Communication is Key: Make sure you know what you want, and make sure you communicate it to all of the packers (and your husband or other family members who they might ask)-- not just the driver or the person in charge. You should also tell them how you want things to be labeled. If not, you will get 63 boxes marked office supplies. (Been there done that!) Don’t assume they know what a wood mounted stamp is.
Preparing and Packing your Supplies

Plastic Carts (or any plastic storage): Although they don’t need to be emptied, they definitely should be packed in boxes.
  • Examine each drawer or container for heavy items that could damage other contents in the drawers. Remove those items and wrap them separately.

  • Pictures 1A and 1B: These items were removed from the drawers of this unit and placed with the stuff that was individually wrapped.

  • Make sure everything else is secure and doesn’t move around too much by stuffing the drawer with wrapping paper, newspaper, or something similar.
  • If you have them stacked, break them down to no more than the equivalent of 6 small or 3 large drawers
  • Remove the wheels and place them in the bottom drawer.

Pack storage in corner of box and fill with other items.

  • Place one set of drawers in the corner of a medium or large box. (One moving company used dish pack boxes for my carts.) Fill the box with other wrapped items from your room. Heavier items should go on the bottom.

Ink pads:

  • Use rubber bands to secure the lids to the pads. I banded two pads together with their lids to save time and energy.

Take ink pads out of the shelves or drawers and rubber band together.

  • If you store them in plastic drawer units, return them to their drawers. I removed my ink pads from their rack, so they became filler items at the top of a plastic cart box.

Re-inkers, Paints, and All Other Liquids:

  • Keep upright if possible.
  • Encase bottles in plastic bags.1-3 per bag depending on the size bottle or bag. The idea is if one leaks, you might have 1- 3 messy bottles, but you won’t have ink on all your bottles.

Paper: Prevent shifting, by packing the paper tightly. Use smaller boxes because paper is heavy.

  • File Cabinets:
    Option 1: This is my preference. Keep the paper in their file folders and pack them in small boxes or book boxes, because there is less of chance of something going wrong.
    Option 2: If you have a very sturdy file cabinet, leave the paper in the locked drawers. --Locked so that if they are picked up the wrong way, the contents won’t spill out.
  • Paper Trays:
    I have 12 x 12 paper stored in stackable paper trays. I combined two trays worth of paper to make it as full as possible. I then turned the empty tray into a lid.

Pack paper as compactly as possible.

Rubber Stamps:

Leave stamps in storage drawers.

  • Stored in Drawers: If you use plastic drawers as I do, follow instructions for plastic carts.
  • CD cases or other small boxes: leave them in the cases and pack them as they would pack CDs. Never stack them flat.
  • Binders: Contain each individual binder in a plastic bag or envelope. Pack several binders in a small book box.

Leave stamps in Clamshell boxes.

Clamshell Plastic Boxes:
A lot of rubber stampers store their stamp sets in the boxes they are sold in. Because I don’t personally keep my stamps in boxes like these this, I sought packing advice online. Several of my friends on the stamping board at Gingerwood ( offered this tip.

  • Leave the stamps in their plastic boxes. Pack them on their ends in a book box to prevent crushing the rubber.

Pens, Markers, and Pencils:

You probably have your coloring utensils organized by color family, right? Spending a little time now will save you lots of time on the other end. I made this mistake only once. The packer carefully wrapped a big bunch of my color pencils separately from the clear plastic holder. It took me an hour or so to sort the pencils back into their color group during the unpacking stage.

  • Rubber band the individual sections together. Leave in storage containers.

Markers and Pens sorted by color family.

Miscellaneous instructions:

If you have any other small items that are not already in a drawer or container,

  • put them in a plastic bag or small box. Doing so will prevent those items from getting lost in the wrapping paper. An inexpensive way to do this is to recycle juice pouch cartons and cereal boxes. There is always an abundance of them at my house.

Conclusion: Once the truck is loaded, take a deep breath and get ready for the next phase … the unpacking.

Packing done!


Melissa said... have a lot of wonderful advice for moving crafting supplies! I'll have to remember all of this if and when I ever decide to move. Thanks for sharing your tips!

Anonymous said...

Jacki...wonderful article. You surely hit on everything. Should be very happy for those with moves in their future...Not mine! I am here to stay and kids will have to do it!

Elaine said...

Incredibly valuable info, Jacki!!!! I hope you will keep a link on your sidebar for reference. This is only learned by many moves and by someone that cares enough to take the time to make great notes on what NOT to do, and WHAT SHOULD BE DONE!!! Thanks for sharing! I hope I never have to move again!!

Anonymous said...

Good are just SOOOO organized! I have filed the comment away about making sure everything is not labeled as Office Supplies. That would drive me absolutely crazy!

Have a Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

You are a genius! I've never had to move owning this many crafting supplies. I'll call upon your brilliant advice if we do any time soon!