Saturday, February 03, 2007

Taming the Ribbon Monster

I have collected ribbons and trims for a long time. I started when I was young-either using pieces for my Barbie dolls as clothing with tiny safety pins to hold it on or later actually sewing clothes for them and trimming with ribbon. When I let my hair grow out from an awful Audrey Hepburn cut in Junior High, and finally into a pony tail , I had to have lots of colors for my hair ribbons. Since I went to a school that required uniforms, having that small splash of color in my hair was all the individuality I was afforded for many school years.

I really needed to come up with a way to store them and for years just kept them in a jumbled mess in a zip locked bag. Bits of satin, lengths of organdy, ric rac rickety racked and lace so tied in knots, I wasn't sure what the pattern was anymore. So I came up with a plan-thanks to Costco.

One day on a shopping trip to the Costco in Auburn Hills, I found this Cropper Hopper photo case. No big deal at first as I had seen these cases at Micheal's, and Joann's. But NOT with the individual photo cases inside! I knew I had to have one or two. I was going to store my ribbons inside and started collecting cardboard to wind my ribbon on and then slip into the individual cases which I would then label by type. That didn't last for long. I knew I was not going to have enough room if I used thick cardboard that took up more room that the actual ribbon. So I went searching in the office supply store-Office Depot-to be exact. I found some plastic index cards. Perfecto!

I snipped off the alphabet letters at the top of each index divider so that it was flat across the top for me to wind each ribbon on. I tried to divide all my ribbons by season event or holiday. Hence I have fallish looking ribbons on one card and Valentines Day ones on another. I am able to fit between three and four complete covered index dividers in each photo case. I wind up to three yards of each ribbon-giving any extra to others or trading with them-and I fasten it with a quilting pin.

Here are some of the cases so you can see my themes. Fourth of July, feminine valentines and very summer oranges. The case itself will hold up to 36 photo cases and each individual case holds three to four index cards filled with related colors. I had thought about cutting off the top of each case to better expose the colors but as you can see, you can very much discern the colors thru the opaque cases. Each case is also labeled on one side for how I think they would be used. Baby, Halloween, Wedding, Easter, etc. I have a few I haven't quite pigeon holed yet. I did turn all the cases upside down so you can see the colors. The labels came with the cases by the way.

Here is a closeup of the Fourth of July case. I actually have two of them but this one was the most varied in texture and color. I am constantly adding to my collection and have started and half filled a second one of these cases. They are sold at Costco in the Office supply section for 22.00, while the case by itself is 30.00 at Micheal's. Cropper Hopper are some of the best organizers on the market . The only other organizers I use are Iris Carts-also from Costco. I have bought extra locking trays for the carts at Micheal's when I can't figure out what to do with my coupon each week. I use those cases for clothing, storing just about anything. My goal this year is to get organized and I am on my way.

ETA-April 2010. I am now into my third case for ribbon and fibers. One thing I am not longer doing is using the photo cases inside the larger holder. I have them slipped easily in and out of the slots inside the large holder. Still by theme or color, I am promising myself I am on my last ribbon case for sure as Costco no longer has them locally. I also plan on giving away some of the extra ribbon I own, as I now only save 3 yards max of any color or texture. Watch for a giveaway sometime in the summer of 2010.


  1. Fabulous organizing tip! Keep 'em coming.

    Mary (toao)

  2. LOVE this idea!!! I'm always looking for ways to organize the ribbon I have collected. I think I've changed how I organize them several times now - but after seeing this, it may have to happen again.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. wow...thanks for the link. I was wanting to do something with the cropper hopper but ended up going the frugal budget route at the Target $1 spot. But some day I would like to get them out of my drawer and into a portable carrying case. Thanks for sharing your great idea with me.

  4. I love it! Of course, I'd end up having to own at least to CH cases. Ugh.


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