Why create a catalog of your tools?

Organize your craft supplie with a catalog, here's why.

If you’ve joined me for a Get Organized Challenge or taken any of my organizing seminars you’ve probably heard me talk about creating catalogs. I was asked recently, “Why do you think catalogs are so important?”

Here’s a list of my top 7 reasons for taking the time to create a catalog of your crafting tools and supplies. There are a few others – like, documenting what you have for insurance purposes, although you may not want your significant other to know how much you’ve invested, I certainly don’t.

One: Getting the most use of your tools

Crafting tools are expensive. Of course, when you invest in something you want to make the best use of it. With a catalog, you’re able to flip through a section and view all of the tools you have that might work on a particular project. As an example, – if you’re working on a birthday card, you can flip to the birthday section of your catalog and see all of the birthday tools – dies, stamps, embossing folders, etc – that you have available. Maybe you’ll choose just one, but maybe you’ll use 2 or 3.

Two: Travel a little lighter

Taking a catalog with you ensures you’ll be able to use your tools without actually carrying them with you. If you’re going to a crafting event, especially a shorter one, you can spend more time packing and unpacking than you do at the event. To save time, space, and frustration, just take your catalog and a stack of sticky notes. If you want to use a particular die, stamp or punch on your project – you can just leave the needed space on your project and add a sticky note to remind yourself. This is why a physical catalog works better than a digital catalog, with a physical catalog you’ll know the true dimensions of each item in the catalog.

Three: Finding things quickly and easily

This is probably the biggest reason to create a catalog. When it’s difficult to find your tools you’re less likely to look for them and more likely to feel frustrated and/or overwhelmed. A catalog will conveniently direct you to exactly the tool you need.

Four: Putting things away quickly and easily

The sister to reason number 3 – putting things away. If you’re not sure where you’re tools came from there’s a good chance you’ll stuff them back into somewhere they fit rather than somewhere they belong. A quick check of your catalog and you’ll be able to put that punch, embossing folder, die, or stamp back where it belongs.

Five: Remembering what you have

I’ll admit, that if you’re under 40 you may not fully appreciate this reason, but for those of us who have crossed that line, our brains are loaded up with 40+ years of memories, information, and to-do lists. Remembering that we have a “puzzle” punch might not make it to the front of our brains if the only time we saw it was when we were looking through a pile of punches for something else. With a catalog, you’re regularly flipping through the pages and being reminded of all the cool stuff you have.

Six: Buying duplicates

Did you really like that “Happy Holidays” embossing folder so much you thought you needed 2? Most likely not. It’s far more likely that it was on sale at your favorite craft store, and you thought, “That’s a deal I just can’t pass up.” When you got home you added it to your pile of embossing folders without ever thinking twice about it – no pun intended. If you had a catalog you could take with you to the store maybe you would have chosen the “ornament” design embossing folder instead. Even if you aren’t shopping with your catalog in tow, when you got home and wanted to add that embossing folder to your catalog you would have realized it was a duplicate, then you would be able to return it for something you don’t already have.

Seven: Taking your tools for a test drive

Whether it’s a stamp, a marker or a die – some tools just don’t work the way you thought they would. Stamps that don’t hold ink properly, markers that are dried up, dies that are poorly designed and don’t cut well – there are probably a few of these items taking up space in your craft room. When you go through the process of creating a catalog, you’ll most likely use each of your tools. So, keep the ones you like, lose the ones you don’t.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope these reasons will motivate and inspire you to take on the task of creating a catalog. I’m sure you’ll love the benefits.

If you have questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to leave them in the comment box below.

Happy Crafting,

10 Responses to Why create a catalog of your tools?

  1. Although somewhat time consuming (because we all have so much) Cataloging my items has been one the best things I’ve done for organizing. I use my things more because I remember I have them.

  2. Is cataloging as simple as making copies of what you’ve made (ie: I made examples of my punches & put them on card stock on my wall so I can now see what I have, maybe 30 punches total. Or is there more to it with having a small binder or something?

    • Hi Barbara –
      A lot of crafters create a small binder that catalogs all of their supplies together, dies, stamps embossing folders, punches, etc. Do you have a lot of other types of tools or just the collection of punches?

  3. I actually got a catalogue template from a Facebook posting on the Scrap Rack group page several years ago and have been using it ever since.I’ve adjusted it to the way I “think” and I update it every time I make a purchase. I have been looking for a way to make it physical/portable to take with me shopping but I am a Got-a-lotta so the “binder/book” would not be “purse size” and decreasing the font would make it difficult for me to read. I’ve seen a few other catalogue books at shows and crops but they wouldn’t work for me. If anyone has any suggestions, please post.

    • How about adding this catalog to a Cloud Storage app such as Dropbox or OneDrive. I have an Excel Spreadsheet that I am using now- listing my Stamps, Die Sets, Inks, Specialty Tools, Markers etc Each major category gets its own tab; Stamps/Dies, Markers, Inks etc…. I upload my updated copy every time I add a new items that way I can always see and search what I have even on the go or while shopping – not perfect but for now until I get a physical catalog to compliment my spreadsheet I have a handy resource/

  4. What’s the easiest, most efficient way to catalog acrylic stamps?

    I have a lot from kits that are 4×6 in size and theme based

  5. Catching up on blogs! I’m a ‘3-ring- binder’ kinda gal, and love the various sizes photo/baseball card (etc.) sized pages for storing cardstock samples, color charts for markers (2”x2” pockets) , and larger sizes for punch samples, etc. A purse-sized catalog would be sooooo thick! So I photograph each page in my catalog using my phone and created files. I also transfer the photo files to a laptop. 🙂

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