Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How- To: Make an Awesome Organizer

(Here is the finished upcycled organizer made using return envelopes)

Completing our 2011 business tax renewal has reinforced how necessary a book like this is to have handy. It is a simple way to use ordinary materials to help with your filling and organizing of receipts or other small important items for safe keeping.  

March is the perfect time to be  tailoring up taxes and organizing items while doing spring cleaning. Re-organizing your life is extremely therapeutic. Now is one the best times to be realistic with increasing changes to your lifestyle that will make the most of the upcoming year.

When I sort the mail every evening I look forward to separating all the return envelopes for projects like this.  Now that we file everything electronically and pay bills online these things can pile up!
For this project take collected envelopes, or take a couple of days to collect them  from your mail.  You could use any envelopes you may have already too, just make sure they are the same length/size.

Here are the supplies I used for this project.  You need envelopes, scraps of paper for decoration, glue stick/ adhesive of your choice, various paper punches, paper tape, and old stamps. Optional- label maker or alphabet stamps for labeling.

If you don't have a 1.5 Xyron create-a-sticker it is a handy tools to keep in your tool box, and it is super helpful for even distributing adhesive to small items.
By running the paper strips threw the sticker maker the details get glue on them evenly.

The White Pearl erasers are another one of my must haves when it comes to getting glue and schmutz off paper projects.

Here I just covered up the pre-printed areas and attached a previously used stamp to make it look like a decorated letter.

The paper tape I used is like packing tape so it is really thick.  I found it at Staples before Christmas and started using it as our main packing tape because it is really strong and still recyclable.  Below are some examples of sprucing up the envelopes.  Even if you don't end up compiling these envelopes into the organizer you can use these as the conduit for appreciation notes to your friends or co-workers.

These envelopes are all decorated differently but with the same couple of items to tie them all in to each other.  I made 10 envelopes for this booklet.  They all have stamps and a saved strip of ruled paper on the bottom to mimic the long bar code stickers the post office puts on things.

This is where I was hoping to use this stamp that hasn't come in the mail yet :( 
I used a P-touch instead... you can use any method you'd like to label the envelopes.  
Make sure the flap is to the right. The holes will be punched and the book will be bound to the envelopes original bottom.

We save the cardboard boxes that come into the house for future supplies.  You can use cereal boxes or pizza boxes for the cover of the organizer.  Any type of thicker paper or cardboard can make a great support/ material for all types of projects.

I cut two strips of pizza box just a smidge bigger than the envelopes.  On both of them I laid down paper tape to mimic old-fashioned book binding for the covers.

There is such a range of binding machines and products like the one below online. You can check out this helpful post to consider if having one of your own would be useful. You can also go to a copy store and have them bind your items for a nominal feel.

Punched Envelope

Using 18mm plastic coiling slowly twist on the coil from right to left.

There are special pliers you can purchase for the coiling, but I just use normal pliers on these.

Finished front cover above and fanned pages below.

This book will be an easy way to organize and sort receipts. It could also be a coupon organizer or with some tweaks to the decorations a beautiful place to keep scraps of paper organized in your top office drawer.

Hope this project can inspire you to keep the small items organized in this up cycled book.

Back to the grind-

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