I am finding that the more ephemera I collect the current system I have for organization is starting to not work as well as when I had less material.  How does everybody keep their bits and pieces organized so it doesn't became a disorganized mess/disaster zone?

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The answer has two aspects to consider.  First, there should be a physical means to hold/protect the items such as glassine or other envelopes, window cards (#102 cards from philatelic suppliers) or some pocket file system.  Secondly, the arrangement of the pieces needs to correspond to how you find/use the material.

For example, I use older postage stamps (USA) in my mailings.  For one reason, it is cheaper than buying stamps at the post office if you are a smart shopper.  The theme/subject of the stamp(s) can be tied to the intended use/recipient.  Because one stamp may fit several themes, I sometimes sort multiples into two different categories.  A stamp may be an airmail stamp, but also the denomination is relevant when I am making up the correct postage amount.

General ephemera can fit a variety of classifications depending on the item in question.  Just yesterday, I picked up a ticket stub off the sidewalk here in Deadwood.  (The Crazy Horse Memorial is five miles north of Custer, SD on Hwy 16.)  To me, it qualifies as an example of a ticket stub, the Horse theme, the numerals ($22.00 for a carload and the ticket #), in color, it is pink, and it has a rouletted side (a manner of separation utilizing cuts/slit in a row).  How you might use/collect this is up to you.

how did I miss this explanation?

i use a three ring binder with large transparent sleeves. i then divide the sleeves up by theme. so in one images of people, others actual photographs, another adverts, another animals and so on. since the sleeves are transparent it's easy to see what kind of stuff an envelope contains.

That's a wonderful idea, William. Trouble is finding a place to put all those binders!

ha. well, i only have two. i try to keep my materials down to manageable size. if you have too much it's easy to get overwhelmed. i still prefer to cut directly from books and magazines. but the binders are a good place for materials sent to me from others.

Yep, overwhelmed is about right -- I spent his morning re-organizing my art-space. I think I'm at critical mass as far as bringing in anything new larger than a paperclip! What I really desperately need to do now is go through my box of received mail art and sort it and put it away properly. It's basically just a gigantic shoebox stuffed and overflowing.

i have that shoebox problem myself. need to figure out a good way to organize it.

Gee, I wonder how many shoeboxes I would need since I already have many much larger boxes full.  It's easier to use shoeboxes and smaller ones in general.  Cigar boxes are fun as they are already "decorated".  I keep smaller groups in them.  Plus, they are sturdy and stack really well.

I used to use some hanging folders and have them organized by subject: animals, nature, cartoons etc. However some of the file folders were becoming a little too full.  I now have them organized in stackable containers.  That way I can keep them clean and organized.  Hopefully this will work a lot better than the previous system....

Organization?  What's that?  Containers, shelves, jars.  Everything started out looking pretty good. I had stacking containers that were all labeled. Mason jars for beads organized by color, hooks for scissors. ;It's ALL still there just not the way it started out...sigh...and, of course, every time I start on something new, it all has to be reorganized. My name is Shelly, and I'm an art supply JUNKIE.

Right now, my organization has gone out the window as my life is currently in storage as I get ready for going traveling for 3 months.

I am new to this whole mail art revolution, but from all the amazing photos I've seen, it has given me ideas to recycle mail art pieces. Maybe not in their entirety, but why not pull apart, cut up, and make a type of collage, or use bits and pieces in other forms? Would this be wrong or taboo to recycle?  I just experienced my first add and pass which I LOVED! What a great idea to have a bunch of random art. But for those special pieces one is attached too, I like the idea of a binder with clear sleeves. :o)  

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