Totes for the Home-Based or Mobile Scrapper

By: Jill

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A Peek into the Lives and Totes of Two Pro Scrappers
By Jill Davis, Founder of
With help from Beth Rogers and Heather Butcher

Whether your scrapbooking tote is a wheeled suitcase, crate, or tote designed specifically for scrapbooking, it's how you use it and organize it that makes it a pleasure or a nuisance to work with. Some scrappers use their totes as their home scrap station; utilizing their portability to move from room to room. Others use them to travel across town or around the globe.

Totes come in an assortment of styles, colors, and sizes. Through the years I've seen them evolve from cardboard boxes to lightweight, roomy, durable, mega organizers with all of the pockets and loops you could possibly need. Essentially, totes have evolved to what they are today because of the needs of scrapbookers. We needed portable, convenient places to store supplies and tools. Tote manufacturers have made our scrapping lives easier, more functional, and definitely more comfortable.

Through the years, I've identified several scrapbooking personalities. Following are four general personalities and how they relate to totes, scrapbooking styles, preferences and purchases.

What's my scrapbooking personality?
The "Observer"
-- Doesn't participate in scrapbooking, but appreciates what scrapbookers do and what they accomplish.

The "Collector"
-- Loves to purchase scrapbooking products.
-- Often has a tote to store all or some of their treasures in.
-- Makes purchases based on wants vs. needs.
-- May have a secret desire to scrapbook but wants to have everything they think they'll need before they start.

The "Solo" Scrapper
-- Likes to create and scrapbook in the quiet and comfort of their own home.
-- May scrapbook alone because they don't have anyone to scrapbook with.
-- Is primarily a "Home-Based Scrapper" but may need to be a "Mobile Scrapper" at times too.
-- Can have problems when they must dismantle their home set up to pack a tote for a few hours of time away.
The "Social" Scrapper
-- Loves to attend crops, workshops, and retail conventions.
-- Is usually a "Mobile Scrapper" and has at least one large tote.
-- Uses their tote at home and on the go.
-- May have problems stemming from lack of organization, inadequate functionality or the physical stress of hauling a heavy portable "studio.

Now that you know a little more about scrapbook personalities, think about your personal tote preferences and personality as we explore the scrapbooking lives of two professional scrapbookers.

The Home-Based Scrapbooker

I'm the President and Founder of and a Solo, Home-Based Scrapbooker. I have an organized scrap space at home where I prefer to scrap, but I need to be mobile sometimes, too.

How do I use a tote if I'm a Home-Based Scrapper?

If you scrapbook primarily at home, I suggest organizing your scrap space so you can work efficiently there. Then, have a tote to accommodate your needs for those occasional times you take a class or attend a crop. A tote can also help you organize your scrap space so you'll have items you use most frequently in one location. A large tote can be a great home storage solution.

If you don't have a room designated for scrapping, keeping all of your scrapbooking items handy and organized can be a challenge. Totes are especially helpful for Home-Based scrappers who must have a nomadic scrap space. Some totes have a ridged top that serves as additional workspace. You can easily roll a wheeled tote across the room, into another room; store it under a table or in the back of the chair space of a desk.

Make sure your main tote is large enough to hold albums, supplies, and tools. Totes can be very heavy when full and getting them around your house or in and out of your car can be a strain on your back. Keep this in mind when you make your purchases. Wheels can be a lifesaver, so make sure they are a feature on one of your main totes.

I have three totes that travel with me:

Jill's Teaching Tote:
Crop-In-Style XXL
My mega tote on steroids for teaching and crops.

Jill's Class Tote:
Cropper Hopper Class Pack
For classes I attend and classes I teach
(Stores conveniently on top of or inside my XXL).

Jill's Convention / Trade Show Tote:
EK Success Scutto
Great for trade shows and an alternative to my XXL for crops.

Jill's Teaching Tote: Crop-In-Style's XXL with Cropper Hopper Class Pack
The contents of my XXL change as my classes do, so my thoughts about organization within this tote are flexible.
Click here to see contents

Jill's Class Tote: Cropper Hopper 's Class Pack
My Class Pack is filled with tools and supplies that are duplicates of what I have in my scrap space at home. Having duplicates alleviates any disruption to the flow of my scrap space if I were to lose something in transit.
Click here to see contents

Jill's Trade Show / Convention Tote: EK Success Scutto
The Scutto tote is trim line, has wheels, is collapsible, and is the perfect trade show tote for me. It travels extremely well. I can even put it in the overhead bin of the airplane on the return flight.
If you check this tote on an airplane there is a possibility of damage to the wheels. I keep my Scutto clutter free and full of convention oriented supplies. That's because there has to be space to accommodate hundreds of catalogs, order forms, and samples collected at shows. Click here to see contents

Jill's Crop Tote: Emptied Crop-In-Style XXL
When I go to crops the containers from my teaching tote go onto a shelf to make room for my Class Tote and other items I want to take with me. I'll often use my Scutto if it's available. I don't take layouts to complete to crops anymore because I do my best work at home. I now go to visit with friends and exchange ideas. My Pages In Progress Notebooks help me keep the layouts I'm working on organized and in one place. They used to go to crops with me (I'd grab a notebook, see what tools I'd need to finish the layouts, and load my tote) but now they stay home. Click here to see contents

What is a Pages in Progress Notebook? - A notebook or album that holds 1-25 full page protectors . Each page protector has everything needed for one specific layout, making it easy to construct and create layouts because everything is in one place:

  • Photos
  • Cardstock and/or Patterned Paper
  • Journaling and layout ideas on Post-it note (attached outside)
  • Embellishments: eyelets , fibers, buttons, die cuts, etc.

Conclusion: Because I know that I'm a Home-Based Scrapper I'm much happier, can make wiser purchases and am more productive. By keeping most of my supplies and equipment in my scrap space I save time and am more organized.

The Mobile Scrapbooker

Beth Rogers, the Purchasing Manager at, is a Social, Mobile Scrapbooker. Her dual-site system is designed so she can easily scrapbook from her totes at crops or from her home scrap space. Beth has packed totes for weekend retreats, conventions, a scrapbook cruise and regular crops at friend's homes and stores. Because she knows she's a mobile scrapper, she organizes her home scrap space to work in conjunction with her portable totes.

What do I put in my tote if I'm a Mobile Scrapper?
Your totes should have everything in them that you'll need to design layouts. Pack them like you would a suitcase for an international flight, efficient and light. Taking everything you own to a crop or class isn't necessary to get a few layouts completed. Organize your totes using a container system that will allow you to easily return your supplies back to your shelves at home or keep them in your tote if they need to stay there. Purchase tools that are lightweight and small and keep them in theme applicable containers. Look at the storage solutions of other scrappers at crops. Be aware that you'll need to update your totes when your interests and needs change. Here are Beth's suggestions for beginning mobile scrappers:
  • Think big. Purchase a tote larger than you think you'll need. You'll grow into a larger tote in less time than you originally thought.

  • Store like items in the same container. Put all tools in one container or in a technique-specific container i.e., store your eyelets and eyelet setting equipment in one container if you use eyelets frequently. Put adhesives in one container, and chalk in another. To find just the right container, keep your eyes open at scrapbook stores, sporting goods stores, or discount stores.

  • Label every container. A brief description of the container contents on a label can save you time and energy. Place labels where you can see them from your shelves and inside your tote. Click here for image

Tip: "I carry an Art Bin to crops. embellishments and tools fit in the containers and I can open the back pocket and put my trimmer in. The pocket is deep enough so that the trimmer doesn't fall out."
- Heather Butcher, veteran scrapbooker

Note: The Crop-In-Style Itty Bitty Boxes hold tiny embellishments and fit well into the sections of the Art Bin and many other containers

I could try to explain how Beth is so skilled at being a Mobile Scrapper, but it wouldn't be nearly as helpful as showing you. Keep in mind as you view the following images that Beth's system allows her to be an effective Mobile Scrapper as well as a Home-Based Scrapper.

How do Beth's totes and containers fit into her home scrap space?

  • Click here to view slide show

    How does Beth pack her Crop in Style XXL Tote so it's ready to go at any time?

  • Side and top pockets hold pens, punches, adhesives, swatch ring, and more. Click here for image
  • Main compartment holds paper trimmers, drink caddy, embossing powders, template notebook and other supply containers. Click here for image

    How does Beth arrange her totes in her vehicle?

  • Click here for image

    How does Beth transport her totes from her vehicle to the crop?
  • Every tote is assigned to a hand, shoulder or a secure position on her XXL. Click here for image

    How does Beth set up her "spot" at the crop?

  • Beth's XXL Tote is at her left side and her drink is in a caddy. Click here for image

    How does Beth work in her "spot"?

  • Completed layouts are at the left of table so other scrappers can look at them as Beth works. Click here for image

    What's in Beth's shoulder tote?

  • Paper, alphabet stickers and sketches notebook. Click here for image
  • Alphabet stickers. Click here for image

    What's inside some of the containers in Beth's XXL Tote ?

  • Click here to view slide show

    How are some of Beth's embellishment containers organized?
  • Click here to view slide show

    These are the totes and systems that work best for Beth and me and as you can see, they are as unique and individual as the people who use them. Our hope is that our sharing will give you some new ideas and insight for better scrapping experiences. Following are links to other totes that could become your personal favorites:

    Totes Available at

    ArtBin Totes and Organizers

    Crop in Style Totes and Organizers

    Cropper Hopper Totes and Organizers

    Whether you're a Mobile Scrapper, a Home-Based Scrapper, or a mixture of both there's a tote and system just right for you. Are you wondering which tote is the best one for you? It's the tote you will love using according to your scrapbooking personality.

    Shop all totes at



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