How to Organize Punches

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Scrapbook.com's founder Jill Davis and organizational guru Stacy Boatman bring to you their valuable organizational knowledge. When it comes to your craft space getting organized, trust the experts. The advice you'll learn cannot be measured. Shop the entire Scrapbook.com store for all things punches and craft organiztion!

Materials Needed for Organizing Punches

  • Sturdy Containers
  • Label Maker

The Challenge of Organizing Punches

Finding sturdy storage containers for your punches and organizing them in a way that's easy to keep track of can prove challenging. Punches come in many different shapes and sizes, so finding a happy organizational medium may take some time.

First, let’s figure out the best spot in your room for your punches: a shelf, on the wall, in boxes, bins, drawers, etc. If your collection is large, you don’t have to have them on display. They can be tucked away, out of sight. You’ll want to choose a storage method that works for your space (AND your creating style). Groups of punches are HEAVY, so keep this in mind when you look for containers. If you are drawn to plastic drawer units, more than 5-7 medium punches will bog down the drawers, and they will fall off the tracks. Large punches strain delicate storage options, so remember to find heavy-duty storage that can handle the weight. If you have a large collection, I suggest you store only a FEW punches per container (or mix heavy punches with light ones). And remember, punches always seem to take up more space than anticipated. Here are several storage options for punches:

    • Rods on Pegboard (See how you can organize your punches on a rod that hangs on a pegboard here.)
    • Magnetic Knife Wall Strip (Your punches will magnetize with the strip!)
    • Shallow Drawers
    • Storage Unit With Shelves
    • Clear Plastic Shoe Containers
    • Photo Boxes
    • Tote Designed to Hold Punches
    • Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer
    • Towel Rails Mounted on a Wall
    • Tool Box or Tackle Box
    • Tilt Bins
    • Matchbox Car Containers
    • Steel Drawer Units (Not cheap, but sagging problem eliminated!)
    • Hanging on Curtain Rods
    • Custom-Built Shelving

Check out the DIY punch organizational system Jennifer of Sweet and Simple Living demonstrates in her article called Paper Punch StoragePunch Storage Drawers

Close Up View of Punch Drawer

As you can see, there are multiple storage options to choose from and hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration above. Stacy says her method isn’t clean and neat, but it works for her. She throws all of her punches into plastic drawers and stores them inside a filing cabinet drawer! She removed plastic drawers from 3-drawer units, giving her many levels of punches inside the drawer; stacked one on top of the other. There’s a wire frame (meant for hanging files) which gives her additional room for more punches.

She’s able to quickly find what she needs since she knows her punches well (i.e., if she’s looking for her small corner rounder, she knows it’s green with a black lever). She also uses a punch inventory.

Setting Up a Punch Inventory

  1. Create blank inventory sheets to hold one image of each of your punches.
  2. After sorting through your punches, but before putting them away, punch out an image from each using scrap paper.
  3. Glue the punched image into one of the squares on the inventory list.
  4. Write in pertinent information about the punch on your list.
"I’ve purchased duplicate punches in the past, and a copy of an inventory list in my purse would have prevented mistakes."

When you need a punch for a project, you’ll flip through your inventory notebook to see if you have one that works. It’s easy to store and to keep updated. PLUS, it’s handy to carry when shopping!

Tip: It’s difficult to have an alphabetical listing of punches within an inventory list, because the list can’t adjust to make room for new punches. Instead, you might want to have alphabetized categories (Borders, Corners, Everyday Life, Geometric Shapes, Tabs/Tags/Tickets, etc.). That way, you can place applicable images into their assigned categories. The categories won’t be alphabetized, but that’s okay; the system still works. If you want all of your punches in an alphabetized system, consider a Rolodex-like product with a punched image glued onto each card and filed accordingly; or, you can scan punched images and use a digital spreadsheet to create an inventory on your computer.

Inventory Solution

If you want to have an inventory be a part of your studio system, you might find inspiration for how to create your own. We all have our own way of doing things that best suits our needs.


Further Punch Organizational Insight

Do you remember the sagging plastic drawer units I mentioned above? That’s what I stored my punches in for years. I remember the day I was able to afford built-in shelves in my closet for my punches. After they were installed, I removed the drawers from their dilapidated plastic holders, slid them onto the sturdy shelves, and was liberated. Labeled by category, I know where every punch I own is located and I can quickly open a drawer to see what I have. I printed labels on my computer, mounted them onto cardstock and they slip into the front of each drawer and are easy to update and change as needed.

Though I don’t have one, I think an inventory notebook is a good idea for keeping track of punches. I’ve purchased duplicate punches in the past, and a copy of an inventory list in my purse would have prevented mistakes.

Tip: Dull punches, or punches that stick, can be serviced with only a little effort. To sharpen a punch that’s dull, fold a piece of aluminum foil over twice and punch through it several times. If that doesn’t help, get very, very, very fine sand paper and punch through it, re-testing the punch each time you do so. Sticky punches can be lubricated with WD-40, but be sure to punch through scraps of paper until the oil residue disappears—you don’t want to ruin work with oil stains.


Organizing punches and their storage can be a big job to tackle, especially if you have a large collection. Solutions are possible, and you can have a storage system in place that will make your studio more streamlined!

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Want to master the art of craft space organization? This article is based on a lesson from our free class called Get Organized, which explores all areas of getting your studio organized. Sign up for Get Organized today, and start a new, easily accessible era of crafting!