How to Organize Pens, Pencils, and Markers

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Jill Davis, founder of Scrapbook.com, invites you to learn from her craft room organizational expertise. With the help of organizational guru Stacy Boatman, you will learn how to transform your craft space into the one you've been dreaming of! Shop the entire Scrapbook.com store for all of your pens, pencils, markers, and craft storage, and organization needs!

Materials Needed for Organizing Pens, Pencils, and Markers

    • Containers/Repurposed Jars
    • Boxes
    • Label Maker

The Challenge of Organizing Pens, Pencils, and Markers

You'll be faced with evaluating what you really use as far as pens, pencils, and markers go. Also, you'll be placing what you keep into primary or secondary locations. Your main challenge will be to purge all dry markers and pens, then contain and organize what’s left over.

Organizing your pens, pencils, and markers will be fun! You'll either organize by type or by color. For many, organizing by type works best since different pens accomplish different tasks. For example, if you want a water-based pen in the color red, you can go to writing pens and find a red one. For many, that makes more sense than digging through a container of 30 red pens, markers, and pencils.

As you sort through your pens (to find those that are still juicy), toss any that are dry and useless right away. Take some time to sharpen your pencils.

Consider the following storage methods for your writing tools:

    • Store upright, in jars - best for pencils, not so great for pens (which should be stored horizontally)
    • Store horizontally in a wine rack
    • Keep them in the cases they came in (Zig, Copic sets, Tim Holtz)
    • Pen Holders
    • Pen Caddy
    • Multi-Drawer Storage Chest
    • Photo Storage Box or Clear Shoe Container
    • Tackle Box
    • Revolving Kitchen Organizer or Tool Organizer (best for primary pens and pencils)
    • Colorful Mugs or Small Tin Pails
    • Pencil Boxes
    • Empty paint cans stacked together (and glued), and placed on their sides
    • Silverware Drawer Organizer
    • Deflecto Storage

Hopefully you’ll find something in the suggestions above (or below) that works for your pen and pencil collection, your space, and how you use your writing equipment.

Tip: You can put a layer of dry beans in the bottom of jars to help keep pencils separated and upright (they’re easy to remove and replace). If, however, you have weevil problems where you live, forget the beans and go with glass floral beads or small marbles for filler. You’ll want the filler to be smooth and small so it won’t scratch the surface of your pens and pencils, or be bulky.

Stacy has a decent-sized stash because all of her journaling pens and colored pencils are leftovers from her design school days. Her Zig pens are in the cases they came in and she stacks them in a cabinet. She uses boxes from an office supply store for all of her gel and journaling pens. Her colored pencils are stored in a zippered pencil case.

Digging Deeper

"My system functions well with how I work and think when I scrapbook. With this system in place, I’m able to keep my work space relatively clutter-free."

I used to teach calligraphy and creative lettering, so my pen, pencil, and marker collection is vast and used often. I have a pencil sharpener tucked away in every center of my studio where I might use a pencil. My system functions well with how I work and think when I scrapbook. With this system in place, I’m able to keep my work space relatively clutter-free. My pens are in pen storage containers (placed on their sides), by type, and in ROY G. BIV order inside a cupboard next to my island work space and desk. I can stand at my island or sit at my desk to use them. I know what my alcohol-based Copics can do on paper, and the look my water-based markers will give on layouts and cards, so I group them in their respective types. I have grandchildren who might be tempted to get into my pens and pencils if left down on my work space. They are too expensive to entertain the risk, so I store them out of reach of children.

My colored pencils are in color-specific jars on a turntable on the top of a nearby bookcase. The turntable was glued onto a sturdy candlestick so it sits up higher than the contents on the shelf. When I need to find just the right pencils it’s easy and convenient to look through and I also know they’re safe. Copic Markers are refillable, so I store refillable bottles and spare nibs (pen tips) in ROY G. BIV order in clear, open-topped containers. These containers are in a cupboard underneath my island, near my stamping and misting area where I perform any ink-related task. Some scrappers like to have an inventory chart that shows the color of each marker they own. If you want this functionality in your space, Google the types of pens you have to see if there is a completed chart available from the company. You can check mark the boxes next to the colors you own or get a blank chart and fill it in.

"Pens, pencils and markers are consumable and a staple in most scrappers’ studios so their storage needs to be flexible to handle reduction and growth."

Copic MarkersPencils in Jars

Summary on Pen, Pencil, and Marker Organization

Pens, pencils, and markers are consumable and a staple in most scrappers’ studios so their storage needs to be flexible to handle reduction as well as growth. When sorted, organized, and contained, writing and drawing tools aid in the pleasure of creating. Your pens and pencils are now ready to be used as quick-access tools for creativity. Congratulations! 

Looking for more organizational advice? Check these out...

How to Organize Embellishments 

How to Organize Punches

How to Organize Tools, Adhesives, and Equipment

This article was inspired by a lesson from our free class called Get Organized! Jill Davis and Stacy Boatman team up to give you the tools you need to organize your way to your dream craft space! Sign up for Get Organized today and discover organizational clarity!