Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to Organize Your Cookie Cutters LIKE A BOSS!!

Y'all, I've been decorating cookies for about 4 1/2 years now.  When I started, I had very few cookie cutters, so keeping track of them was not even close to a problem.  As time went on, however, I have been gifted some and have bought myself a lot.  I mean...A LOT.  I honestly didn't even know what shapes I had anymore, or how many I had, so I figured it was time for an inventory of things.

This was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be, once I figured out what to do.  Just time consuming, given that at last count I have 405 cookie cutters O_o.

My cookie organization system has morphed as follows.

1.) They lived in a drawer in the kitchen.
2.) They lived in a bag in the pantry
3.) I had a very unsuccessful attempt at making a cookie cutter pegboard, a la this one from Annie's Eats.  It's a SUPER cute idea, and I wanted so badly for it to work, but I a.) already had too many cookie cutters at the time, and b.) Didn't like that I had to pull all the cutters off of the hook if I needed the one in the back.  I'm not coordinated enough for that, and everything would fall off all the other hooks onto the ground...
4.)They lived in dollar store bins stacked on the floor in my pantry.  This system has worked REALLY well for me and I still continue to use this method, though now they're stacked on a bookshelf in my dining room.  I like that I can categorize each bin and find what I need.

Still, this didn't solve the problem I had of not having a centralized list of everything.

And let's be honest...I have 4 kids and a small business.  I just frankly didn't want to take the time to do this.  It scared me a little, too.  SO. MANY. COOKIE. CUTTERS.

Anyhoo, it's summer and business is not as busy as it is during the school year.  We don't have a ton of places to be and the kids can just chill and watch movies while I sort through a mountain of plastic and tin.  So I dove right in.  Here's how I did it: *Disclaimer* - I work on a Mac, so I'm not sure if all these computer steps will translate to a PC, so I'm sorry if there is trouble there.  I haven't used a PC in years, so I couldn't even tell you how to do it on one of those :(

Dollar store plastic shoe bins. (If you don't have too many cutters to work with, get smaller stacking tupperware or plastic storage bins that will fit your space)
Labels (I used these)
Sticky Notes
A sheet of plain white paper for background
paper and a pen
Tape measure or ruler
Camera or camera phone.
Editing software (I use my Mac's iPhoto to crop and Preview to resize)

Wash your plastic bins and and start sorting your cutters into them, using sticky notes on the bins as you categorize them. Here are the ones that I use, but figure out which ones work best for your collection:

Christmas 1
Christmas 2 (I have a lot of Christmas cutters ;P)
Fancy Shapes
Generic Shapes
Large Letters
Large Numbers and Punctuation
Licensed Characters
Small Letters and Numbers
St. Patrick's Day

Once you have the bins and cutters all sorted and temporarily labeled with sticky notes, it's time to print your permanent labels.

Find the template for the labels you have (it should tell you on the package where to find it online) and open it in a word processing program.  Type the names of your categories on the labels, print out and put them on the bins.  Fairly straightforward.

NOW, your cutters are all organized and labeled, onto the full picture database of what you have :D

That's where the "like a boss" piece comes in.  You'll be so organized, people will be in awe of your awesomeness ;P

First, make sure you're working at a table in a well-lit room.  Lay your piece of white paper on the table and dump your first bin of cutters on the table next to you.  Place the bin to the side, as you will be putting the cutters back in as you finish photographing and cataloguing each one.

 Put your first cookie cutter on the white paper and take a picture.

Get another piece of paper and put 5 columns on it (I only did 4 on this one, but should have put 5 for the category).  Write the name of your cookie cutter, then measure and record the height and width, the category, and the material it's made of (I used the initials P for Plastic, M for Metal, CM for Coated Metal, and I also marked if it was Vintage)

Once you've done this for all the cutters, upload your pictures to your computer and begin the photo editing process.  First, I cropped all the pictures so the cutter filled the whole frame.

See the difference?


Once all my photos were cropped, I dragged them to a file on my desktop labeled "Cookie Cutters."  Now it's time to resize the pictures so they fit nicely into your Word table.

Open the folder.  With your cursor, select the top picture.  Hold down the shift key, then select another picture.  All the pictures in between will then be selected.  Double click in the blue area, and all those pictures will open at the same time.  I did it in increments of 10 or so, because it was easier to keep track of, but do it however you want.

Click on the first picture, then select Tools and Adjust Size.

I resized all of mine to a width of 50 pixels, and kept the scale proportionally and resample image boxes checked.  Click down to the next picture and repeat, until all of your pictures are resized.  They will look SUPER tiny, but they're really not that small once you put them into your Word document.

Create a new Word document and insert a table:

Make sure you select 5 columns and you can just pick any number for the rows.  You can always add more rows later if needed.

This is what it will look like to begin with.
Label your columns at the top of the first page, so you don't get confused or forget.

Now, insert your picture into the first cell.  Click in the cell you want to put the picture in, then go to Insert, Picture, From File.  Choose your picture and select.  Then input all the important info for that cutter.  Repeat for all your cutters.

If you need to add more rows, highlight a few of the rows, then go to Table, Insert, Rows Below.  It'll add as many rows as you highlighted below that.

Once everything is input, you can either print out your document, or just keep it on your desktop so you can easily add to it or resort it.  To resort, highlight a column, go to Table, Sort, then hit okay.  I usually sort by category because it's easier to find things that way.  Just know that when you do this, the title row will get sucked somewhere into the middle and you'll have to find it and paste it back at the top.  

AND YOU'RE ALL DONE!!  Look at that!  It's a thing of beauty ;)

Now, if a customer asks you for a certain cookie, you know exactly what you have, how big it is (in case they ask), and where to find it.  Lovely.  Just lovely :D

Hope this helps y'all some!  Have a great day!!

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