How to organize and store paper ephemera and other small collectibles

posted by: Allison West


Americans love their stuff. And we sure have a lot of it.

According to Becoming Minimalist, Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods — in other words, stuff we don’t need (The Wall Street Journal).

My own basement pays an overstuffed homage to all the stuff I don’t really need. Plastic bins full of old photos that my Mother “gifted” me. Stacks of original hardbound American Heritage magazines from my husband’s family.

Family history and memories are bound so tightly into this stuff I could never just give it away or sell it.

So I keep it.

You may do the same thing.

Think your collection’s weird? Check these out.

When treasures take over

We don’t need it and probably don’t have a place to put it all. But we still collect it.

In a recent series of articles on “passion investments” (when collectors follow their hearts as well as their wallets), The New York Times reported a trading card featuring the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from his 2000 rookie season sold for $401,000.

Most of us don’t collect because we think it will make us rich. We collect because we have a passion for something.

See photos of some odd collections from the New York Times article here


Vintage Paper Ephemera - a common collectible

Maybe your passion is collecting different types of paper goods.

Paper ephemera is a common collectible because it’s relatively easy to find, mail and store.

Ephemera is generally defined as a piece of paper memorabilia that was originally printed for some specific type of short term use. Show and athletic tickets and stubs, bubble gum cards, postcards and even event programs fall into this category.

Ephemera wasn’t printed with the thought that it would one day be collected, but it’s become a very popular collectible category.

Do you collect any of these ephemera items?

  • Event memorabilia
  • Old photos, historical records
  • Modern and vintage greeting cards
  • Vintage wrapping paper – bits and pieces or sheets
  • School artwork and special papers
  • Menus
  • Vintage postcards
  • Documents, letters, brochures, maps, ledgers, maps, blueprints
  • Old newspaper clippings and magazine print ads
  • Victorian style clippings for collage
  • Autographs and trivia
  • Concert tickets, newspaper and online music and art reviews
  • Sheet music, concert and art event brochures
  • Bookmarks
  • Cigar bands
  • All types of paper packaging: seed packets, tea boxes, matchbox covers, cereal boxes

However, not all ephemera is made from paper – some is made of metal, wood and cloth, such as:

  • Sewing and material crafting – patterns, buttons, bric-a-brac, thread, embroidery
  • Antique material swatches, handkerchiefs, cross stitch
  • Card collecting – Pokemon, sports trading cards,
  • Shells, feathers, small rocks and pebbles, leaves and seeds, other items from nature
  • Guitar picks
  • Dried flowers
  • Casino chips
  • Political – badges, stickers, keychains, scarves
  • Art supplies: brushes, paper, palettes, how-to booklets, tubes of paint
  • Scrapbooking and paper crafting supplies: stencils, embellishments, paper, art stamps, art crayons


Storage cases for craft paper and ephemera collections

So what do you do with a paper ephemera collection that’s grown out of its shelves and shoeboxes?

There are so many types of binders and storage cases available today, but here’s one that may be new to you.

UniKeep case style binders.

They range in size from Mini and Regular to Extra-large capacity to suit just about any size collection. And because they’re constructed as a fully enclosed case, nothing falls out and gets lost.

How To Use UniKeep Case Binders for your collectibles

Option 1

Go to for a professionally designed and digitally printed case made for a specific hobby or collection.

These UniKeep case binders function as permanent storage cases for CD collections, trading cards, stamp collections, greeting cards and video games.


Click here to see the complete UniKeep Mini Binder kit collection.

Option 2 – Customize your own UniKeep case binder

Use empty, non-designed UniKeep case binders for sorting and organizing all the bits and pieces of what you use in your particular craft or hobby; or as storage and organization for your paper ephemera collection.

You can customize a UniKeep case binder to function however you need it to for your particular collection

Here’s how.

Making a UniKeep case binder distinctly your own – 5 steps

1. Choose your binder type– regular, mini or extra capacity?

Regular size binder - outside dimensions are 11.75” x 10.5” x 1.5” Also designated as “full size” on

  • Select a binder with poly or metal rings
  • If you want just an enclosed case for storing your items, you can select a ringless option, too.


Mini binders: available in one size: 7”w x 9.43”h x 1.25” d

  • Also designated by A5 binders, compact binders and small binders on

See how the UniKeep Mini Binder works here

Large Capacity binders: “case inside a case” style

  • Great storage for your bigger stuff –hard goods, craft items, documents, art supplies, fabric samples , maps

2. Choose case width size

What spine width you need depends on the type of collectible you have and how much you have to organize.

Regular binder spine sizes:

  • .5 spine holds 40-60 sheets of paper
  • 1.0” spine holds 160-190 sheets of paper
  • 1.5” spine holds 260-280 sheets of paper

3. Choose case color and cover

  • Choose black, white or clear
  • Our case-enclosed binders have a clear overlay so you can design and insert your own cover.

4. Add Accessories

UniKeep accessory items help categorize and store your large and small collectible items. All sheet protectors, divider pages and binder pockets made with acid-free, 100% polypropylene. They protect your valuables from dirt and dust that’s harmful to most collections.

Organizing and categorizing your collections is a lot easier with the right case binder accessories.



This photo shows the UniKeep coin collection pages used to store small buttons.


This photo shows the UniKeep pocketed pages used to organize and store small scrapbook embellishments.

5. Finally -- Add your stuff and have fun!

So many uses for a UniKeep three-ring binder

Even if you’re not a collector, there are still many ways you can use a UniKeep binder to organize, store and protect your important documents.

Here are some additional ideas for organizing your Unikeep binder.

  • Create a quiet time activity book for kids
  • Organize and store documents for vacations, reunions, weddings
  • Organize and store school photos, artwork and special assignments
  • Keep a binder for any social or community group you may belong to: rotary, book club, school fundraising, etc.
  • Organize and store household, medical and contractor/repair company info
  • Keep special projects and presentations for work or school organized

Ready to get started?

If you have a creative project or hobby, look to UniKeep for an extra creative edge or organization solution. Our binders and products are available in a full line of styles and sizes, for everything from photos, crafts, video games and recipes to wallets for CDs and DVDs.       Call 800-829-8117



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