Most paper crafters that I know have lots of ribbon, and I'm certainly no exception. I've accumulated tons of different colors and styles over the past few years. I love to use ribbon on scrapbook pages and cards, tie lengths of it to the binder rings of mini albums, and use it to make Christmas ornaments. But, as you know, anytime you get a lot of something, storage becomes an issue.
I struggled with how to store my ribbon for a long time. I generally buy rolls of ribbon rather than short pieces, so initially, I kept all of my ribbon on the rolls and just lined them up in a shoebox. That worked okay until one shoebox became two, then three, and then . . . well, you get the idea. Then I saw online where someone had wound all of their ribbon onto wooden clothespins and put all of the clothespins into a big glass jar. The colorful jar full of ribbon was very eye-catching and actually looked pretty out on the person's work area. I had access to some huge glass jars, so I decided to go this route. It took a really, really long time, but I wound all of my ribbons onto wooden clothespins and secured the ends with straight pins. I loaded them into a couple of big glass jars and they were not only accessible, but they added a nice decorative element to my scrap space.
After awhile, though, I started to dislike the jars. They took up a LOT of space, and to really look through my ribbon, I pretty much had to to dump all of the filled clothespins out on the table. I just wasn't loving this storage method any longer, and started to look for something new. I bought one of those soft, clear plastic ribbon "purses" that has holes all over the sides, because I thought that method would be portable. You thread one length of ribbon through each of the many, many holes in the container, and basically you can take your whole ribbon collection with you. While the container really does hold much more than you'd ever suspect, it really isn't made for a ribbon collection like mine. What I mean is that the "ribbon purse" method works best if what you have are a bunch of individual lengths of ribbon, say a yard or so each. It doesn't work so well if you have really, really LONG lengths of ribbon, like a whole spool's worth (i.e., anywhere from 3 to 8 yards). So, I abandoned that method, as well.
Finally, I stumbled upon a thread on my favorite message board about storing ribbon, and someone mentioned ribbon cards, the method that I am currently using. While I suppose you could be green and frugal and cut your own cards from leftover cardboard, I highly recommend these little beauties:
They are sturdy cards specifically made for wrapping ribbon, and while the picture shows the cards meant for 1/2" ribbon, the company, Magistical Memories, makes various sized ribbon wrapping cards. And I'm going to be honest here, it's those notches on the cards that make ALL the difference. After surveying my ribbon stash, I bought a package of each size of cards from the company's website, and an extra package of the 1/2" cards, because I have more ribbon that width than any other size. I then organized all of my ribbon by size and by color, and started wrapping the ribbon onto the cards. The notches on the cards make this truly easy, although it takes awhile if you have a ton of ribbon like I do. Ok, now, here is the BEST PART of this ribbon storage method -- the Magistical Memories cards fit PERFECTLY into plastic shoeboxes on their sides. So I just "filed" each ribbon card away and I managed to get my entire (huge!) ribbon collection into two plastic shoeboxes. With additional empty cards on hand, my collection can still grow and not become too unwieldy. When I'm working at home in my craft room, I can just pull out my shoeboxes and find the ribbon that I need. But when I'm going to crop, I can just pull a couple of cards of ribbon in the colors that I'm working with and throw them into my bag. I can take a whole selection of ribbons with me, without taking up much room in my bag. Love that!
I have my shoeboxes of ribbon stashed neatly under a storage drawer system in my craft room, and it's a great, out of the way place for them. Did I use my ribbon stash more when I had the bright clothespins staring me right in the face? Maybe, but for my craft room and the way I work, the ribbon cards are much better. I couldn't be happier with this solution, and I encourage you to give it a try if your ribbon stash needs some taming!