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Being a puzzler will make you want to play jigsaw puzzles often. With that, you most likely to have a lot of them at home. The thing is even though you love having them, it makes you stress at times because of clutter, making you wonder how to keep your puzzles clutter-free.

Fortunately, I’ll help you make room for your jigsaw puzzle collection and for your peace of mind away from clutter.

Let’s discuss it below.

How do I organize my jigsaw puzzle collection?

Keeping our jigsaw puzzle collection organize is difficult especially when we lack the space for them. Most of the time, it ended up being clutter because we fail to identify these three steps.

Here are the steps on how you’ll need to organize your jigsaw puzzle collection

  • Sort them according to number of pieces
  • Choose the appropriate containers/place where you’ll put them
  • Consider the temperature and humidity of your storage environment

1. Sorting them according to the number of pieces

If you’re a hardcore collector of puzzles like jigsaw puzzles, you probably own hundreds to thousands of them, and keeping it clutter-free would be your ultimate problem.

I advise you to sort them first according to the number of pieces so that it’ll be easy for you to know which is which. In this way, you can also keep track of how many you’ve already had. Also, if you do this sorting procedure it’ll also help you arrange them by size at the same time.

2. Choose the appropriate containers/place where you’ll put them

Now that you’ve sorted all your collectible based on the number of pieces, you can now determine what size of storage you’ll be needing to keep them.

My advice to you is to cut off the box’s image and dispose of the rest. You can use the image as your label when keeping them. Also, removing their original boxes will help you minimize the space you’ll be needing to store them. In this way, you can keep them up in smaller containers.

Moreover, consider the space you have at home. If you tend to have small space, try re-storing them in plastic bags such as zip locks, clear books, or shoe boxes. If you have a large space, you can not only retain its original box but can also display your collection using your bookshelf. If you have space but wanted to dispose of their boxes, you can use jars and tissue roll cartons to add an aesthetic touch to your collections.

3. Consider the temperature and humidity of your storage environment

When you’ve already organized your puzzles into their appropriate containers, the next challenge you’ll be facing is how to keep their quality intact during storage.

The temperature and humidity of your storage environment should be taken into serious consideration. Storing items for a long period of time can cause loss of integrity and quality of your puzzle when they’re exposed to unstable temperature leading to irreversible damages.

You see, our jigsaw puzzles are mostly made up of paper. Paper can easily capture moisture and is sensitive to unstable temperatures.

Have you ever visited a library with old books? If yes, then you might remember that the area for those vintage things is located away from sunlight with low ventilation and cold temperature.

The cold temperature helps your collection be stable in its state. It will slow down the decay process of paper to make it last for a longer period of time. So, if you wanted to make a “time capsule” for your collectibles, I suggest storing them in a dark, dry, and cold area.

How do you store a puzzle without a box?

Luckily, there are practical ideas we already have at home that we can use to save a large amount of space and make it clutter-free.

Here are the lists of containers you can choose to organize your puzzle collection:

  • Food containers
  • Ziplock
  • Drawers
  • Tissue roll carton
  • Pouch
  • Basket
  • Hangers
  • Shoe box
  • Book shelf
  • Old suitcase
  • Jars
  • Stackable organizers
  • Clear book
  • File tray

I will help you decide which container should you use based on your space, budget, number of collections, and creativity below.

1. Food container

Yes, you read it right. Food containers are generally storage of food but there’s no law stating that only food could be placed on it right?

If you have old or extra food containers you’re not using in your store, why not use them to organize your jigsaw puzzles. Just make sure to put labels or pictures of your puzzles inside the container and not on the lid. This is to ensure that even if you put the wrong lid, you’ll still be able to know what type of puzzle inside it.

ADVANTAGE: This can minimize space for storing your collections.
DISADVANTAGE: Maybe bulky if your place is small

2. Ziplocks

Ziplocks are also used as food containers that can be repurposed to other types of storage bags. You can store any type of puzzle in it because of its flexibility, just always make sure to use the appropriate size of the plastic bags to the number of pieces of your jigsaw puzzle has. Also, don’t forget to include the image of your puzzle inside the bag and not outside so it won’t be detached accidentally.

ADVANTAGE: can be stored anywhere and can resist humidity
DISADVANTAGE: can be torn off if not handled properly

3. Drawers

Our all-time favorite storage will always be included in any list, and that’s our drawers.

Nowadays, there are detachable drawers available in the market unlike before that we need to buy the whole cabinet to have one. If you have several jigsaw puzzle collections, ditch the box but make sure to cut off the image of it for proper labeling. Then, add dividers inside your drawers so that you won’t mix things up. Put the image above those pieces so you’ll know which is which. Another tip, please store your jigsaw puzzle pieces in a plastic bag or zip locks to protect the material from pests, dust, and humidity.

ADVANTAGE: easy to locate
DISADVANTAGE: takes a lot of space

*Click on the item’s name or image to check it on Amazon.

4. Tissue roll carton

If you’re into crafty stuff and loves to repurpose things that are for disposals, this DIY jigsaw puzzle container is for you.

Tissue roll cartons can be used as a container for small size and small-numbered jigsaw puzzle pieces. Also, you can design it according to your liking, and let your creative side be practiced. Just collect about 2-4 tissue roll cartons, attached them altogether vertically using adhesives (tape, glue, stapler), cover it using colored paper or any materials you would like, and design it if you want. You may cover the ends with paper, carton, clothe-like material, or plastic depending on your preference. And please, don’t forget to include the picture inside the carton for your guide. As for the label, you can write on it or glue a printout of the picture of your puzzle that can fit the tissue carton.

ADVANTAGE: boosts your creativity, may vary in sizes and designs according to your liking
DISADVANTAGE: takes time and effort in creating one

5. Pouch

The pouch is our all-in-one organizer of almost anything. So why not use it for keeping your jigsaw puzzle collection?

Pouches may vary from cloth-like materials or plastics. You may use any of the two, but for me, I would choose the plastic one because it can resist humidity and can protect your collection from dust. Use the appropriate size based on the number of pieces of your puzzles.

ADVANTAGE: durable
DISADVANTAGE: should be bought or made

6. Basket

When we think of toys, we often associate baskets as storage for it. Puzzles on their original boxes may be stored in baskets for proper keeping.

ADVANTAGE: can store your collections in their original box
DISADVANTAGE: takes up too much space

*Click on the item’s name or image to check it on Amazon.

7. Hangers

Hangers could be of great use in storage as well. You can do this by removing the original box and transferring it to smaller storage like pouches or plastic bags. Then, instead of stacking them from one another, you may hang them in the hanger like how you put clothes on it. Just always put in mind the weight and the size of the jigsaw puzzle piece you’ll hang so that the hanger won’t break.

ADVANTAGE: can be hang stored
DISADVANTAGE: only for a limited number of collectibles

8. Shoebox

While ditching puzzle boxes is always the thing I am telling you, that doesn’t mean that “all” boxes are not practical to use for storage.

Shoe boxes are usually thrown out once you have one. But don’t you know that it can help you store 2-3 jigsaw puzzles depending on the number of pieces they have? All you have to do is to create a divider in one shoe box so you can separate each jigsaw puzzle from one another.

ADVANTAGE: Eco-friendly and cost-efficient
DISADVANTAGE: May not be available because you’ve thrown it already

9. Bookshelf

If you have a large amount of space at home, you may want to consider putting your collection on a bookshelf. Arrange them vertically, like books, for proper storage.

ADVANTAGE: best for visual display with their original boxes
DISADVANTAGE: only good for large spaces

*Click on the item’s name or image to check it on Amazon.

10. Old suitcase

Don’t throw your worn-out suitcases just yet because you can still repurpose them!

Old suitcases may be used as improvised storage for your collectibles. You can put it in and zip it up then place it in your attic or under your bed or over your closet that is if you’re not into displaying it. This can be one of the best options if you want to make it as a time “capsule” thing for your future kids.

ADVANTAGE: can be moved easily
DISADVANTAGE: not good for displays

11. Jars

Our kitchen is full of storage ideas and jars are one of those. Jars can be used to store small types of jigsaw puzzles. Also, it can resist humidity for its screw-capped lid.

ADVANTAGE: good for small type puzzle, aesthetically appealing
DISADVANTAGE: breakable, need space

12. Stackable organizers

You can never go wrong if you buy stackable organizers. Aside from its use to organize your folded clothes, you can also use it for your completed jigsaw puzzles.

Dispose of the box then put your completed jigsaw puzzle pieces onto it. To add more challenge, once you’ve chosen the puzzle you wanted to play on again, disassemble it then try to figure out how it looks like again but, if you wanted it to be pretty organized, you can still put the image on top of each puzzle.

ADVANTAGE: light-weight, can store completed puzzles
DISADVANTAGE: prone to dust and humidity

*Click on the item’s name or image to check it on Amazon.

13. Clear book

Clear books are known to keep files and other paper documents. You can also use this to store your small completed puzzles for a book-type display. Just always consider the number of puzzles to put in it for it can only hold a certain weight.

ADVANTAGE: can store completed puzzles, can be flipped to locate puzzles
DISADVANTAGE: can only store a limited number of puzzles

14. File tray

If you have a limited number of puzzles at home, you can use your file tray to organize them. Just arrange them vertically then put them on your desk.

ADVANTAGE: easy to arrange puzzles, can be used on desks
DISADVANTAGE: can only hold up limited numbers of puzzles

*Click on the item’s name or image to check it on Amazon.

What is the best way to store jigsaw puzzles?

Here are the top storage containers for your jigsaw puzzle collection:

  • Use of ziplocks
  • Use clear books
  • Use drawers
  • Use bookshelves

1. Use of ziplocks

Ziplocks are our all-time favorite containers of almost anything and everything. It is made up of plastic material that can protect your collectibles from moisture and dust when stored in a dry area. They are also flexible and lightweight so you can make them fit also anywhere.

2. Use of clear books

Clear books can store your puzzles in a subtle way. You can also make use of it as a “photo album” of your complete puzzles to where you can revisit the memories and the feelings you’ve had while completing one. This can also be stored almost anywhere in your house because of its small size.

3. Use of drawers

Drawers can also be used to store your jigsaw puzzles in a surprising aesthetic manner. Just add dividers in your drawers to make room for each of your puzzles. Also, in this way, you can easily see which puzzle you may want to play with again.

4. Use of book shelf

Bookshelf is the best friend of all book-lovers out there. It’s their favorite books oasis and home. This can also be the oasis and home of your jigsaw puzzle collections too. Just arrange them vertically to maximize the space you have so you can put more of it in one layer. You can not only store your collections in an organized manner but can also have them displayed to your liking.

How do you keep a puzzle safe?

To make your organizing journey possible and fun, I added some realistic tips you can follow.

Here are the tips you should follow to keep your puzzles safe:

  • Choose which puzzle keeps you happy and save it
  • Remove the original box
  • Save a copy of the completed image
  • Arrange them vertically
  • Make them flat
  • Look for a dark, dry, and cold storage area

1. Choose which puzzle keeps you happy and save it

We all know the saying that, “we can’t have it all”. This is true about almost everything and anything we have in life. So might as well, let’s start practicing it in our organizing journey for our jigsaw puzzles.

Choose only those puzzles you’ll store that make you happy when you touch them. This is the best tip/advice that I have managed to embodied when I’ve read the book of Mari Condo about decluttering. She said that a clutter-free environment brings you joy and peace but in order for you to achieve that you must first choose which items make you happy when you touch them and keep them. For items, that don’t, you should dispose of them.

You might notice that I didn’t include if that puzzle has missing pieces, damage, or anything in between for you to throw them away. This is because what matters most is how you feel about that thing. If it makes you happy even though there’s a missing piece, then save it. As simple as that.

Learn to practice your free will in this tip.

2. Remove the original box

Jigsaw puzzles are often sold in boxes. Image of the whole puzzle and other information such as brand name, size, number of pieces, and recommended age group who can play with it is on the box itself.

If you wanted to minimize space for your collection, I highly suggest that you dispose of the box but cut the image of your puzzles to be used as labels when you store them in another container. This method will save you from unnecessary clutter and storage problems.

As you can see, when you open your jigsaw puzzle box, pieces of it are loosely packed. This packaging strategy gives “air” or a breather for the items to be sold however if we’re going to talk about storage efficiency, this thing will only take up space.

You can repack your jigsaw puzzle pieces and compress them a bit (not too much so as to give a little ventilation) to make them smaller.

3. Save a copy of the completed image

As mentioned above, save a copy of your jigsaw puzzle to make it its label. You may opt to choose between cutting the image on the box itself or take a picture of it so you can resize and print it later on. Both works either way. In this way, you won’t mix things up because they’re properly labeled.

If you have hundreds or thousands of puzzles right now, another suggestion that I can give is to create a jigsaw puzzle index. All you have to do are listed below for your guide.

  1. Arrange your collectible by number of pieces
  2. Take a picture for all of them
  3. Repack based on your preference then label them with NUMBERS or LETTERS (choose whatever codes you want)
  4. Print a copy of all the pictures of your collectibles together with their corresponding codes to make a catalogue.

This jigsaw puzzle index will help you minimize your time finding which puzzle you wanted to look for. It’s like a library index used in your jigsaw puzzle collection.

4. Arrange them vertically

Puzzles are mostly made up of paper, like books. Paper is a sensitive material that is prone to decompose in a short period of time. Therefore, we should take into consideration how we will make our puzzles lifelong by preserving their integrity.

When storing your puzzles, it’s ideally be arranged vertically and not horizontally. A vertical arrangement will lessen the pressure onto your puzzles making them last longer. Pressure can cause stress on paper-like materials making them more prone to damage. As we all know, disassembled puzzles aren’t equally distributed among themselves making the pressure to each of them unequal.

5. Make them flat

Well, jigsaw puzzles are indeed flat, right? However, there are times that some of them may be folded because for various reasons.

Making them all flat as much as possible will not only make small spaces but can also help lessen the damage due to folding. You can do this by distributing them properly in your chosen container before you store them.

6. Look for a dark, dry, and cold storage area

Once everything is all settled. The last thing that you should do is to find an area with low light exposure which is also dry.

Keeping your collectibles away from light exposure will help them last longer. As you can see, when there’s light, there’s also heat. When there’s heat, there’s a possibility of moisture build-up. All of them will be your worst enemy for keeping the integrity of your puzzles.

Always remember that most of our puzzles are made up of paper. This material can easily be damaged with heat and moist exposure.

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