I have always been a budget scrapbooker. I will spend $5 on a sticker if that is what my book calls for, but I will not spend $5 on a box to store my pens.
When I started scrapbooking I was given a scrapbooking kit for Christmas by my parents. One of those that come with enough to make 6 pages, embellishments, stickers, a glue stick, a scissors and the 12 by 12 album. I was also given some other very basic supplies, a scrap pack, a pack of primary colored card stock and some markers. Everything fit in the box. I stored it that way for a long time. As I got more I just took the album out and kept putting more in the box. Well my collection got too big. I looked around the house for something I could store things in. My parents had a clear container slightly bigger than a shoebox that I could have. I put everything that was not paper in this container, kept the paper in the original box, and moved my scissors and pens to a makeup case I was no longer using.
This worked for me all through college.
I started dating my husband and I started saving more things, I knew I was going to scrapbook this stuff. Well my collection again started growing. I had a place of my own now so I could organize things better. I started with shoe boxes. I separated stickers, scraps, full sheets of paper, markers, and other tools. I was still using that original box for my 12 by 12 papers. But now I had a place where I leave my things sit where they would not have to move to do homework or anything like that. In addition to my supplies being in shoe boxes so were my mementos. I kept them separated by year at first, then I realized that I did not need as much space for the mementos so I combined two years in one box.
However, I took this one step further. In the boxes of mementos I took envelopes - either ones cards came in or regular envelopes and labeled the event. This way everything was kept together. When it came to make the pages I did not have to sort through everything. When I got pictures developed (at the time) I would label the pictures and then put them in the appropriate envelope.
This system is basically what I still use. A few Christmases ago my parents gave me a cart to put all my supplies in that I would be able to move around. It worked for my sister, but this changed my whole system and I didn't like it. I had asked my parents if they would be upset if I returned it and got other storage things instead. So I took it back and upgraded some of my shoe boxes to photo boxes.
I use photo boxes for embellishments (which are in smaller boxes or envelopes inside), Tools (adhesives, eyelet tools, scissors) Pictures (grouped in envelopes and labeled) Colors (chalks, oils, markers, pencils) I still use shoe boxes for mementos (Pre Wedding, Wedding, Honeymoon).
I also upgraded to two 12 by 12 clear containers. One is for my stickers - again organized with envelopes. These however are the 9 by 12 large manila ones. These are organized by theme, holidays, seasons, family, love, events, sports, letters etc. The only stickers not in here are my small letters, they are in an accordion file separated by color. The other is for patterned paper scraps. I have another larger container for scrap packs and card stock scraps.
I no longer have my original box for 12 by 12 papers, they are now in a large accordion file (also a gift). They too are organized, patterned (sorted by color) striped, themed (themes are kept together with file folders in the accordion section) and white.
Some tips on organizing on a budget.
1. You have to do what works for you.
2. Shop around your home first.
3. What can you use in a different way.
4. Organize what you have and label it (with a marker or a pen)
5. Determine what you really need.
6. Ask if anyone has what you need and will give it to you.
7. If you still need to purchase determine what you need, make a list and how much you have to spend.
Places I go to save.
1. Dollar Tree (I think it is the best Dollar Store out there)
2. Old Time Pottery
5. Craft Stores
-- I go in this order too. In my area the best times to shop are Late Feb, Early March and Late August (super clearance sales)
One last tip on Sticker Organization. If you like to be able to easily see what stickers you have you can keep them in clear plastic sheet protectors and in a binder. This will easily store where you store your supplies and you will be able to quickly see what you have to work with. This can also be easily done with your 8 1/2 by 11 and 8 by 8 card stocks and papers.