Organizing Ideas: Colorful Magazine Files + Free Labels

I have been organizing over the weekend while I was waiting for paint to dry on a few projects that I have been working on.  The biggest one – the wood file cabinet for my studioffice that I showed you last week.   I am almost finished it.  It still has a few more tweaks to go and then I will post about it.  Today I thought I would show you some of the organizing ideas I have used for the shelves above the cabinet.

Organiaing Ideas The Container Store Magazine File Knock-off tutorial

Lots of organized and labeled storage!  I got my inspiration from the colorful magazine files The Container Store sells. I love all the juicy colors, but didn’t want to spend $9.99 a piece for them when I knew I could make something similar for about $3 a piece.

Organizing Ideas How to make your own Container-Store-Magazine-File

I used some of my stash of favorite gift wrap to cover cardboard file boxes I bought at the office supply store.  IKEA also sells them – 2 per pack.  I know they are called Magazine Files, but I store more than magazines in them. They are the perfect way to store lots of items neatly while keeping them easily accessible.

OrganizingIdeas Book-Shelf-Organization with DIY Labels

I am loving all the colors against the white wood – just my style –…la.


I also found pretty and colorful new file folders at Walmart – 3 for $1.00.  I will use them in a portable clear file I store on these shelves.

CarolinaPad pretty file folders

I could not decide which pattern I liked best so I bought all three.  Aren’t they yummy?


They are from When I got home from Walmart – I went online to check out their website – lots of pretty stuff to help you organize your life and more.

Home Office Storage Idea

If you have been reading my blog for awhile then you know I collect square and rectangular baskets.  Here is one way I use them: to neatly organize and stack the different types of paper we use in the computer printer.  Since they are stacked, they take up less room and can be moved easily to get to the paper you need.

Since half the battle of getting organized is being able to stay organized, I am a big believer in labeling everything.   Now everyone in my family knows which basket to find the paper they need. No more “Mom-min” anymore with – “Mom, Where is the printer paper”.

I attached the labels with large jewelry making jump rings, but a piece of wire or ribbon would work just as well.


How To Cover a Cardboard Magazine File with Gift Wrap





Supplies Needed:

Cardboard Magazine File – I found mine at Office Max. They are called Bankers Boxes and are extra wide.
Spray glue
Acetate sheets  – Acetate is used to protect the labels. I save box top packaging that is made of clear acetate. – Boxed cards, Christmas ornaments come with it.  Don’t throw it out – save it.  If you don’t have any -you can buy acetate sheets at a copy shop for a few cents a sheet
Optional:  craft knife and ruler if you need to cut the height of the file holder to fit your shelf height.

.pdf of Free Printable Labels

Download here:  Labels with Names or Blank Labels


Free Printable Magazine File Labels { inmyownstyle-com}

How-to-cover-a-magazine-file box

Optional:  I needed to cut the file boxes to fit the height of my shelf. I used a straight edge and a craft knife to cut away a half inch from the top edge.


1. Carefully open the box as shown so that it is flat. Once you cover it with gift wrap you will glue it together again.


2. Lay file box flat and cut gift wrap slightly larger than the box.

Giftwrap-covered-magazine-file tutorial

3.  Lay gift wrap right-side face down. Spray glue on outer side of file box, let it get tacky and lay it on wrong side of gift wrap. If there is a pattern on the gift wrap, make sure it is straight.   Cut excess gift wrap into tabs, spray glue around edge of box, let get tacky and then fold the tabbed gift wrap over to secure.  Note: If gift wrap is thin – don’t use spray glue on the back of it as it may bleed through – just spray it on the box.


4. Once you have the box covered, use a line of hot glue (as shown on tab above) to glue it together again.

Home Office Organizing Ideas

5. Fold opposite side on top of hot glue.  It will go right back into place.  Place something heavy on top of it until the hot glue cools.

Container-Store-Knock-Off-Magazine File Box

6. Fold box following instructions on the bottom tabs.

How to Make The Labels

Free-Printable-Magazine-File Labels

1. Print out .pdf of labels on cardstock.  If you want to use fonts on your computer for your labels, open the pdf in a program where you can write over them. I know you can do this in Photoshop Elements. If not, use a pen and write directly on them.  I used the font Engravers MT. Place a piece of acetate over it and then cut around the border of the label so the acetate and the label are the same size.


2. Use a hole punch to make two holes in the label.


3. Mark on the box with a pencil where the brass fasteners will go. I held the label up and make a mark on the box with the pencil point into each hole on the label.  I removed the label and used the tip of the pencil to make the hole a tad bit bigger.


4.  Attach to the box with brass fasteners. Spread the tips out inside the box to secure.


There are many ways to attach labels to things  – brass fasteners, glue dots, jump rings, wire, and ribbon are a few that I have used.

Containter-Store-Magazine-File Knock-offs

I have posted about a few different types of free printable labels in the past -You can find and download them in this post - How to Make Wipe-Off Labels

Giftwrap Covered Magazine File Tutorial



  1. Donna M says

    I am in love with this shelf. I can pour through websites all day just looking at pretty boxes.
    What do you have in between your wicker baskets to keep them from sinking into one another?

    • says

      Hi Donna – The paper inside each basket holds them up. When it get low and I don’t have any new paper to refill – I add some pieces of cardboard in the basket until I get more paper.

  2. says

    wow! Thanks for solving my problem this morning. I’ve been needing some filing boxes like these but didn’t want to spend so much on them! These are great.


  3. Meg says

    Wow! You did a great job…so pretty to look at! I love how you stacked the baskets – I would have never thought of that! Thanks for all of these great ideas.

  4. Patty Chisholm says

    This was very helpful. I am about to redo my craft/computer room and this gave me some great ideas to use. Thank you.

  5. Alathia says

    Hi! I just found your lovely blog from IHeartOrganizing. I have a silly question. =o) How did you mount the labels on the woven boxes on the very top shelf? I have the same lidded boxes and they desperately need labels. Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Alathia – Thanks for stopping by. I used glue dots. The brand I used is called Zots singles to attach the labels on the woven boxes. I think they are made to use in Scrapbooking and are made by Therm-0-Web. They sell them in the craft store. I used the large size which are about the size of a dime. They are easy to remove and won’t damage the surface.

  6. JKP says

    Thanks for this awesome tutorial. I also came to your site via iheartorganzing. I am curious how you organize the items inside magazine files?

  7. says

    Just discovered you from simply, i love you. Thanks so much for showing your DIY techniques. I’m trying to prepare for 3 boys starting school in the next 2 weeks and I think I’ll become a copy cat. THANK YOU!!!!

  8. Kelsey F says

    Where did you find the acrylic file organizer??? I have been looking for one for a while now. I found one at The Container Store, but wanted to see if there were more options out there before I purchased. Thank you!

  9. Ginger says

    Your ideas are so great and your instructions very clear and easy to follow. Thanks for the great labels!

  10. Susan says

    I’m so excited about your blog – i want to make ALL your projects! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Kathi S. says

    Thanks for this super easy and fun organizing tip, also the tags are just lovely, and exactly what I was looking for.
    Thanks Again :)

  12. says

    Hi Diane!
    I LOVE your organizing ideas for your cabinet! It looks so beautiful and fresh. :)
    I would love to feature this post on my organizing blog, Organize and Inspire. Would that be okay? I would use one picture, and give you full credit with a link to your blog.
    Just let me know!

  13. me says

    Love the article but have you considered using cereal boxes and covering them like you did these? As a teacher I often covered and used cereal boxes for a filing system.

    • says

      I have used cereal boxes and even have made desk organizers using old VCR tape boxes. I love to find ways to repurpose. I even like to make mats for picture frames by cutting out one side of a cereal box and then covering it with fabric or pretty paper to create a colorful mat.

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