I know I’m not alone when it comes to losing control whenever I go to the AliExpress website. Everything is so cute and so cheap that I just want to buy all the things. Today I’m not going to talk about the notebooks, washi tapes, pens, and die cuts that I love on AliExpress (we’ll look at those another day). Today we’re going to talk about mini stickers. Those adorable little boxes of 1” stickers that cost less than $1 … yeah, the ones that I add to my shopping cart with abandon. And before I know it, I’ve got a pile of those little boxes. The problem is that I don’t know how to store these stickers! Put them in a bin and you can’t see what you have, so you don’t use them at all. Sticker storage is so hard!
But, as you guessed, I figured out a brilliant solution to store and organize these tiny stickers! I mean, I don’t want to brag too much, but seriously… it’s an ingenious idea and one that I’ve never see anyone else use. So here we go… let’s talk stickers and sticker storage.
AliExpress Mini Stickers
First, let’s talk about the stickers. Of course, there are lots of sticker options on AliExpress – some great options, some a bit of a disappointment. But today I don’t want to talk about all the different types of stickers, I just want to talk about one type.
These little boxes measure about 2 inches square and inside you get anywhere from 35 to 50 mini stickers that range in size between 1 inch and 2 inches. Each box contains a variety of stickers in the same theme and usually, you get 2 of each sticker design. The best part? These little boxes of stickers usually cost less than $1 (usually around 75 cents). See why it’s so easy to add dozens to your AliExpress cart? Plus there are packs of even smaller stickers – see the tiny butterflies and leaves in the picture below? Those are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch! Perfect for my small A6 journal!
How I use the AliExpress Mini Stickers
I should probably confess upfront that I’m actually NOT a big sticker fanatic. I mean, I like buying and collecting stickers, but they tend to go unused. Not because I don’t like them, but because I forget to use them. So I’ve been trying to make a more conscious effort to dig into my stash and use them more often.
Since I moved to my A6 traveler’s notebook bullet journal my space is extremely limited. I still use one page for each day but with the smaller size journal, there’s not a lot of room to play. Thankfully these stickers are perfect for the smaller pages. I like to pick a sticker and find a coordinating roll of washi tape and add a little bit of decoration on the page. Nothing major or super fancy, just a way to add a bit of “pretty” to my task list.
Storing Small Stickers
I’ve tried a few different ways to store these stickers. For a while, I’d just leave them in their little boxes and take them out each time I went on a hunt for a new sticker. But it got tiresome to finagle that stack of stickers back into the box. Products never go back in the box the same way, right? Then I stored them in Iris Photo Boxes and that worked for me for a while. Stickers with the same theme could go into the same box together and I’d just rummage through them to find what I wanted. But again, this grew tiresome because I don’t like to dig for stuff. This method actually works great for larger die-cuts and stickers because of their odd size and larger format so I’ll continue to use these plastic boxes for that. But it’s not ideal for these little stickers and my fat fingers.
My next idea was using small plastic envelopes that would go into a mini 3-ring binder. This worked well, actually. But I couldn’t fit some of the larger ones in these small envelope pockets and I needed to still take them in and out to use them. I’m still using these for a few types but I was still on a hunt for the perfect solution.
Then it happened. I found the exact right solution for storing small stickers! Not only could I see them all at once, but they were organized and it was easy to pick which one I wanted without having to rummage through a whole box of them.
Coin collectors have lots of great options for storing the currency they collect including sheet protectors that go in 3-ring binders for coins. Each square is the perfect size for a coin…. or a sticker. WooHoo! Problem solved!
Fun Fact: Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. We love numismatists!
So I bought a pack of coin page protectors and of course, Amazon suggested some other types of pages while I was shopping (Amazon is the worst enabler ever!). So I picked up a few other types of sheets too and plan to experiment with other types of stickers and ephemera I’ve collected and need to be organized (I’ll fill you in another day on how that goes).
Once I started adding stickers to the pages I realized that if I put a slip of paper into each pocket that I could double up and use both sides of the coin page protector. So I set about cutting 2-inch square slips of paper and adding them to the pockets. So glad I just bought a new paper trimmer – this thing is a dream! It’s the Fiskars SureCut Trimmer (SureCut because there’s a wire guide that the blade runs along so you can see the exact cutting line before you cut).
Then I dug out my collection of stickers and started adding them to the pockets. I was so thrilled with how it worked! I still have more to organize but this system is so much better than the other ideas I tried. I’ve even started using my stickers more often because they’re so easy to find.
Right now all the stickers are just in a bit catalog of pages with a little bit of organization to keep themes together. But I think the next step is to buy some dividers (the extra-wide ones that work with page protectors) so I can just flip to the section I need that day.
OMG! This is a dream! Really amazing solutions. Once I added the two different sized coin and currency pages, plus the longer dollar-bill pockets I was able to organize so many of my stickers and die-cuts. Check out the video as I was putting it all together.
I can’t show you all these adorable stickers without telling you where you can get them too. I’ve been ordering from AliExpress for more than a year and there’s a bit of an art to making purchases. AliExpress is a marketplace made up of individual sellers/shops. Each shop specializes in a certain type of product. You can buy anything on AliExpress – from car parts, clothes, and electronics to every kind of stationery product you can dream or imagine. Most sellers are in China but there are lots of different countries represented.
AliExpress helps buyers to research the shops before we buy. At the top of each shop, you see information about that seller – including how many years they’ve been selling on AliExpress, their reviews and ratings, and other information about their shop.
It’s important to pay attention to this information. Choose shops with good ratings and reviews and have been in business for a while – more than a year is ideal. Notice the shop screenshot above for the Happy Time Stock shows that the store has been open for 5 years, has a 99% positive feedback rating and is awarded the badge of “Top Brand” by AliExpress. (And yes, I really do have 50 items in my cart!)
You’ll also want to review the selection of goods the shop has. It’s always a good idea to buy multiple things from a single shop rather than just buying one thing from dozens of shops. I mean, you can do it either way, but there are benefits from single-shop shopping. Usually, shops offer coupons that apply to your order after you spend a certain amount (such as $2 off orders of $15 or more). So the more you buy from a single shop, the more you can save.
The other benefit is that your stuff arrives together. Each seller ships products in their own method rather than a single warehouse like Amazon has. So if you order from dozens of different shops, you’ll be waiting for dozens of different packages to arrive. Whereas if you order dozens of products from just a few shops, then you’re only waiting for a few packages.
Be aware that shipping takes a while with AliExpress. If you’re in the United States you can expect packages to take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to arrive. Remember, your package is coming from overseas and needs to go through international mail service and customs. So be patient. I’ve never had an item not arrive. Sometimes it takes a while, but it always shows up eventually. The key is to find some favorite shops that have fast shipping and a product selection that you really love.
My favorite AliExpress Shops
I’ve assembled a list of my favorite shops. They get on my list of favorites if they have a good rating and longevity record on AliExpress and also if they have a good selection and have quick shipping. I usually start with this list of shops and check their “new arrivals” tab in their store to see what they’ve added since I was there last (there’s always new stuff!).
Then if I’m on a hunt for something specific I’ll do a general search from the AliExpress homepage and see what comes up. I like to give new shops a test run and will usually find one or two new sellers to buy from with each order. Then I track to see how long the order takes to arrive and if everything was packaged well and arrived safely. I also assess the quality of the items and if they are true representations of what was pictured on the website. If they pass the Pam Test, they get added to my list of favorites. If not, then I make note on a different list to avoid that shop in the future.
It’s definitely a process of trial and error to find your comfort zone. I find that I like to be getting little packages of goodies all the time in my mailbox. The way to do that is to place a lot of small orders from AliExpress on a regular basis. So many I’ll buy something every week from a couple different shops. These are small purchases. You can get a lot of stuff for just $10 or so. If I’m ordering regularly then I’m also getting stuff in the mail regularly too. I have started thinking of AliExpress as an alternative to stopping at a local dollar store just to see what’s new.
So who are my favorites? Here’s my current list:
Do you have a favorite sticker shop on AliExpress? Share it in the comments so we can all check it out too. Also, how are you storing your stickers? Do you have new ideas we can try?