Cricut Organization: Handbook Binder

So what did you do over the holidays? One thing that I did was to organize my craft room. Well, technically, not the whole room, just the Cricut cutting area.
Here's a picture of my finished work area:

Over the next couple weeks, I'll share my tips and tricks for organizing Cricut cartridges, overlays, handbooks and mats. I had to do something because those bulky cartridge boxes were taking over my space. Can you relate?

Not only do the retail boxes take up a lot of room they are cumbersome to use. Everything has to be returned to an exact position for them to close properly.
My biggest pet peeve is how the spiral handbooks which just don't function properly, so that is what I'm going to focus on today. One tip I heard was to tear out the foreign language pages to reduce the number of pages. While that helps, the top of the pages still get stuck in the spiral binding making it difficult to turn pages and easy to tear them.
My solution is to switch from the spiral handbooks to this three ring binder. :)

Needs some decoration doesn't it? That can be my first project using my new organization system.
Similar to most books, I started with an index with a number for each cartridge. I grouped them somewhat by topic. (You will learn more about the box numbers at the top in my next organization post.)

Next I printed the handbooks from the Cricut website. To print your own copies, follow this link to the cartridge listing. Click on the name of your cartridge. From the cartridge's page, click on the "digital handbook" link. This opens a document with each handbook on a separate page. Adjust your printer settings to landscape and multipage. I printed six to a page (two across, three down).
Next, I put them in page protectors and added tabs with the same numbers as the index.

UPDATE (12/25/2012) - Link to site with pdfs of most cartridge handbooks without the pesky watermark!

Done! I find the binder great when I am searching for a certain image. For example, if you have multiple cartridges with a Christmas tree, you can easily flip between them to decide which one you want.

Speaking of searching for an image, a handy website is Simply type in the name of an image you'd like to make.

It will give you a list of all of the cartridges that have that image, including a link to the handbook so you can take a look.
Wow, there are 44 cartridges with a Christmas Tree! Love this cool tool.

Happy Chirping!