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Grumbler in Training
Oct 24, 2019
I am really tight on space (no, I DO NOT HOARD...I probably toss more than I should...mostly less that 1/3-1/2 sheet). Currently, we store inventory mats in vertical plywood slots (still trying to sell the full sheets that came with the business). Below them are more vertical plywood slots that contain customers art in sleeves, waiting to be framed with the mats for the orders in the same slot. I'm finding that my mats (especially suedes) are getting ruined because while we're looking for the person's art, we're sliding sleeves in and out. Same with checking inventory to see if we have a mat in stock. STORAGE recommendations for mats? Art?

Joe B

PFG, Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
Mar 29, 2008
Purchase a flat file to store your customers art. I keep my customers are in sleeves and then in flat files. I write the invoice number on a post-it and attache it to the art sleeve so it is easy to find the art I need. My full mats I keep separately from the drops and once I get to many drops off to the local school I go to donate to the art class. If the drop is a popular color or style I do hold on to them a little longer. Expensive mats drops like fabrics I hold onto unless I have way to many of one style/color.

I would definitely not be storing my customer's art vertically sliding it in and out looking for the right piece or because I'm looking for a particular mat. That's just waiting an accident waiting to happen with bent corners of creases. My customer's art is stored separately laying flat in the top 3 drawers of my flat file case.


WOW Framer
Forum Donor
Apr 5, 2008
I started storing some mats in Crystal Clear sleeves a few years ago. Don't do it on all of them, but some whites, blacks, suedes, silks, etc...


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Apr 21, 2015
My mat storage is vertical plywood cubbies about 33" high, 46" deep, by 6-12 inches wide. I try to keep enough mats stored in a section fairly full. Only a few mats in a section will sag and bow which isn't desired. With a full cubbie, the mats can't sag and stay flat. Just don't fill the section so much that the mats are tightly packed, that's when scuffing occurs. If you don't have enough mats in a section, just stuff it with extra foamboard or cardboard to fill up the space.

Full sheet mats of the same colour I keep in the plastic bag they are shipped in. I write the order code and colour name on a bit of masking tape on top corner for easily identifying.
Drops worth keeping go into the same bag. Try to keep them in size order: full sheets on left, sections/drops in descending height to the right.
That somewhat lessens the chance of corners causing scuff marks on the display side of mats.

Mats that are assigned to a specific customer order are separated when the order is placed, or when custom order arrives from shipping. I put them in an old foamboard shipping box that is labeled "Custom mats for clients". All the mats for each order are placed inside shipping plastic sleeves, (again to minimize scuffing) with the customer's name and the mat order number written in large letters on the back of each mat ordered for that customer.

Pieces smaller than around 1/8 sheet go into a separate smaller storage case that I'm not so careful about sorting.
I keep a lot of the offcuts. Try to "use every part of the buffalo" is my theory. Saving every little bit of $ helps.
Charging custom mat price for that scrap of 9x12 earns enough to pay for another full sheet of something else.
About 2 or 3 times a year I cull the mat herd and donate a couple of boxes of offcuts/drops to a local school art program.
Extra unused/miscut window mats go to a local hospital art program.

I store my customer art/items flat. For small to medium-sized items I insert between two sheets of scrap rag or AF matboard, then place it inside clear sleeves (most of which I have scavenged from the packaging customers items comes in). Depending on the item, I may first cover it with separating tissue for a little extra protection.
After it is secured from the elements I then place the item inside cardboard or foamboard folders I have made. I have some that are for flat items and some that are 1/2" to 1-1/2" deep boxes for dimensional items.

I also keep the boxes the frame sample chevrons come in. They are great for storing unusually shaped objects/memorabilia.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Sep 22, 2009
We store out Matboard in Vertical slots below our framing table 43CC9E49-3113-4A04-B56B-95FE75EBB654.jpeg
Our customer art we store in Flat files.

I’m not sure that I understand how your mats are getting damaged when you slide out customer art that you keep in separate cubbies.
Are you overstocked on mats, or is the plywood damaging your mats.
If the later, line the plywood with something smooth.
If the former, cull some mats. You could store some in an offsite location (storage unit, or a closet at your home) if you can’t part with the potentially profitable stock.
I have heard of framers storing art in sleeves vertically without adverse affect, but like others, I would recommend horizontal storage, in either a flat file, or horizontal cubbies.

Do you have pictures of your setup?
How large is your space?

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