Tips and Tricks to Organize Your Samples

Ana Lisanin

September 22, 2022

Ever since we all started working from home, organizing our design samples have definitely been a HUGE challenge! Receiving samples after samples and not knowing where to put it have been the biggest struggle some of our designers have been dealing with. Looking for a great way to organize and store all the samples you have at home? Some of our Next Gen’ers have the answers for you!

Samantha Leiby and Lisa Forte from Nashville, Tennessee

“We do our best to keep samples organized but it can definitely be a challenge. We’re back in the office now (working safely and spaced out), so it’s great to have access to our material library again. I’ve attached a couple photos of that here. Our material library is grouped by product, with all fabric samples together, all wallcoverings together, etc. From there, we categorize either by color or by manufacturer. Our tile room is one of the hardest spaces to organize – mostly due to the weight and fragility of the samples – so we are constantly needing to edit/organize that space.

During the quarantine, our designers kept samples organized by grouping them in canvas bags for each project (pictured). We also relied heavily on Material Bank, which is not only a great resource for samples, but they also include a return box with each order so that you can send samples back once you are finished. This definitely helped minimize clutter at home, and we love the sustainability as well. Our reps were also wonderful about sending samples to us as needed – we definitely rely heavily on their flexibility!”

Jonathan Chow from San Francisco, California

“1. Material Bank provides sample trays in their delivery. I use that to my advantage and organize my samples by type and/or project and keep them in a corner or under a shelf. Let's not forget, they also have a great return program. Immediately send back your samples after use. Not only are you minimizing potential waste, but you're minimizing mess!

2. I have a dresser drawer dedicated to samples I use often. Not only does this option help make certain selections happen faster, but it helps to keep everything hidden away.

3. My goal since working from home began is to separate work, from home. So staying organized and designating work items to one side definitely helps keep that separation.”

Mariya Vierela from Seattle, Washington

“1. I have project samples in bins and send them to the office when the project/phase wraps up.

2. My company also uses a courier to pick up samples from designers homes and bring them to the office to be put back in the library.

3. I’ve also been ordering samples through Material Bank and then returning them right away as to not clutter my home.

4. I have one bin (a cardboard citrus crate) where I store the essentials like quartz, favorite wallcoverings, paint samples, grout swatches, etc.”

Andrew Metzler from Washington D.C.

“I’m pretty fortunate to have a single family house with a basement, so I’d ended up housing a lot of our project samples.

For laying samples out and reviewing them I have an old wooden door that I put on some counter height table legs which has been incredibly helpful. I also store project bins under it to save some space. (I attached a photo for reference. It's not pretty but it works.)

For project bins we use “really useful boxes” in our office for sample / submittal storage. I have been using them at home as well. They are sturdy, stack nicely, and can fit most samples without issue.

Lastly for loose samples or stuff that I want to keep by my desk but don’t really have a home for them yet. The Ikea raskog ( These things are the best, they are cheap and on wheels.”

Jessica Blue from Chicago, Illinois

“I buy clear shoe boxes from the container store and organize my samples by color or vendor. When working with samples for a specific project, I use a simple white tray to lay them out for development. And wallpaper or paint cards I like to organize in hanging file folders with tabs!”