I've had a lot of requests in the past year to share how I organize my patterned paper by color.
People seem to be intimidated by attempting to organize this way because sometimes it's unclear what color category the pattern should go in.
To me, it's a matter of knowing your personal preferences and what colors you use most often.
You also have to ask yourself, which side of this paper was I drawn to in the store?
Sometimes it's both sides! If you don't have two pieces, you have to make a choice when you're putting it away.
I'm going to walk you through my process and the pictures will explain it better.
I usually leave paper in a stack on my desk for weeks but when I'm ready to organize, I sit it atop by file drawer.
(I have three file drawers specifically made by Crop in Style to hold 12x12 paper.)
Here's a typical stack of paper I bought a few months ago:
Here's some multi-colored paper but the blue is an obvious standout so it goes in the blue section...
Then I check the next paper to see which side I like best. I like them both, but I like the polka dot side better, so it goes in brown....
This one is multi but clearly mostly pink so it goes in pink.
This one has a bit of pink on the edge but I think I will mostly use the cream area.
I also own this same design in a 6x6 pad so I'll use that design at the bottom in a smaller version...
This is super neutral, goes in gray...
A peek at my yellow and orange section. I try to have the yellow in front, orange in back. I need to move that one orange dot. :)
I like both sides of this but I bought it for that blue chevron so it goes in blue.
I really like the pale woodgrain on this so it goes in brown (by My Mind's Eye)...
but here's a similarly designed paper I put in pink (by Echo Park)....
this one goes in pink too, cause I love the chevron...that's why I bought it....
this one goes in pink as well (I need to stop buying pink paper, obviously)...
this is a harder one but when I look at it - I see pink - so pink again!
It's like this....when I want a piece of paper with pink, I might want a little pink or a lot of pink but rarely JUST pink.
That's why I'm okay with filing a paper under pink that has other colors too.
My photos are never that monochromatic. They're always a mix of colors.
Now here's one that would really trip most people up. What do I do? What do I do?
This - in the very rare instance that all the colors stand out the same - I have a file called Primary...
Problem is - I find myself rarely looking in it, so I try not to file in there.
I just seem to always go for a specific color.
I love, love, love woodgrain so this one's obvious to me. Brown...
After all those are filed, I'm usually left with papers that are cut-apart journaling cards or a pattern I bought for a specific purpose (like monsters or that ABC paper I want to use soon), border strips, etc. I have a file in the front of the drawer called "other patterns" where I put these.
Right now, as far as those sheets are concerned - when I cut one journaling card off one of these, I'm going to go ahead and cut the entire sheet apart. I don't want to go thru and cut all of them because I feel like it's easier to find what I want while they're intact like this.
I haven't purged each of these files in a long time but I plan to. When I do purge, sometimes I will pull out a piece that I forgot about and switch it to another color section so I'll be more apt to use it.
I find that I use pieces more frequently that have a subtle pattern. I love the bold patterns but they seem to compete too much with photos or even a card title. I'm trying to remember that when I'm shopping.
One last tip - I have another drawer half full of themed patterned paper.
I also have those three files of October Afternoon where I store entire lines together.
Other than that and a few 6x6 pads, this is all my patterned paper. So when the drawer is full - I don't buy any more.
That's why I'm always purging. I love to buy paper!!! They just keep making so many pretty patterns that I love more than what I already own! I very recently purged paper from 2002! That was after purging for years and thinking I had gotten rid of paper that was tired.
I would really like to only keep thicker pieces but some of the thin ones are still my lovies. :)
I hope you are inspired to try sorting by color. It is so helpful when I'm working on a project.
I used to sort by manufacturer but I spent most of my time just pouring over my paper collection and I found that the edges got frayed from looking through it all!
I think the "idea" of keeping manufacturer collections together makes sense but it does not work for me.
If it works for you, do you just remember your entire paper stash in your head or do you actually have to look through most of it each time?
These are questions to ask yourself! Organizing my patterns by color really has been such a time-saver for me. I can't imagine going back.
I'm happy to answer any questions you have - ask away!!
Have a great Thursday and stay crafty!