Thursday, March 07, 2013

organizing patterned paper by color

Let's get to the good stuff today!
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 my drawer, organized with labeled plastic dividers (by Cropper Hopper):
Let's get to the stack.
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.
I'm planning to make a new divider called "Cut-Aparts" or something like that so I can quickly find the ones best suited to Project Life.

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.
Once I do cut them apart, I'm going to have a little bin specifically for journaling cards that are sized 4x6 and 3x4. I've got to work that into my organizational system since right now, I sort everything by color.

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!

18 comments:

Crisann said...

awesome post! tfs! i sort pp by color as well.

Arlene said...

Really great post! Thanks for sharing. :)

Nishi said...

That looks great!!! I organize my pp like this also & I like it.

Jennifer Grace said...

Great post! This is how I store my older papers - newer papers I store by manufacturers as that's just how I scrap. I like the idea of cutting up all the tags and stuff to keep together though as I sometimes forget about them! x

Lisa Dickinson said...

great post tracie! and seeing a roygbiv file drawer like that makes me happy :)

Christina Collins said...

This is such a helpful post! I've been considering reorganizing my paper by color but have been overwhelmed with the idea. You've helped a lot!

Danielle said...

This is a great system and you did such a wonderful job explaining it in this post.

Pam W. said...

Thank you for sharing - great post!

Izzy Anderson said...

Great explanation. Love the photos. I don't sort by color but if I did, I would use your system. It sounds intuitive. I love your policy of when your bins are full, purge or don't buy more. Oh, it's easy for paper to overrun a scrap room!!

Melissa Stinson said...

Wonderful post. I love your organization and your system!

Michelle said...

I scrap by color, but my patt paper is not sorted by color. I have always been kind of unsure how to sort those questionable papers. I love your system.

Lisa Echerd said...

This was very helpful, thanks! I keep paper by collection but when the collection is mostly used up, I file the rest by color. Your tips are very helpful for filing those extra pages and scraps.

LauraB whosthischick said...

I got really frustrated trying to sort my pattern paper by color...I even tried by pattern style...now I just stick with MFG or holiday themed.

emily said...

Great system. I used to roughly organize by color but my trouble was not having dividers that stayed in place. I just keep mine in a divided cubby but I only have one of them...so all my pp needs to live there. I will have to see what cropper hopper still makes and find something that will work! Thanks for sharing this:)

Nirupama said...

I sort by color too. But i recently statted keeping lines together. Totally changed how I scrap.

Ruby said...

Your storage looks so neat and organized. Aside from colors, maybe you can also organize them by design - plain, flowers, shapes, etc. By the way, what do you with all those papers?

-Ruby Badcoe @ WilliamsDataManagement

Amy Ricker said...

I used to sort by color and then I started sorting by kit. I am planing a redo of my craft room and the color thing is calling my name again. Thanks for a great post.

Karla Yungwirth said...

Awesome post Tracie! Love the details and all the pics- you've explained everything so clearly. I'm inspired to reorganize according to colour. I find myself digging through collections for a certain colour lately and I think this would help!