For years I’ve been recommending scrapbookers organize stuff based on the way they hunt for things. Well, I’ve been refining my own system and this year I’ve hit on one that has revolutionized it all for me in a way that no other organization re-do ever has.
Today I’m excited to share with you my 3-part system for storing patterned paper. I’ve never heard of anyone else who organizes like this so don’t give up on this post if the first two parts of the system seem crazy. The third part will make you feel better and with all three parts together you have every possible way I can think of to organize your paper.
Ready to see how it works?
Part 1 – Store 12×12′s by Mood and Tone
There’s a pretty limited number of emotions and moods. Our patterned papers reflect a good handful of them, both in the colors and in the patterns themselves.
Sort them by mood and put your favorite papers of each mood in the front. When you pull out the photo(s) you want to scrap, ask yourself what the mood is and then go to the patterned papers for that mood.
Paper choice used to be the slowest part of my process after journaling, but now I find my paper within seconds. I keep expecting this to stop working and so far it continues to blow my mind! If you’re skeptical, read what one of the Paperclipping Members said after she watched the related video tutorial I posted to the membership:
Oh my, I think I’m sold. I just reorganized all my papers using this method (I was using by manufacturer before and it was cumbersome to flip through everything every time, but color alone didn’t work for me so I stuck to brand). I feel liberated already. It took me less than an hour (I don’t have too much, maybe 80 full sheets or so) but I think the ease with which it came together indicates something. I started just putting things into piles and at first I had way too many piles, but I started to come up with preliminary categories and tweaking as I went. I found that as I continued I would come upon one or two “ah ha!” pieces that just totally screamed whatever I was trying to say, and then it was easier to put the harder to categorize papers with those obvious ones. I ended up with seven of my own categories that I feel great about.
The real test came when I was done however. I’ve been staring at these two photos on my desk for a couple of weeks now–I wanted to use them with orange and cut part of this truly pretty orange paper with a graphic white pattern. But something was totally off and I was making no progress. I looked at them again tonight after the reorg, and decided they were actually “whimsical/fun” photos and pulled out a large white/orange dot pattern from that folder. There is no comparison, it works now–even though the oranges are basically the same! It just feels better.
Thanks so much, Noell!
PS of course, when my boyfriend asked what I was doing, and I said that was organizing my paper by how it makes me feel, he thought I was crazy. But when he saw how quickly I was done, I think even he was impressed. He is used to seeing me obsess over half-finished organizational schemes for much longer than this took!
Part 2 – Store Scraps Together
All scraps smaller than eight or so inches wide go together in one tray, tin, or other container.
Yes, all of them, together.
Does that idea make you twitch? Well guess what? You will find the most enchanting paper combinations this way — ones you could never have planned, dreamed of, nor found in a store and created by even your favorite designers.
Whenever I go to weed out the scraps I no longer love, serendipity happens. Here are two layouts that have resulted from this…
And just a note — I store most of my screen-printed transparencies along with my paper. They might be made of a different material but most of them function like patterned paper, so I don’t see any reason they should be separated.
Part 3 – Store 6×6 Paper Pads Together
Do this in a way that you can flip through them and easily see the fronts. Mine are in a wooden box.
Obviously, I’m the last to do this, not the first. But it’s a great part of this system because it allows you to hunt for your papers in some of those other ways we all sometimes do:
This way you won’t be lost if you’re worried about not having your large sheets and your scraps organized by color or manufacturer. Because companies put a sampling of the patterns on the front of the paper pads, you can quickly flip through the pads to see what your options are. Then you can pull from there.
All 3 Parts Working Together
With this 3-part system in place you can now look for papers in all of the possible ways I can think of, not just one:
- by mood
- by serendipitous scrap accidents
- by color
- by manufacturer
Paperclipping Members who want to launch a study of topics related to this — organization, mixing and matching patterned papers, and scrapbooking with scraps or by mood through via design principles — can watch these video tutorials:
- 209 – How to Mix Patterns
- 192 – Organize Patterned Paper by Design Principles
- 190 – The Whole Process
- 172 – Making Backgrounds Out of Scraps
- 158 – Scrapbooking with Scraps
- 151 – Embellish with Clusters of Scraps
- 141 – Organization Tips
- 119 – Expand a Color Palette
- 105 – How to Have Endless Ideas
- 98 – Design Language for Crazy
- 85 – A Tour of My Scraproom
- 59 – Mixing Patterned Paper
I also go into a lot of detail about patterns and moods in my design course, Design Your Story from The Ground Up.
Want to know more about a Paperclipping Membership? Click here!