Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Organizing - Patterned Paper

I've finally finished organizing my patterned paper, so I thought I'd share my process with you all a little. If you'd like to read a bit about how I store stamps, click here.

Before re-organizing my patterned paper was just stacked in 4 tall towers on a shelf. I'd gone through it a few times and tried to organize it so that the front towers had the patterned paper I was planning to use - ex. seasonal paper - as well as the most recent paper pads I'd purchased. I periodically went through the towers and tried to pull out some of the more fun sets to use. My old system worked alright, but there were a few major problems:

1) It was really difficult to keep track of all the different paper I owned.
- While I was doing pretty good at not buying duplicate paper pads, I still found myself not knowing how many paper pads I had for a specific theme. So, I had a dozen Christmas-themed paper pads -- some of them with colors/style that wouldn't work with my stamp collection.

2) I was overwhelmed with the possibilities.
- This lead to either using the same patterned paper again and again, or not using patterned paper at all. And with my collection being as big as it is, this meant I had a lot of supplies just using up space and being wasted.

3) I was saving my "favorite" papers.
- There's always that one favorite paper that I just adore and want to keep forever. And then there were two, and three, and eventually towers. But as I was sorting my crafty supplies, I came to realize that some of those favorite papers weren't such a favorite now. And quite a few of them don't match my current stamp collection either.

4) I had a pretty large collection of 12x12 paper.
- There are several papers and collections that only came in 12x12 format, and I made sure to grab them while they were still available. Originally, I planned to keep them in the 12x12 format, so I could use them for boxes. But the boxes I make are always smaller than 6" in height/width/depth, so I didn't really need to keep them in the 12x12 size.

My first step was to cut the 12x12 sheets into a 6x6 size. I did this for the majority of my 12x12 sheets. The remainder of the 12x12 papers were duplicates of collections that are no longer readily available (ex. Lawn Fawn's Into the Woods collection). Since they were all unopened, I tied them with a long piece of ribbon and put them in a flat box that rolls under the bed.

Then I grabbed all of the Christmas and winter-themed papers and put them in a plastic Sterilite bin -- one of the bins I'd been using for my stamps previously. I make a lot of Holiday cards, so I wanted to make sure the Christmas papers were somewhere I can easily find and grab when I need them.

I chose 6 paper pads I really wanted to use for the next few cards and put them in a small wicker basket I got from my local Target - it was in the baby section and only cost 1.99$. My plan is to use the 6 paper pads exclusively until they're gone (or close to gone) and then move onto the next set.

The rest of the paper was organized by theme - seasonal, holiday, baby, girl/boy, travel, masculine, feminine, geometric and basic shapes. The collections that didn't seem to fit in any other theme were grouped together by color. I chose this particular system because thematic content seems to work really well with the stamps. I'm eager to see how it will work with paper.

Since I'd made a few MFT orders throughout last year, I had several of their package boxes still sitting in the closet. I put my 6x6 papers in those boxes, and stacked them up neatly in the corner of my crafty closet. I like the MFT boxes in particular because the lid folds in and stays shut, and the white color made it very easy to write down the contents with a sharpie.

I'm going to limit my buying of patterned paper over the next few months. However, there are a few collections that I'm really looking forward to (Lawn Fawn and Avery Elle, specifically), so I've made sure to save a little extra storage space for those.

Next, I will be tackling my cardstock, inks and embellishments. I'll keep you posted once I've made progress on those.


  1. Wow! Elle, I am so impressed! Good on you! I'd be really interested to read an update in a couple of months to see how this system is working for you. As I mentioned on your stamp organisation post I think in terms of manufacturer so the concept of organising by theme or colour is intriguing. :) Are you finding it easier/harder to work with just the six paper pads in your little basket? Do you find yourself wanting to get out other pads? And if you do, do you let yourself actually do that?

    1. So far, I'm enjoying this organization system so much more. Not only is it easier to find things, but it's been fantastic for my creativity, too. It also means less time spent rummaging through piles of paper to find one that works.

      It's been a lot like the trio challenges. In limiting myself to using just a few, I've found myself a lot more inspired. And - more importantly - I've been using papers that I would have easily overlooked otherwise. So, I'm really loving it overall. I'll let you know how it goes once some time's gone by. :)