Organizing Your Patterned Paper

Hi fellow paper hoarders!  My name is Jeanne and I hoard paper - but no more!  I've decided that part of my life is over.  I realized that I often use the same patterned  paper over and over.  And I tend to use paper that is in 6x6 pads because they usually have a cover that shows the patterns inside.  I came to realize that once I put my paper away I couldn't easily see it.  Out of sight - out of mind.  I have some nice storage for my paper, but that's just it - storage.
My solution was to create a system where I could SEE my papers and card stock.  I've tried swatch books where swatches are held together with rings but that didn't work well for me.  I wanted to see both sides of the paper at once and also be able to move things around to see what looks good together.

My daughter has trading cards that she keeps in divided plastic sleeves in a three ring binder.  I liked that idea but those are only 9 to a page and most paper (at least Stampin' Up!'s patterned paper) has 6 sheets with 12 designs.  I found plastic sleeve sheets that are divided into twenty 2x2" sections. (I think these are for coin collectors.)
I cut two squares from each of the 6 sheets so that when looking at the page I could see all the patterns without having to turn anything over.  One goes in front side showing; one goes in back side showing.  The size works well for most patterns.

I cut the information on the paper from the backing to the packet and placed it in one of the pockets. This way I have the paper's name and colors that coordinate.  I also cut card stock from the coordinating colors and placed those in the remaining squares.  Not only can I see the patterns and their colors but it is very easy to see how patterns/colors look together by pulling the swatches out of their sleeves and moving them around.
In this example, there were more than seven coordinating colors, so I cut a few swatches 1x2" and placed them over a 2x2" square in one pocket.  In the previous example, there were only 5 coordinating colors, so for the few pockets would be empty I filled them with white squares.  I don't want to see the next sleeve through an empty pocket.  I just want one paper pack and coordinating card stock per page.  With this system, if you run out of a pattern you can simply remove it.

For my storage I still use my Stamp-n-Storage paper cabinets, but instead of just putting a still-wrapped-paper pack that has been slit open in each section, I unwrap it and put it in using cardboard dividers so I have three per section.  I write the name of the paper on the divider.
While creating my pages I discovered SO MANY beautiful patterns that I had either forgotten or didn't know I had!  I'm certain I will use more of these papers.  And I also discovered some that just aren't my taste anymore.  Not sure what I will do with those yet, but I did not bother taking the time to index them.

This system does take a little effort but is easy to do while watching TV or a movie.  Not a lot of thought to it.

I hope this helps with your paper taming issues. I know that one size doe not fit all, but this works for me!  I'll post how I organize my solid card stock soon.

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  1. An awesome idea! I am going to incorporate it in my craft area somehow. Thank you for posting this!

  2. Where did you find the 22 pouch sleeves?

    1. I got mine from Amazon, but since they're also used for slides some online photography places have them too.