Let’s say I’ve just come home from my local scrapbook store, or maybe a box has arrived on my door step from my kit club or latest online purchase. New patterned paper, how exciting! I admire the colors, the patterns, even the smell. Now...how can I store it, use it, and stay inspired by it for many months to come?
I’ve developed a 4-step process, and each new phase helps me think about my patterned paper in a different way. This process keeps me excited and energized about using my stash. That’s what I’ll be sharing with you today.
Phase One: Brand New Patterned Paper (1-3 months)
This is what has just arrived. It is organized by manufacturer and stored in a clear plastic container. I keep anywhere from 3-5 collections from a variety of companies and pick whatever line fits the colors and mood of my photos. This is the first place I turn to when choosing product for my latest layout.
Phase Two: Newer Patterned Paper (3-6 months)
When I have used a collection for a bit, or want to make room for brand new patterned paper, the slightly used line moves to a file folder system. But before I make this change, I create a few starting points, or page bases. This allows me to simply create with the paper apart from any photos, and keeps me using my stash. Now, if I want to make a quick page, I can just pull one of these. They remain in this phase until they are used up, or until I move them to my donate pile.
Phase Three: Older Patterned Paper (6 months - 1 year)
If I have any full sheets of patterned paper left at this point, it is now sorted by color and moved to my color files. These are organized according to the color wheel, or ROYGBIV. This is where I go if I’m working on a layout and think, “Hmm, I need some red here...” Sometimes I will go to my color files, pull together a kit of mixed manufacturers and scrap with that for a while. I'm currently enrolled in Shimelle's Scrapbook Remix class to help me get better at this!
Phase Four: Old Patterned Paper (about every 6 months)
Finally, I go through my color files semi-annually and anything that I just don’t care for anymore goes into my purge bin. This bin is very loosely organized, with the oldest papers at the bottom. This is the last stop for my patterned paper stash before it is donated to a worthy cause. I have been known to go through this pile and rescue a piece of paper, but not very often.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that I do not keep patterned paper that is much older than a year. That is just my preference. I figure if I haven’t used it in 12 months, it needs a new home.
I’ve also recently developed a few corollaries to my system. I've added several clear plastic containers of product organized by theme, and one container for my monthly kit club. The themes I use regularly are Christmas, Summer, and Fall.
There you have it. I hope you’ve found this helpful. Perhaps I’ve sparked a few ideas for organizing, using, and loving your stash of patterned paper. I’d love to hear about your system. Feel free to leave a comment!