Are you having fun yet? Well now we get to the fun part of looking at all those wanna be's that we have collected. Don't look at it as, 'What was I thinking', but more like an inspiration and as you go through your patterns think of it as a growth spurt. What do I mean? As you are looking at your patterns think of three new things that you want to learn, let's say a technique or stitch pattern. If your patterns show the same design or you find yourself making the same thing, then it might be time to get out of the box. I hate to say look for three more patterns that reflect learning something new, but I just have to say it. Hopefully, you don't have to go that route because you find that you have a variety of different techniques and stitch patterns featured within the patterns you have. So pick out three future projects to learn something new.
Let's get back to organizing what we got. That one more pattern that you just gotta print. When you gotta print that one more pattern out then you gotta organize so that you can find it when you want to make it. As with everything else I talked about with organizing, there are several ways you could organize your patterns depending upon the number of patterns you have.
The way that I organize my patterns and it has worked for me is that I use three ring binders, tabs, plastic sheet protectors and I also use folders inside a pouch. They both work for me because I have a lot of patterns that I have collected because of teaching the needlearts and I keep seeing new patterns that I want to make (even if it is that 'someday' syndrome). So let's get started.
Step 1: Assess the damage, I mean your pattern treasures.
Are they in one place or all over the place? Gather them up and put them all in one place. Just make sure you don't put the pattern from your project you are working on in that pile. Are you dealing with more booklets, pamphlets, single sheets or all the above?
Step 2: Where will you be storing the patterns?
This will determine what method you want to use. If you have shelf space then binders will work great. If you have to pile the binders on top of each other then folders placed inside a pouch might work better since piling binders if they are not placed right can slide.
Step 3: Separate the single sheets from booklets and pamphlets so that you have three separate piles. This way you can see what you have and then we will separate them further.
Step 4: Let's get organized!
I am going to assume that you have already chosen where they will be stored and if you will use three ring binders, folders or something else. If you left room on your shelf and you are using the binders then let's get started. First you need to determine what size binder you will need. Remember, we are looking for recycled binders that we could use first before we go out and buy. How about that class that you took and you know that you won't be using the information anymore. This is a great time to do double duty. You could clean out and recycle the paper out of the binder and if it has tabs that can be reused then walla. You have a binder with tabs to get started. So look around your house first then if not go to the store and buy. You will also need a hole puncher, but if you don't want to put holes in your patterns then you could use the clear plastic protector sheets.
Make sure you choose a binder that once you put your patterns in there is room to move the pages and I hate to say it but room for growth. That calls also for not stuffing too many in a binder or buying the right size for the number of patterns you have. Of course, some of us will have multiple binders - scary. You will also need tabs that can be labeled by what kind of patterns you have. If you use the plastic sheet protectors then you could either put two pages per sheet back to back or two whole patterns back to back in one sheet or one page per sheet. You want it to be cost effective and not a big expense.
I use folders and pouches to organize my patterns because there are too many. So I have the folders labeled: For the Home, Shawls, Hat/Scarves/Bags, For Baby, All On Top, Afghans, Skirts, Miscellaneous. You have to look at your patterns to see what categories you like and then label the tabs. If you use this method, then the next step would be to separate all the booklets, pamphlets, single sheets by categories and they can be easily slipped into your folder or binder.
My notebooks are used for a different purpose. I use them to keep track of what I am working on. I use a 2" binder with tabs, plastic sheets, and insert pockets for better organization. The tabs are labeled: The Last Step, Sample and gauge swatches to make (I know, the dreaded gauge swatch nightmare), Knit, Crochet, and Beading projects. I can easily go to any of those sections and I can find what needs finishing work, what projects I am working on, any samples I want to work on. And if it is in a book or any other place that I can't put in my notebook, I write a note stating such so that I can find it. And when I am going somewhere (like a knit group) and I want to bring a certain project I can put it all together in one of my tote bags and I am ready to go. Now there are projects that I keep the pattern in with the project if I am always working on it. It all depends upon what will work for you. This is a personal choice and guess what - you can change it if it is not working for you at any time because nothing is set in stone.
In my life I want as much as I can have to be easy. Also, time is precious to me and I don't want to waste it looking for what I need. This way it leaves room for my brain to handle the things that are not going to be easy or that bring stress. I don't want my hobbies to be stressful but continue to be my enjoyment, stress reliever, and fun down time.
So it might be more doable to take one day and bring out all the patterns, another day to separate them, and another day to start putting them away. Break it down into little bits so that it won't be too overwhelming. This can be so much fun and freeing. So don't stress because it will get in the way of your progress. And just think, when you are going through your patterns there will be those 'ah ha' moments when you will say, I forgot about that pattern or I was suppose to make that and you can put it aside for your next project - how exciting. But don't take too many out because you are suppose to be putting them away in a fashion that you can find it when you need it.
Happy organizing! Remember to congratulate yourself with each step you take for a more organized life.