There’s no turning back now! (Well, actually, there could be…I’d just have to pull everything off the shelf and go back to the way it was)

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking77 Comments


I really need to lay off such dramatic statements…

But what I meant to say by There's no turning back now, is that I recently reorganized my patterned paper collection. (Does that sound on the same par as saying, "Oh, I can't go out tonight. I'm going to stay in and wash my hair?") Well be that as it may, THIS is exciting stuff, people. Here's my shelf (also lovingly referred to as my "rack"):


(And yes, feel free to say it. You know you want to… nice rack!)

For a long time now, I've wondered how my productivity, or rather, my inspiration to become productive, would change if I organized my patterned paper by color, rather than how I've always done it, which is by manufacturer.

So a few weeks ago, I pulled everything out and started sorting into piles. I wasn't emotional. I wasn't sentimental. I didn't get hung up on, "But these florals have ALL colors in them!" I just made a gut decision based on each sheet and when things got confusing I asked myself, "What color cardstock would I pair this with?" and that answered my "What color group should this go into?" question.


It took me the whole morning to sort and purge, and when I was done, (which I'm not completely done yet) I had one nice column of paper in a ROYGBIV + brown, grey and black order.


The color group that turned out to be the largest? Pink. I think that's a given considering how girly I am. Or that's the story I'm going with.

My main motivation for doing this was because I'm working on a new class for Big Picture Scrapbooking, and it's called "Me: The Abridged Version," (more info coming soon) and it asks you to pull paper from your stash, based on coordinated colors, not necessarily from a single manufacturer. I wanted all my colors grouped together to ease my paper selection process and I'll be damned if the inspiration for my album project's color scheme didn't hit me right square in between the eyes!

(And then it changed five minutes later to a completely different color scheme, but still…)

Nothing like seeing your stuff in a whole new light.

[edited to add]

There was a dude who made the rack, and now he doesn't make the racks anymore. I'm sorry to say that! Although there was one blog reader who I hooked him up with at least a few years back and he made her a rack. But sadly, no more racks from the man who gave me such a nice rack. And by "gave" i mean, did it for $650 bucks.

Cathy ZielskeThere’s no turning back now! (Well, actually, there could be…I’d just have to pull everything off the shelf and go back to the way it was)

77 Comments on “There’s no turning back now! (Well, actually, there could be…I’d just have to pull everything off the shelf and go back to the way it was)”

  1. #2

    Yea – another class. Where did you get that rack? I organized my paper like that a year ago and I think it works better for me! Now it is time to purge and add new paper.

  2. #4

    Nice rack! And YAY! You talked about this project last year in DYL, I’m glad to see the outcome.

    New class? Oh goody! I’m excited to hear the details. A class about “me”, sounds intriguing.

  3. #5

    I used to sort my papers by colour, but it’s gotten a bit mixed up lately (I too have many papers that are multi-coloured, where oh where do THEY go?!), thanks for the inspo to try it out again!

  4. #6

    Nice rack! 😉

    Now please …you can’t just say the title of a new BPS class and nothing more – that’s SEVERE teasing! LOL! Pleaaaaase, more info? 🙂

  5. #7

    Shew, I gotta get a great rack like yours! Rack envy. Also, can’t wait to check out your new class. ECWL is good stuff!

  6. #8

    Dang, that is a “nice rack”…maybe the dude will come out of retirement…he could drum up some serious business out of this post…your papers look magnficently organized….

  7. #11
    Kim K

    I used to have a nice rack.
    Then I had kids.
    Bwah, ha, ha!
    Seriously…I need one of those.
    And I echo everyone else here…more info about the class please!

  8. #13

    How long can you keep your rack looking like that?
    Whenever I organize my stuff it lasts me like… let’s see… a day?

  9. #14

    Mine is sorted by color. And if I had 2 sheets of the exact same, and it was multi-colored I’d put them in two seperate color folders. I waited a long to do this because I was hung up on all the multi-colored stuff. But it wasn’t like it was by manufacturer, just in a large pile that I would fan through.
    I’m loving it now.

    …..btw….nice rack baby *wink*

  10. #15

    I have my patterned paper organized the same way. I LOVE being able to look through all of the options in the same color at the same time. I really don’t like to play seek and find. Great job and I love your RACK.

  11. #16

    So jealous of your “rack”! I recently re-organized my patterned paper by color also, and seriously…it is SOOOOOO much easier! Love the sound of your upcoming class, can’t wait to hear more.

  12. #19

    Please don’t take this the wrong way but…
    I really love your rack!
    And here’s the misinterpretation part: I really want your rack!
    And this weekend, I’m sorting my patterned paper by color, too. Everything else is sorted that way so it’s time!

  13. #20
    Julie Mitchell from Montréal, Canada

    A couple of things:
    1. Nice rack. Had to say it. It’s now stuck in my head.
    2. I have also re-orgazized all my papers by colour and prefer this way better. I am using up long forgotten papers. I also have too much pink in my stash. I’m surrounded by boys. How did that happen? Did I buy those or won some and never used it? I think manufactrers make a lot of pink?? Note to self, never buy pink pp. Also why don’t I have yellow patterned papers? I’ve been trying to increase my inventory of yellow but there’s not a lot out there.
    3. I’m so taking your next class!

  14. #21

    Yes, I want to say it, “nice rack”.
    I did the same thing a few weeks ago, but my racks were purchased from a scrapbook store,
    sadly, going out of business. I sort my colors in a little different order but the outcome is the same. I put my patterned paper side by side with the corresponding card stock. Works like a dream. Looking forward to your next class:]

  15. #22

    I’m so excited to hear that you’re working on a new class! I have always sorted my paper by color because I’m not good at knowing or remembering brand names. However, I have hit a snag lately when I’ve bought several sheets of paper and cardstock to go together. Until I use them for something and I only have scraps left, I don’t know where to keep them. Right now they’re in a big pile on my desk.

  16. #23

    I get a little tic or two when I think about sorting by color. Esp. because I don’t have a great rack like yours where it’s all staring me in the face. Have to think about this since several have recommended. . .hmmmm

  17. #24

    ok girls. . .I’m a “kit girl” now. . .most of my PP comes in monthly kits. . .I don’t break them up. . .I think this is not helping my creativity – but I’m not sure where to go. . .while I have a nice rack – it’s not one for paper 🙂


  18. #25

    I recently sorted embellishments by color. You’ve inspired me to tackle the patterned paper next. But I’ve got a question for you–seems silly, but I got hung up on this when sorting embellies.

    You said: “I had one nice column of paper in a ROYGBIV + brown, grey and black order.”

    So, where did you put all that pink? Does it have its own category, or did you file it with red? And what would you do with turquoise? Does that go with the blue or the green paper?

    Yes, I’m making a simple task WAY more complicated than it should be. Maybe that’s why I rarely finish a creative project.

  19. #26
    Nicole Snow

    I used to have mine by color and a few months ago sorted it all back out by manufacturer. It’s what works for me, but everyone’s got their own style.

  20. #29

    Can’t wait to hear more about this new class of yours! And waaaa–your rack’s bigger than mine! ;D

  21. #30
    Susan Raihala

    Love your rack. Mine is vertical (ouch) but also organized by color. Stacy Julian said to organize by color, and I’m easily led by such sensible people.

    Doesn’t it just make you happy to look at it all organized in rainbow perfection?

  22. #31
    Lauren H.

    Cathy, wouldja puh-leeeze answer all these questions people are putting at you? Especially the part about where’d ya get the nice rack??

  23. #32
    Jennifer Larson

    I recently did this with my scraps. It was inspirational. And how excited am I that you have another class coming1

    And nice rack. I’m jealous… : – )

  24. #33

    That is one nice rack ya got there Cathy. Wish I could find a good “rack man” like that. Now, I’m not saying I don’t have a good man, I do. I just don’t have a good “rack man!” Darn!

  25. #34
    Stéphanie B.

    Oh my… a new class….with you…..that’s awesome. Can’t wait …This is THE news, it made my day…
    I did that too with my pattern a while ago because I realized that when I need pattern paper, I almost already know what my colors are. It works great for me, hope it will for you too!

  26. #35
    Amy Forster

    love your rack – might have to have the cabinet guy build one for me, although I have a nice system for paper already.
    Love to email you a picture. Old canning jars with ribbon wrapped around old fashioned clothespins on a shelf above paper, paper in vertical cropper hopper holders, then buttons in old canning jars underneath. Of course, all color cordinated. Looks FAB – easy to find what I need….

  27. #39
    Tamikko Gordin

    I love your rack myself! tehehe Love the idea of this but I’m so afraid I would be pissed when trying to find the matching pattern paper for a project.
    I can’t wait to hear about your upcoming class 🙂

  28. #42

    Yes. Nice rack.

    But more important – a BIG THANK YOU! This hit me like a ton of bricks …

    “when things got confusing I asked myself, “What color cardstock would I pair this with?” and that answered my “What color group should this go into?” question.”

    Now I feel like I can do it. No excuses!

  29. #43

    I seriously covet your rack. I just spent an hour or so organizing my colored cardstock by color last night. I’m tackling patterned paper this weekend. Well, you know, not tackling because that’s not a very good way to organize…

  30. #45

    During your DYL class last year, you FORCED me to accept that sorting by color was the best way to organize my stuff. I took the big leap and I LOVE IT! It is so much easier to find things and of course realize what I’m missing (I don’t own much yellow). Keep up the good work.

    Oh yeah, nice rack!

  31. #46

    Love your rack!
    Love the photos you took to show us what you did!
    Love that you are having another class!
    Love that you make me laugh!

  32. #47

    I reorganized by colour three years ago and never looked back. One difference though, I do have themes: flowers, circles&squares, stripes, travel&vintage, seasons, paisleys & misc patterns and within each, sorted by colour. Works great, have never lost a paper yet.
    And no, I won’t say it because everyone else has… 🙂

  33. #48
    Ann Grounds

    My cardstock is out in the open to see like yours but in a scrap n style cube unit, the patterned paper is by color in a drawer except the “namebrand” stuff which is by manufacturer in clear pizza boxes because they tend to be prettier. Maybe I should d them all by color, but I kind of like having coordinated pattern paper together.

    Anyway..Nice Rack!

  34. #49

    LOL my rack was much ‘fuller’ when I was young…now it’s looking a wee bit sad. Guess I need to buy more to ‘fill it up’. : )

    OK, I have to stop now.

  35. #51
    Erin H.

    I have recently just reorganized all my paper and embellishments by color and I gotta say… world has changed!!! This is wayyyyy easier than manufacturer and I know where EVERYTHING is…it’s wonderful!!!

  36. #52

    Bet you’ve never gotten so many compliments on your nice rack in one day before! I love your rack but don’t have room for one that big. Darn.

    Now PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE – more info on the new class! Don’t make me resort to bribes…

  37. #55

    Cathy – I want a rack just like you!

    You had mentioned that you would reorganize after DYL and I have been wondering if you had and how it was going. Please keep us posted as to how you like the new system. I did the same about a year ago and love it (though I still keep some BG together..)

  38. #56

    I am beside myself with excitement,(& myself is quite considerable so it’s a bit crowded in here) to hear of your new class. Loved DYL! Not doing the current one – adult children have banned me from Twitter & Facebook because of the fear that I might “reveal” too much about them!

  39. #57

    I am jealous of your rack…I do the same thing with my pattern papers and love it – i too have a ton of pink

  40. #58
    Diane Herman

    So…a rack for you and one for a friend and the poor mans retired from “racking”…mmm!!!
    Wonder if I can find myself a good rack man here in Australia?

  41. #59
    Marlene Moore

    I was so excited to go see the promo on the BPS website about your class, cannot wait to do it. Can’t you start it sooner, pretty please 🙂 I am looking forward to more of your great video’s, maybe even some singing…
    From your ‘Inspired’ friend 🙂

  42. #60

    I have to say it

    “Nice Rack!”

    Maybe you have a lot of pink stuff cos its the stuff you use the least, but you cant help but buy more because it looks so cut. I do it with green, I love it, buy lots, but never seem to scrap with it, who knows?

  43. #61
    Ayana P.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures!
    I love seeing how others organize their stuff.

    I just thought i’d let you know about this fabulous way to store all your crafts and supplies if you are interested.

    Just visit:

    They have some excellent products.
    You won’t be disappointed! 🙂

  44. #62
    Christina Thomas

    I love the organization! This is what I need. I have all my paper stuffed into a 12×12 binder! Does the organization by color work for you? I have mine organized by theme (Christmas, Spring, Love etc.) My prob would be I wouldn’t be able to figure out what color group it should go in! Hope you don’t mind if I leave an additional comment. Visit and check out their scrapbook storage products!

  45. #65

    Loving that rack! I recently reorganized all my patterned papers. I, too, had always done by manufacturer as well. I switched to patterns, as I’m usually looking for a particular patterned paper more often than color. So now I have it split up by type of pattern (stripes, squares, plaid, flowers, etc) and split up by manufacturer within each pattern type, so that if I want a dot and a stripe from the same line it won’t be so hard to find.

  46. #67

    Cathy, WHEN DO YOU PLAN TO RELEASE YOUR NEW CLASS? LOM is about to end and I still go back to my DYL Folder very often to make layouts. I SO LOVED that class and YOU, but can’t wait until winter (that’s when I THINK you will release it). Please don’t leave us here waiting with anticipation until winter.


  47. #68

    OH I Just followed your tweet: We’ll have to wait until SEPTEMBER….it’s a 4 week workshop…..are you by chance working on DYL 2 as well…. I would like to take a 3 month long class with you again. Puleeaz Cathy

  48. #70

    Not related to “the rack,” but had to say I checked out your Twit link to your new class. GREAT background music. Have already blipped it. 🙂

  49. #71
    Christine villacarlos

    sure wish i had a RACK just like that! 😉

    oh how, oh how did you manage to take that plunge? i can’t seem to shake off my ‘by manufacturer’ mentality! 🙁

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