After collecting countless samples of pattern clippings from magazines, books and packaging, I've FINALLY created a filing system.
For just one buck at my local thrift store, I snagged a floral mini-accordion file. Each compartment is categorized by pattern type, and each clipping is adhered to a uniform piece of cardstock as a stiffener — because crinkled clippings are the worst. Here are a few examples of le system:
ABSTRACT // organic shapes w/o patterning or figures
ANCIENT // handicraft motives courtesy of aboriginal nations (ikat, batik, weaving, etc.)
COLORBLOCK // fields of color characterized by tonal textures
FLORA // resembling what grows from the earth
GEOMETRIC // precision-crafted graphic shapes and lines
SOULS // animals, people and anything with a conscious (you too, aliens)
You get the idea.