I sorted fabric by weight and function. Two big piles of dress and blouse weight things, another pile of heavier weight things, a pile of fabrics just for winter, another of linen, a good sized stack of twills and bottomweights and a tiny pile of knits. There's also a pile just for very special stuff like Liberty, double gauze and a piece of real Irish tweed my grandmother brought back from a trip many many years ago.
The patterns are sorted by category - tnt, dresses, tops, bottoms, kids, boys & crafts and coats. I know people have all kinds of binder and file systems for patterns and some really hate stuffing them back into the packets. I like the basket system because when I want to make a dress, for instance, I can grab the dress basket and my fabric and go sit somewhere comfy with a coffee or a glass of wine or something and rifle through. Meanwhile, they look pretty on my shelf. I searched high and low to find baskets the right size to hold patterns. These are good because they also accomodate the larger patterns from Vogue and some indipendant designers. The labels make it easy to identify category.
I use the large bullieton board to safely hold the pattern pieces I'm currently working with as well as swatches, reminders and ideas.
Underneath, two boxes hold scraps - one quilting cotton and one apparal scraps. The three stackable tubs to the left are for remnants, again separated by weight and use. There is room to grow, but though I hate throwing out remnants just the size for little girl or doll clothes, I am promising here and now not to hoard silly quantities of stuff. I plan to purge each time these get too full.
The drawer unit holds knitting needles, embroidery supplies and one or two needlework projects in progress. In the interest of full disclosure, my yarn stash lives elsewhere but is not as big as some people's.
Another bookcase in the opposite corner holds the other patterns and fabric. The clear plastic boxes aren't all that pretty, but they fit nicely on the shelves and are the perfect size for interfacings, linings and my modest wool felt stash. The deep wicker boxes hold utility fabrics. Tracing paper, large format printable patterns and rulers are nicely contained in an ornamental wastebasket.
Jars on the tops of bookcases hold buttons, thread, ribbons, bits of bias tape and maybe some especially pretty scraps. There are some old boxes of tools that belong to my grandmother's sewing machine and the wolf who appeared in last year's cape photo shoot and a lovely photograph of a vinateg machine I bought at a craft fair years ago.
I find that making it pretty as well as functional encourages me to keep it tidy. When I start planning a project, I come in here to peruse fabrics and patterns as if it's a store and that is a happy feeling! How do you like to organize your things?