Scrapbooking Supplies | Why Less is More

Recently, I’ve seen the same call for help on several scrapbooking message boards:

Should I purge my supplies?

If you’ve had products sitting around for years — that you’ve never found a way to use — you’re probably never going to use them. There are always exceptions, but if you forced yourself to use that hideous pattern paper along with that cutesy die-cut, would you really be happy with the end product?

Most of us will never scrapbook enough pages to use up the supplies we currently have. And let’s be honest…when we have more stuff, simple decisions are harder to make.  If you have 54 different shades of green cardstock, it takes time to find the one that’s going to look the best. But if you have 10 shades of green cardstock, you make a simple decision and move on.

You know you need to purge your supplies. So, now what?

Supply purging tips

  • My best advice is to just start. Pick a drawer or a shelf and just start looking through what you have. Everyone’s space is set up differently. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Go through all your cardstock and then move on to pattern paper and then move on to embellishments. Or start in one corner and work your way around the room.
  • Create two piles — the “maybe” pile and the “donation” pile. Use large plastic storage bins if you need to. Go with your gut instinct. Is this victorian floral pattern paper still your style? If you still love it, leave it where it is. If you like it but aren’t sure you’d use it, add it to the “maybe” pile. If you know you’ll never use it, put it in the “donation” pile.
  • These decisions are about honesty, not about guilt. At one time it was really cool paper, but if your style has changed and it’s no longer what you like, that’s OK. Only keep the products that are relevant to how you scrapbook today.
  • When it comes to embellishments, certain items will always be useful. Examine some of the features and decide if you still like them. Several years ago it was very trendy use big flowers on layouts. If you still have thirty large flowers, will you actually use thirty or could you get by with five? Also assess color. If you went through an orange phase and have too much orange ribbon, now is the time to trim down the collection.
  • When you are done sorting, go back to your “maybe” pile. Look at each item and try to come up with two or three ways to use the product. If no ideas are coming, put it in the donation pile and get it out of your space. You could also box up the “maybe” items and put them in a closet or garage. If you go searching for them in a few months, you know where they are. If you never go searching, you know you can donate the entire lot.

The benefits of purging

Purging is a very subjective exercise. One scrapbooker’s trash is another scrapbooker’s treasure. It’s hard to say what to keep and what to donate. If you’ve been scrapbooking for awhile, I bet you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to decide on some things. If you can’t part with something today, try the exercise again in six months.

I try to purge my stash once or twice a year. Purging does have several side benefits:

  1. Purging can help you assess personal tastes. Has your style evolved? Knowing what you like will help you make better purchasing decisions. You may love that fun camping pattern paper but that does not mean you have to buy it.
  2. Going through your stash reminds you of what you have on hand. If you haven’t looked through your stash of flowers in a long time, you could accidentally buy another set when they go on sale. Avoid duplicate purchases when you know exactly what you have.
  3. Purging creates room for new stuff – especially early spring and early fall when the CHA releases hit stores. If your space is full of old products, it’ll be hard to add new stuff.
  4. When you donate a pile of supplies to a grade school art teacher or a day care center or the pediatric wing of a hospital, it makes you feel really good.

And one last tip. If you like to create from kits, make a few from your own stash as you purge. When you come across some paper line that you absolutely loved (and still do), create a kit around it and keep it on or around your workspace. You’ll use the products much faster.

I believe that products we’ll never use take up too much energy. They take up precious storage space, make us feel guilty because we are not using them and they make other selections more complicated.

Make it easier on yourself and purge…because less is better.

18 Comments

  1. Great post. I have to do periodic purging or I get overwhelmed by all the choices and it slows down my scrapping.

    Reply
    • Absolutely. And how convenient that I tend to purge right around CHA… LOL. Wonder what that is all about? I have finally gotten to a point where I’m full up. It’s either use it up so I can buy new stuff or purge and make room for new stuff. One or the other. 🙂

      Reply
    • Thanks! I’m all in favor of having lots of stuff! I certainly do…… But it’s the stuff you’ll never use that cause the problems.

      Reply
  2. Great advice! I’m currently sorting through some of my supplies and have a pile that I plan to donate/give away. I’m having a crop here this week, so will see if anyone canuse these supplies before I donat them.

    Reply
    • Oh, yes! I did that too when I had friends in Orlando that scrapbooked. It’s good to donate to other scrappers who need it too. You never know when someone has been searching for one more sheet of that certain pattern paper. You might just make their year! 🙂

      Reply
  3. I have thought of a purging pile but that’s as far as I have gotten. Since I am trying to get my room back in to working order it is going to be done. Thanks for the advice 🙂

    Reply
    • You are very welcome. But you have to do more than thinking…..take action, my friend! 😀

      Reply
  4. A few times now I’ve sifted though my stash and given supplies away. I like to give them to the Kidney Foundation!

    Reply
    • That’s a great idea. There are so many worthwhile causes out there that will truly appreciate the donation. How can you not feel good about it??? 🙂

      Reply
  5. great post with great tips

    Reply
    • 🙂

      Reply
  6. Great post today Tammy! I love the line, “I believe that products we’ll never use take up too much energy.” What a GREAT way to look at it!!!

    Reply
    • Thank you! It’s true for me anyway…when you have to split your focus to think about stuff you’ll never use, it just takes too much time. But I understand how hard it is to get rid of stuff. I have a much easier time now, after 11 years. But 5 years ago? Don’t ask me to part with my stuff! It’s something you get better at over time. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Great ideas – yes I purge from time to time as my style changes often. I have things I buy and then a year later I think “why did I buy THAT!” Love your website! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Reply
  8. Perfect post for me…since I just bought more crafty treasures 🙂
    I notice that with Archiver’s being a hit or miss. Last time I was there is was a hit, this time more of a miss.

    Reply
  9. You often have such great ideas. Love looking at your blog. Thanks. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you! And thanks for stopping by today. 🙂

      Reply

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