I’ve been scrapbooking for over twenty years. Some times have been more productive than others, but from the moment I bought my first piece of patterned paper, I have had supplies. My scrapbook style has changed through the years and so has the size of my stash. When I first started, I bought everything under the sun. Soccer paper? My daughter might play some day. Snorkeling paper piecing? I thought about going on a cruise once. There was a theme for everything and I wanted it all. If one is good, thirty must be great. Am I right? I was fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to crafting, space wasn’t a problem, so why shouldn’t I have as much as I wanted (and could afford)?
Then I got divorced and moved into an apartment. Suddenly, space was at a premium and I had no choice but to whittle my stash down. Turns out it wasn’t a bad thing. Going through all my supplies forced me to reexamine what I was buying and why I was holding on to it. The design of my scrapbook pages had evolved, so why was I so reluctant to let go of those things I’d had for years and still hadn’t used? It was time to take a good hard look at each and every item in my stash and purge ruthlessly.
And you know what? Instead of feeling stifled, it was actually freeing. I hadn’t realized how much time I spent searching through my oversized stash. How many pieces of old, outdated paper was I flipping through looking for one that I actually liked? Did I really need brads in every color of the rainbow when I only used silver?
But what happens when you don’t have just the right paper or embellishment? You make your own.
I have such fun memories of flying kites as a kid. My mom loved kites and had several including an awesome box kite in bright primary colors. There was something magical about laying down on the grass warmed sunshine and watching those kites against the rich blue sky. So when I stopped by a friend’s house for Easter, what else could I take for the little ones, but kites?
I knew I wanted my background to look like that summer sky I remembered, but I didn’t have any blue 12×12 paper. What I did have was a few acrylic paints and a foam brush. I mixed navy with white until I got the shade I was looking for and added big swipes of blue on my white paper. I like the brushstrokes and the variation in color.
Part of maintaining a small stash is not buying things that you don’t have a plan for using. With my daughter grown and out of the house, I never would have expected to be making a kite layout. But thanks to my Silhouette Cameo and fantastic cut files from places like The Cut Shoppe, I can find the perfect embellishment at the right time- even at two in the morning in my pajamas. And who doesn’t love that?
Not only is the Silhouette great for cutting dies, but it makes titling your layouts a breeze. You can do as much or as little customizing as you’d like. Sequins are small, take up little room, and can be used on just about any happy layout.
I buy far more 6×6 paper packs than the 12×2 ones I always had to have. They’re perfect for layering behind my photos and I find I have less scraps laying around. Scraps have always been a challenge for me- How do you store them? Organize them? How small do they have to be before you feel okay about throwing them away? 6×6 paper packs to the rescue.
Having a small stash doesn’t mean depriving yourself of the latest and greatest products. I recently discovered Feed Your Craft on Etsy and bought several sets of their awesome mini flairs. I love that they have so many sayings and icons that can be used on a variety of layouts. This guarantees they are put to use quickly, making room for more goodies!
It’s been several years since those days in my tiny apartment. I’m back to having my own craft room with a large closet. But even though I have the space, I still try to keep my stash small. Don’t get me wrong. I still buy on impulse occasionally. For the most part, though, I think long and hard before adding that paper or ephemera to my cart.
Now, I’m not here to tell you what size is the right stash for you. I think it’s a personal decision and what works for one person doesn’t work for another. Some crafters I know, keep a large stash, but limit themselves to homemade kits to keep their choices easy. Others enjoy going through their stash until they find what they are looking for. How about you? What have you found to be the pros and cons of your size stash?