Creating a stash that inspires you Theresa for The Awesome Ladies project

Instead of getting rid of things because you don’t love them, what about only keeping the things that inspire you to creativity?

Because I move internationally every few years for my job, and spend huge amounts of time living out of suitcases while waiting for all of my worldly goods to arrive by air and by sea, I’ve worked really hard to narrow down my crafting supplies to only the things that I love. Every time I move, I go through the same process. What do I need? What do I love? And why did I spend so much money on this stuff that I NEVER use?

Today, I’m sharing my process with you, in hopes that you too will find clearing the junk out of your craft space liberating!

  1. What are your crafting goals for the year?
  2. What supplies do you need to accomplish that?
  3. What bits and pieces of everything else inspire you to be crafty?
  4. What do you do with the rest?

Determine your crafting goals

Before you even sit down to clear out your craft space, stop and think about the reasons you craft. Stress relief? Memory keeping? Correspondence? Why do you love paper? And what do you plan on doing with it in the coming year? Do you have any long term projects that you need to set aside time for? Think about the projects you care about and the projects that you are really going to accomplish this year. Forget about your dreams and aspirations. What can you actually achieve?

Write it down.

In my case, I know that this year I’ll be:

  • making 52 cards to meet my correspondence goals
  • keeping up with Project Life
  • helping my kids with school parties, homework, and their own crafting

Figure out what supplies you need to accomplish your goals

If you made an awesome box for your Awesome Ladies Project this year, then you’ve already been through the process of winnowing your supplies for a specific project. Now it’s time to do the same for the goals you wrote down earlier. Do you really need 50+ sentiment stamps? Eight different kinds of adhesive? Hundreds of inks? Dozens of washi? Enough page protectors to sink a battleship? Maybe the answer is yes! But maybe the answer is actually … no.

Instead of pulling from your enormous craft pile (or surfing the web looking for inspiration), what if you could just pull supplies you love from a kit every time you sit down to craft?

I decided to put together an “ it” of everything I’d need for my two big projects this year. I focused on coordinating colors (I use a lot of neutrals, with orange and grey and teal as accents, so I focused on those colors!). Finally, I pulled out all of my sentiment stamps and ruthlessly winnowed them down to my favorites AND the ones I’d use. Do I really need five happy birthday stamps? Of course! But do I need them this year? Absolutely not.

Basics

  • scissors (big and little? or just big?)
  • adhesive (tape runner and foam? double sided tape? can you repurpose one for another?)
  • craft mat (a small one!)

52 cards

  • white card stock
  • envelopes
  • sentiment stamps (just a few! holidays + thank you + an alphabet)
  • black ink
  • colored ink (I’ll admit to “cheating” here. I have a complete set of Stamping’ Up minis that I got as a gift several years ago.)

Project Life

  • 12×12 D-ring binder
  • page protectors (and a few extras)
  • white card stock
  • a couple of stamps (again, just a few!)
  • photo printer and photo paper

Now that you’ve got a big pile—cut it in half! Your goal in this step is to pull only the supplies you need. You’ll have a chance to pull the stuff you want in the next step.

Pile on the inspiration!

Now that you’ve got only the items you need, it’s time to go wild. And by wild, I mean, set yourself a fixed amount of embellishments, paper, and other goodies that you can pull from your stash. Tell yourself that you can fill one 12×12 drawer, or one shelf, or one basket. Whatever you’re using to store your stuff from the previous step, give yourself permission to fill any extra space with stash that you love and that inspires you.

In my case, everything had to fit into two sets of drawers, one big container of smaller 6×4 containers, and a basket. After the previous step, I had room for lots of embellishments and a little bit of paper. So. That’s what I pulled. I grabbed my favorite papers, my favorite 6×6 pads, a few inks that I love but don’t use as often as I’d like, and my dry embossing stuff. Because I love it. LOVE IT. Seriously. I love creating texture on my cards, and I was seriously sad when it didn’t make the list of stuff I need. So I added it back.

I also took advantage of this step to think about what my kids might need in terms of crafts for their school projects, birthday parties, and other kid activities. In addition, I added colored card stock, alphabet stickers, and some paper that I’ll never use for my own projects, but that they love.  I also know that my cutting machine makes it a lot easier to DIY birthday invitations and other cards.  So I kept that too.

Congratulations! You’ve now got a small and curated set of supplies to get you through the next year.

Get rid of the rest

Or not. Look, I’m not telling you to go and donate all of your craft stuff right now. That’s actually a terrible idea! Start working with your new, limited, and inspiring stash. Note what you use and don’t use. Pay attention to when you actually have to dig something out of your old stash. And adjust as you go. If after six months or a year you don’t miss the old stuff—that’s when it’s time to let it go. Donate it to a local school.

And enjoy how much easier it is to craft with supplies carefully curated to help you reach your goals!

1 Comment
  1. Profile photo of rukristin
    rukristin 5 months ago

    This is fabulous advice Theresa. I’m definitely in need of an art supply purge. I haven’t touched my mixed media corner in like a year, and I’m just so intimidated by it at first.

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