Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Organization tip #1: Purge your stash

I've been scrapbooking in the "modern" way for 11 years.  I had a scrapbook when I was 10, but since my supplies consisted of crayons, newspaper clippings, and tape, I didn't accumulate many supplies at that point in my scrapping life.  I've found a lot of stuff over the years on sale, at craft shows, and local shops.  I also live in a rural area, so when I go shopping, I tend to overdo it a bit - who knows when I'll next see interesting things?

After 11 years of this, however, I simply have too much stuff.  I can't cram any more stuff into the space I have.

So, step 1 is to purge your stash.  This is but a sampling of what I purged.

I got rid of things that...
  • Didn't fit my style anymore.  Things I bought even 3 or 4 years ago aren't necessarily true to how I craft today.
  • Were duplicates.  I've actually bought things more than once because I forgot I had them.
  • Didn't inspire me anymore.  I had plenty of stuff that I could use, but if it didn't give me a thrill, I weeded it out.
  • I had too much of.  I have loads of patterned paper, particularly from "stacks" of paper.  They're a great bargain, right?  Well, they're not such a great bargain if you don't use them.  I sorted through these stacks and got rid of paper that I didn't love.
  • I haven't used.  I've changed tools over the years (from a fiskar's shapecutter to a big shot die cut machine), so I eliminated the tools that weren't doing the best job for me anymore.
As I did this, I kept reminding myself that the things I got rid of would make it easier to find the supplies I love.  I did this quickly - no point in prolonging this longer than necessary.  And, in some cases, I purged things so that I would fit into a certain space.  I have one drawer, for example, that I wanted to devote to patterned paper.  I needed to purge enough other paper to fit what remained in one drawer.

Here are a couple of ideas for how to recycle these items:
  • Donate them.  There are plenty of groups that would love these supplies, like a school, shelter, or kids organization.
  • Sell them.  My local scrapbook store has a rummage sale, or you could have your own.  I'm going to sell most of these items at my local scrapbook store - it brings in good business for them, and helps me with a little extra cash.  To make things easier, group some items together for pricing - nobody wants to price individual sticker sheets.
  • Give them to your kids.  Your leftovers are their treasure!  Unfortunately, I don't have any kids, but my friends swear by this option.  Of course, the supplies don't leave your house, but they are out of your hair!
  • Trade them with your friends.  There are several "pay-it-forward" groups on the internet, or your local friends might be up for a swap.  If some of my items don't sell at the scrapbook store, I will trade some of the items so I can get other things that I'm looking for.

I'm probably not done purging yet, but I've reached my limit for the moment.  I'll show you more pictures this week of how I've been organizing my supplies.  What's your favorite tip for sorting through your items?  How do you recycle items you no longer need?  I'd love to hear your ideas!


  1. deb, way to go, it takes courage to purge!
    i just did a little craft room cleaning myself...and now i think i need to go thru all those same bins and drawers again, slim it down a little more.
    i bagged up all my goodies and dropped them off at my son's high school art department. boy did that feel good. plus it's so easy and they love every bit they can get their hands on.

    i can't wait to see your organized area!

  2. Great post! I have purged my stash twice in the last few years. I sold the rubber stamps on eBay. I took the cardstock and patterned paper to my sorority (we had lots of crafty members) and let my friends there take whatever they wanted. All of the stickers, remaining paper, and other miscellaneous supplies went to an after school scrapbooking program.

    I felt great when I was done and it was easier to work because I actually knew what I had.



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