I am a firm believer in intentional stash building. I believe in using the products you love instead of hoarding them. And in purging your unwanted/unloved items. I am a memory keeper, not a memory keeping product collector. That said, I used to be a collector. I used to buy things I thought were pretty regardless of how they related to my actual style of scrapbooking. I bought them to fill up a need to surround myself with pretty things and not necessarily to use them. Ever.
I started scrapbooking in 2004/05, and was welcomed into a community of active (and not so active) scrapbookers here in Iceland. In late 2005 I started working part time at a local scrapbooking store where I received most of my salary in products. In 2006 I started working there full time and continued getting supplies for part of my salary. You can see where this is going, right? Between message boards where people competed with each other to collect the most supplies - regardless of actual productivity - and new orders coming in to the store, my stash spiralled out of control. So much so that I didn't feel inspired to do anything with any of my supplies. Buying and collecting started to become an addiction and a way to fill up a void that I couldn't identify.
In 2010 I went to photography school and discovered film photography. I fell in love with the darkroom and had no desire to create anything other than photographs. I had no need for any of my crafting supplies (other than paper trimmers) and in 2011 I decided to sell all of my stash. It was THE BEST DECISION EVER! I was rid of all of the stuff that filled me with regret over spending money that I could have used for a million other things. I was rid of the pressure to create with things that just didn't inspire me anymore. And I was out of the competition of "most amazing stash ever". I felt so free.
A few years later, the itch to create started up again. It was nice. But starting again terrified me, what if my spending spiralled out of control again? I decided to subscribe to Studio Calico's documenter kit on a month-to-month basis in December 2015. Month-to-month so I can cancel if I feel like things are getting out of hand. I use as much as I can from each kit, every month, and will donate unused items every 6 months. I make sure to buy only items that I absolutely love - and I make sure to use them. The moment that growing my stash for the sake of having more to choose from becomes a hobby, I'm out.
When my kits come, I make sure I've moved old things off my board and put the new ones up as I empty my bags. That way, I remember what I have and remember to use it up. Some of the older things go straight into the out basket (if I know I won't use any more of it) and others get grouped with like items. I love the way this system works, it keeps me motivated to use as much as I can before the new kits arrive.
Here are my guidelines for myself to build a manageable stash full of items that I love:
1. DON'T BUY JUST FOR THE SAKE OF BUYING. Yes, $5 grab bags sound wonderful, but let's be honest, $5 used toward items I know I will use is a better investment. I might not get 10 different items (8 of which I would probably never buy on my own anyway), but I get something that I know I can use.
2. USE IT ALL. If it comes in a kit and I don't love it, I need to figure out how I can use it.
3. IF I DON'T USE IT, GIVE IT AWAY. Simple enough, if it's been sitting untouched for over 2 months, it goes in the out basket no matter how cute it is. The out basket is emptied every 6 months. Exceptions are tools, stamps (for now), inks/paint/mist, and cardstock (black, white and craft).
4. DOES IT FIT WITH MY STYLE? I love emojis and cat stickers. But I would never use them. So don't buy them. Simple.
Do you limit your stash? How do you do it? Do you have any rules for yourself? I would love to hear your suggestions.
lover of paper .