Sometimes letting go actually means having control.~Jim Medlock
I purge my supplies often. Why? Because as time goes by what once inspired me no longer does. Having a room filled with supplies that are uninspiring does NOT nice things to my creative soul. (Yes, I know that's horrible grammar, but I am making a point.) By keeping supplies that do not inspire me, simply because I spent money of them, means the supplies (a.k.a GUILT) are in control not me.
It also prevents me from accepting new supplies into my creative life. At least is does in my world. My husband has restricted my space to one room. Makes me wonder why I keep him. LOL! I am very lucky as I have a large space to work with, but it is not unlimited. :)
Every year or so I eliminate those supplies that need a new home. It is usually consumables that get the boot. This year I released a large number of supplies. I came to the realization that how I was crafting had changed so drastically that I needed to serious refresh my stock. My paper stash was loaded with vintage items, which I love, but don’t really work when you are scrapbooking for a tween boy.
After many, many, many such purges I have learned a few tips I wanted to share.
Create a Plan
I know it might be tempting to just jump in and get started. But, depending on the size of your project this could be a recipe for failure. You know what they say, without map it is hard to get to your final destination. I try to decide three things before getting started.
- What areas am I going to work on? Is it paper? Stamps? Embellishments? I tend not to go through everything during a single purge as the task would become overwhelming.
- Why am I purging my supplies? Has my style changed? Do I need to make room for new supplies? Do I have too many supplies to fit in my space?
- What is my time frame? How much time can I commit to the project? What is my deadline? Yes, I only allow a certain amount of time to complete a supply purge. Why? Because it can become both overwhelming and a time waster. (You know who you are…..the ones that consistently organize and re-organized rather than creating. Don’t feel too bad, you are not alone.)
Work in Steps
I HIGHLY recommend that you break the process down into smaller steps. Say, one drawer or one container at a time. I know it would be great to get the whole project done in one day or a weekend. But unless you have to do it that way, I don’t recommend it.
Sorting through your supplies can be a daunting task. After a few hours I am usually fatigued by the process of deciding what should stay and what should go. The longer I go the larger my ‘I don’t know’ pile becomes. Or worse yet, everything goes in the ‘goodbye’ pile as I become frustrated with the amount a supplies I have. (It is not a pretty sight if I try to stay with it for more than an afternoon…..people and small animals could get hurt.)
This is also a pretty good argument for purging on a regular basis. That way the project is not so large and overwhelming. (And the squirrels are safe.)
Now that you have a good plan in place, it is now time to begin sorting. This can be done in boxes or like me…..on the floor. Our guest bed is also a great please, I just need to finish before parents come to visit. :)
If you have a large volume of supplies that have no home (the ones sitting on your workspace or on the floor) you might want to box them up and move them to another room, so you can sort through them as times allows. Chances are good that you will keep most of these items as they are probably new purchases. But until you purge some of your older supplies, you may have no room for them. Plus getting them out is like Christmas morning. (Don’t you love that feeling when you find a bag of forgotten supplies?)
Basic sorting categories might include:
- Definitely Keeping: These are the easy ones. You know the moment you look at it that you are not willing to part with these items.
- Not Quite Sure: Inevitably there will be items you are not sure about. I recommend you put those in a box for future review. More on that in a moment.
- Time for a New Home: If sometime does not inspire you, it is time let it go.
- Trash: Some items are really not good enough to be donated. Those small scraps of paper or that sticker sheet with only one letter left…..that’s want I am talking.
Give Yourself Time to Make the Final Decision
It is understandable to be hesitant in letting go of some of your supplies. Someone spent hard earned money on those supplies. Maybe it that was you or maybe you received them as a gift. The truth is…..it is not the supplies you having a hard time letting go of, it is the feeling of guilt from having wasted money.
It is never my intention to waste money and keeping those uninspiring supplies does not mean I will eventually use them. Remember, just because something can still be used does not mean YOU will use it.
Still, it can be hard to let go…especially for those ‘I’m Not Sure’ items. So give yourself some time. Box them up and store them for a few months. If after six months you have not retrieved them or they still do you not inspire you, it is time to say good bye. It has been my experience that I usually rescue only a handful of items from this box before I donate it.
Sending Them to a Better Home
This is my favorite part. It is always a huge weight off my shoulders to send these unwanted items to their new home.
Since I often give them to friends, it is a joy to give them away. It also means I have room for a few new purchases. :) But the best part is being surrounded by only those items that truly inspire me.
While I routinely go through my consumables, I rarely purge my tools. (Although after the Ink Essentials workshop I did remove a number of dried out ink pads that I could not re-ink. Who knew they would go dry after 5-10 years…...they just don’t make things like they used to.)
Over the years I have given away mountains of paper, stickers and die-cuts. I have also said goodbye to punches, stencils, dies and idea books. I can honestly say that there are only a handful of items I wish I would have kept. The stencils are tops on my list. I had some really cool chalk stencils. I also wish I would have kept my original Sizzix letter dies.
Some things I never part with. Stamps, paint, embossing powder, fabric and buttons are in this category. (And don’t even think about touching my ribbon stash!)
At the end of the day, I am happy with the choices I have made regarding my supplies. Being able to let go of ‘things’ ultimately makes me feel more in control of my studio and my creative journey.
Do you have tips to share? I would love to hear them. :)