September 16, 2014

Tray Tuesday: Shopping your stash....and can it help determine your style?

Note: I just rambled off thoughts while writing this post.  I hope you make it all the way through and let me know what you think.  

It's Tray Tuesday and I have a post today that will hopefully generate some thought and discussion. I'll be participating in May Flaum's Supplies On Hand class where you'll learn more about making the most of your crafty stash. Click on the link and you'll be able to read all about and sign up for class.  It's 10 full days of 35 new, never seen before projects.  

While preparing for the class I got into a really thought provoking conversation with myself. So instead of feeling like a whacko, I thought I'd share my thoughts here on the blog and see what you have to say.  Shopping my crafty stash is really one of the most fun things I like about crafting.  I have an entire craft room that is full of wonderful crafty items that I've purchased or have gotten from being on Design Teams.  Plus I have the items that I keep on hand to sell in my online shop

It seems that when I get new crafty items, I tend to let them "season" a bit.  I don't know why but I like to look at the items, admire them, arrange them on cute trays or set them out to view for a while.....but I never seem to tear into that brand new item.  Maybe it's the hoarder in me, maybe I fear that the item will become extinct.  Maybe it's like a new pair of tennis shoes and that I just want to keep the items looking new.  Whatever the case, when I DO go back to those supplies after a while, I get really excited.  

Fast forward to preparing for May's Supplies on Hand class. I was assigned my techniques to cover then I went to work shopping my stash.  First, I thought it would be fun to make a shopping list of the supplies I wanted to gather.  

My list looked something like this:
ledger paper
washi tape
seam binding
manila tags
patterned paper
flowers/nature stuff
paper clips
office supply items

Then when I shopped my stash, it looked something like this:
Then I got to thinking.....hey, these supplies look just like my style.  Like the colors and patterns on these patterned papers.  Some of that October Afternoon is "vintage" era and it's still my favorite.
Office supplies, yep these always make it onto my projects.  Love to use manila tags of all sorts, paper clips, ledger paper, book paper.
Then these goodies came out...vintage buttons, small clothespins, and washi tape.
Glitter of all colors came out too...
Ribbons, especially seam binding...I have this stuff for years.
Then the art supplies....paints and brushes.
When I took a look at my shopping tray (instead of shopping cart), I really saw "my style" just sitting right there in front of me.  The colors, the patterns, the types of products....they all make up my style.  Who knows really what that style is because I just tend to make what I like.  A Mish Mash, I guess is truly my style.  But I do love the florals, certain colors, white or neutral backgrounds, light ribbons, paints, office supplies......these items tend to pop up on my projects all the time.

So then that got me to thinking.....can shopping your stash help determine your style?  Can it help reinforce your style or get you back on track to what you do best? I think so, friends.  Here's my thoughts. So many times we are purchasing the "next best thing". We get caught up in what is brand new, what Suzie Q is using or what is trendy.  Although this is fun and exciting and I certainly do it too, does it help us stay true to what our style is or what we do best with our crafty supplies. Although I like to change things up at times with crafty projects, it seems like I have found my little niche.  I have found the products that I love to use the most.  I have a color palette that I tend to stick to.  I have my go to supplies that are always being pulled out.  I tend to make kit items work for me and that look like "Mish did this."

By shopping my stash, it was a great creative exercise that really opened my eyes as to what products I love, what products I use the most.....what my style is like even though I'll stray once in a while.  I think shopping your stash and using your supplies on hand could help you too.  Are you looking to define your style?  Maybe clean out some of the bulk in your crafty stash? Do you sometimes feel like you try to be just like "so and so" and it gets frustrating because it doesn't work out?

Here's a few tips I have to offer that I jotted down one night in bed just after shopping my stash for May's class.  I hope they're helpful and that maybe this shopping your stash exercise can get the creative wheels to spinning.

1.  Make a list of "things I like".  List the crafty supplies that you always reach for, that you love and always use.

2.  Go shopping in your craft room.  Literally shop your stash.  I love to keep a stack of empty trays, muffin tins and wood boxes handy just for this occasion.  By keeping a little shopping "basket" handy, you'll always have something to pile up products on and arrange them for little projects you're working on.  Grouping items together in one spot is good.

3.  Look at the stash of items you shopped.  Take a photo and study it like I did in my first photo.  Compare these items to your shopping list you made.  Do you see a pattern of what you use most often?  Do you see similar colors and patterns popping out at you? Are there repeat items that always end up on your projects.  Do you see your "style" shining through?  It's kind of amazing and gratifying to see your style develop right there on a vintage tray.

4.  Look through your older projects like a stash of cards or scroll through your blog projects.  Do those projects have some of the similar items you shopped for on them?  If so, that's your style shining through.  Don't worry about those who say, "Your stuff always looks the same".  It looks that way because it's your style. You do similar things when you've finally figured it out.

5.  Look at the items you didn't reach for in your crafty space.  What do you never reach for? Are those items just not your style? Or are they just items you want to keep around just in case?  Evaluate those items.

6.  Reduce your stash to items you really love and those other items you might use. If it's a definite NO, get rid of it, friends.  That stuff is weighing you down.  It makes you feel guilty.  Is it 10 years old and you love it?  Then keep it. Is it 6 months old and you'll never use it?  Get rid of it.  I had a talk with myself to GET REAL. It was time to get rid of some stuff.  When I did, I loved it.  It felt GREAT.  I started to do this in the rest of my about feeling free and light and totally awesome.  I might  share more on the household topic later.

7.  Stop shopping for items you don't love or won't use.  Think before you buy.  Just because it's trendy or Suzy Star is using it, doesn't mean you have to.  I used to shop for tons of patterned paper and supplies, not knowing what I would use them for.  Now when I shop, I feel totally satisfied if I find a few sheets of patterned paper or a new marker.  I know I'll use it and less is more when you totally love something.

8.  Sort and purge often.  You'll feel better.  Once you get over the guilt of spending that money on something, you'll be okay.  Sell it, give it away, whatever you have to do.  A good cleaning out is good for the heart and soul.  Getting rid of that visual clutter is so freeing.  It's okay.  Keep a basket or box handy that you can toss stuff into.

9.  Keep doing what you love.  If you feel you don't have a style, that's okay. Just make what you like.  Don't worry what others are doing.  It's not a competition.  Think to yourself, "Would I make this and like it if it was just for me?" So many times, we wonder what the social media world will think.  Who cares, just make stuff.  Create for the sake of creating.

10. I don't know.  I just feel like this list needs a #10.  I hope you find some thought provoking information today.  I hope you leave a comment and read through the others.  Otherwise, I'm going to have to go back to being a whacko and just talk to myself.  ;)  Enjoy your creativity, friends.  We have a wonderful thing going here.


Jacqui Chimes said...

Brilliant article - I have been destashing lately and it's made me focus on the things I like to use best - a good thing - don't think I will ever be able to stop hoarding patterned paper though :-)

blupixy said...

Comment 5. and 6. really resonated with me right now. Thanks for this post. I am getting ready to do Simple Scrapper's Stash Bash and this is what I needed today!

Joyce said...

Thanks for such a thought provoking post. I am sure I will keep coming back to this post to remind myself to shop my stash.

SLMPetersen said...

This is such a great read! Thanks for sharing. I've been doing similar things, by challenging myself to use what I have and work with my stash of goods.

Sharon said...

From one whacko to another, thank you, thank you, thank you. Brilliant post, I am so going to do this. I just NEED to find a gorgeous vintage tray. xx

Unknown said...

I'm prepping for a scrapbook garage sale right now. This validated how I've been feeling....there are items I find so cute but know I won't use, they just don't fit with my style. Out they go! I'm also really getting to know myself and trust myself with my creativity, shopping my stash now that I've pared it down is so much easier now. Thanks for your great insight!

Lynda said...

This is a very timely post for me right now, Mish...I will be moving my craft space into another room in my house soon, and I definitely want to pare down all of the stuff I have been hanging on to before I move it! Thank you for the push!!

Jen Cuthbertson said...

I LOVE this post, thank you so much for sharing! I have been guilty (like a lot of us) in getting caught up with the newest stuff and that isn't really what I gravitate toward. I'm in the middle of a big craft room straightening and as soon as everything is in its place, I'm going to start going shopping in my stash and start getting rid of the stuff that isn't me... no guilt! :)

Debbie Fisher (debbiedee) said...

Great thoughts Michelle! I have been shopping my stash lately from inspiration from you back when you first posted your Inspiration Station. I love the idea and it helps me use the things that I really do love.

Scrapthat said...

I love your inspiration tray!!
Can I come shop your stash?!
I have been thinking a similar thought myself as of late about "shopping my stash" in a formal way for each made it sound so much fun I think I'm going to give it a go! :D tfs

LauraEva said...

wow----I love this! Very thought provoking---and I am going to go through my craft room with open eyes! Thanks!

Natalie Winterstein said...

Mish you are so spot on. I have been thinking about this a lot lately! :) Thanks for the awesome post and continual amazing inspration.

crschaf said...

I seem to always be able to pick out your "Mish Mash" style. This is a wonderful article-thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have to add that my favorite of your posts happens to be your 2012 Christmas blog posts and of course your December Daily from all years but especially 2012. I still get excited looking at it. Love all the pages with the sequins and "snow"- I even ordered your sequin and snow bundles that year. I'm sure this year your Holiday posts will be just as exciting! Would love to sit at your table with hot chocolate from your all too fun drinking tray stations and work on the December Daily with you... Keep on keeping on-your style is brilliant!

Susan said...

I can always identify your style and I love it. I am still trying to pull my style together and your post is very helpful about ways to go about that. Thanks!

Denise E said...

Love this post! Thanks for being so honest and transparent. It's an inspiration to hear (read) you saying things that I've been thinking! I've been cleaning out my parents' home after they retired and moved out of state. It's a real eye opener to see the "stuff" they held on to and ask myself "why?", then coming home to my "stuff" and then proceed to ask myself "why?!". So, I've been in the decluttering/destashing mood and I'm happy to read your tips and thoughts about the crafty side of things. My craft stuff needs a major purge and this is a great motivator! Thanks for always sharing your life and thoughts with us. It is very helpful and inspiring! <3

Denise E said...

And, I love your style. Mine is very different from yours, but I love to see what you do. I can always pick your work out of a crowd, and that's a great thing! Keep up the amazing work. I'm glad you stick with your own style and never apologize for it. Like someone said above, I wish I could sit down at your table (with some of your amazing drinks/food) and watch how you work! I'm in awe of your Mish-Mash! ;)

Mrs. vRD said...

I've been trying to purge my stash, but not having much luck. Thanks for giving me some direction. Going through with the idea of what's my favorite, use-every-day stuff will be really helpful.

Holet said...

Thank you for your advice , I have liked

~ Jo ~ said...

Mish... It's been awhile since i've visited (due to my health) and the first post I read, i'm captivated once again by the many ways you inspire! This is by far a phenomenal read! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us (instead of just with yourself hehe) and giving us the tools and shove we all need to declutter and use what we have!

anya said...

So helpful! I have had so many other things going on in life right now that my crafting time has been sorely neglected. I have a hard time getting back into it and have a lot of guilt around what I 'should' be doing. Your advice and suggestions are so timely and helpful. I love the 'create for the sake of creating' and not worrying if your style shines through and everything looks the same. These are good words for me to hear right now! I think that doing a little stash shopping and working with things I love might just be the ticket to help me push through.

JeanFB said...

Mish you are so SO right! And I soooo need to do this. I've been thinking about it for about a year now, ever since I moved my craft room into a smaller space. I accumulated a lot of "stuff" when I was writing for a craft magazine, always needing the latest and greatest. Well, now I have a bunch of leftovers (after using only a tiny bit of each new item) and seriously don't use it. Time to purge, and you've given me the inspiration to take the leap. Thanks for a great article!

Gypsy 2 said...

Well said Mish!!!!We have recently moved house and when I look at what I have its hard to find a place to start organizing.I have already got a box with things in it to go to new homes and fear there will be many more boxes to go the same way.As a hoarder this won't be easy and do hope I can continue to be sensible about this whole process.You a wacko....never...some of my best conversations are with myself.

Yvonne said...

Great article! It inspired me so much that I enrolled in the class. I am a great fan of yours! It is so true about being freed when you de-stash. Sometimes you find great things that you forgot you had.(I plead guilty). Thanks again for great ideas!

Unknown said...

Just love this post! I have so much and I never use it! I am so blessed, I am going to "shop" my craft room at least once a month! :) Thank you for this post....

Shan said...

I love this, not just crafting related but house related. I've been holding on to stuff way too that I didn't love. So I am purging household stuff along with crafting stuff. Now I'm going to go shop my stuff to see what it says about my style because I feel like I don't really have a style. It will be an interesting experience. love this post and your thoughts! :)

Deb said...

Oh, how I love this post! I've been struggling with the whole concept of "style" after trying some styles that are clearly not me. But, Suzy Star is doing it and it seems so cool - ha! I've finally decided that my style - muted colors, vintage vibe and more simple designs are what I love and what I can do without feeling anxious and frustrated.

I'm needing to clear out my art room to have new floors installed, so a major purge is underway. I am letting go of some of the "everyone is doing /using this so I should to"purchases and use what I like, what I have and what feels comfortable.

Thank you for articulating what's been rumbling around in my brain!

Unknown said...

I have read this post three or four times already, spent lots of time pondering and I am finally ready to comment. This could be one of my favorite posts you've ever written and I've been reading and following you for a long time (sorry to sound like a stalker). It is so easy to get wound up in the cycle of having to have the latest and "greatest" because someone else has it and is using it. This is such a great reminder that we need to be true to ourselves and not let someone else define our identity, as crafters or as anything else. The much-needed purge continues in my craft stash and my home. I am grateful for your thoughtful words!!

Ruth S, said...

Thanks lots for this - the perfect boost of encouragement needed for me ;) I have been feeling lacking in crafty mojo and inspiration lately. I had come to the conclusion that it's just because I've got too much stash... Who thought it was possible? I feel bad for not using it enough... for not getting the most from it.. and the guilt around such 'waste' was really bearing down on my creativity. I only have a very limited craft space and have always tried to buy as many "non-consumables" as possible - supplies which I can use over and over, esp stamps... though paper is a weakness too (haha!). But my creative space (and so my resolve) has been feeling the strain of it all. I think some ruthless purging and reassessment of my true 'go-to' style is in order. Thanks so much for the inspiration - you are a gem! Rx

Alicia said...

Great points! I'm going to do this exercise this week!

Judy Wright said...

Thanks for sharing! Wow I didn't realize why things got out of hand! I was trying to keep up with the NEW instead of what I really like that's right there under my nose! I will keep this post for future use! Thanks again!

Dawn F. said...

I am so happy to hear you are one of May's guest contributors. I found so much in this post that caused me to think about my purchases-past and future. Great post.

The Compact Crafter said...

Wonderful! Mish Mash! I Love it!! I have been crafting from my stash for years!

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