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:
office supply items
Then when I shopped my stash, it looked something like this:
manila tags of all sorts, paper clips, ledger paper, book paper.
small clothespins, and washi tape.
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 house....talk 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.