A little over a year ago I moved from my 10 by 11 foot scrap corner of the basement, which I was completely happy with, into a large 18 by 12 foot room that had been Scott’s photo studio. The move was necessary because he needed a longer space that included my scrap corner, and this room would be unused. I was ecstatic to have such a large space to spread out into. When I moved in, I bought some new Recollections cubes from Michael’s and set up in such a way that all my supplies were really spread out across my room. I love having things spread across lots of partially filled shelves and drawers, rather than having things crammed into small spaces. It means I can flip through the supplies I have and see everything so easily. I don’t generally keep a large stash (although a non-scrapbooker would probably disagree with me on that!), but I did do what I called a major purge, where I pulled out everything that I knew I would’t use (paper, lots of stamps, tools, inks, etc.) and put it a box aside for a new crafter in my neighbourhood (I also gave some to my sister).
I just did a major clean up of my scrap room where I moved some of the furniture around, brought my kids’ craft supplies into the room, and created a space just for them to craft. Their supplies are also spread out across many cube drawers with not much in them, but it makes it organized and easy to put things away. Obviously, an updated scrap room tour was in order! But as I filmed it and as I edited it, I began to question myself- why do I have so much stuff?? I seriously have a crapload of stuff in this room, considering that 90% or more of my layouts come from the kits I receive each month.
Now to be fair, most of what I have in here is opened partial packages of things. Much of it came in kits from previous months, and a small amount of it (yes, label stickers, I’m talking about YOU!) came from when I was still feeling the need to build my stash with supplies I love (and I DO love label stickers… I probably don’t need 4 million of them, but they make me so happy!). I don’t usually buy multiple (or even single) packs of things I am not using. But I heard myself several times use the phrase, “I don’t really use these any more” and I started to wonder, “then why do I have them?”
But you know what? The thought of giving them away or selling them really is not appealing to me at all. I love my crafty goodies! Even the old stuff! If it survived last year’s purge, it’s something I like and can see myself using at some point. Yes, I have a lot of sh!t in my room, but I have the space to store it efficiently. I can find what I need when I need it (except, as I learned in the video, plain tags!). And although I did spend a lot on craft supplies when I started out, I don’t spend much now. I’ve been scrapping for 5 years, and I’ve been on 3 design teams… and prior to my work with Scraptastic, the DT work I did left me with lots of left overs I might not have chosen to buy myself. Plus, I occasionally dabble in other crafts such as sewing, jewelry making, and mixed media. Although I don’t spend gobs of time on any of these other crafts, I love them enough that I wouldn’t want to not have the option of coming down and pulling them out to work on.
So I spent a good chunk of time in my room, looking through my supplies. I looked at groups of supplies and asked myself myself: Is this contributing to my crafty happiness or hindering it in some way?
When I think about the supplies I have, I ask myself some questions:
- Am I living within my budget? It seems obvious, but you need to operate using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your family before you indulge in scrappy goodies. I consider scrapbooking supplies a recreational expense because it is such an effective stress-buster for me, and I do believe I can work longer, more efficient hours when I have some scrappy time to myself each week.
- Do I have time to use the supplies? I carve out specific time each week, and actually work my work schedule around scrapbooking (I realize I’m lucky to have that option) so I know I’ll be consistently using supplies each week, but I also have a kit coming in each month. I try to use it up (at least use up the stuff I love the most) before the next one comes, and then I try to limit my spending to adhesive and “stock supplies” most of the year (stock supplies includes things like doilies, mists, tags, white card stock, card envelopes, etc. – things I miss when I run out of). When my kids were toddlers (when I started scrapping) I had nowhere near as much time, so all my craft supplies lived on a tiny wheely cart in my dining room.
- Do I have space to store the supplies and a means to access them efficiently? For me, it’s not only about having the space, because I will always have some space in a corner somewhere. The more important question is, whether I will be happy with where I store it, and be able to access it without interrupting my crafty process. Not everyone scraps the same way, so this may or may not be important to you, but for me, it is crucial. If I have to get up and look through drawers for something, it will kill my crafty “buzz” and no one wants that!
- Do I feel in control of what I have and how I’m spending my time and money? There have been times when I’ve spent more time per week shopping or organizing things, than I’ve spent actually crafting. And there is nothing wrong with that if that’s how you want to spend your time and money. But if you intend to scrap, and simply find you’re never getting around to it and if that bothers you, then there is something amiss in your process. Perhaps it’s time to reorganize and purge some product, or set a spending budget, or get yourself in your workspace and simply create something… anything! I think just paying attention to this last question has helped me immensely in the past few years, to make better choices and feel better about what I’m doing with my crafty time and money.
Although I’ve come to a place where I feel ok about the stuff I have, I’m really glad I took the time to give some thought to it. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the buying and collecting of stuff, and sometimes collecting craft supplies can be just as much a hobby as crafting, but for me… I want to feel like I’m in control of it. Like I have the stuff I have because I choose to have it… not because it snuck up on me. I think I had a moment where it felt like it snuck up on me, and that jolted me into a bit of self-evaluation. In the end, I’m happy where I am, but if I weren’t, I’d be sorting through and getting rid of some of my supplies. Basically, wherever your comfort zone is… whether it’s a few shelves of supplies, or a huge room filled to the rafters, you have to live within it, otherwise crafting becomes overwhelming or guilt-inducing. I suppose that comfort zone is different for everyone, depending on your space, budget, and crafting habits, but I think it’s important to think about it every once in awhile. I know that if push came to shove, all I’d need to be a happy crafter is my monthly kit, some adhesive, and few bottles of mist. But I can also be happy with a crapload of supplies, as long as I can find those tags when I need them!
Here’s the video tour, and I’ll probably have a bit more to say on this topic when I post the shopping video some of you have requested:
(yes, it’s insanely long- it’s hard to get 216 square feet of scrap room into less than 50 minutes of video!)
Do you ever suffer from Scraproom Guilt? How do you deal with it? Have any tips for me or others? Please chime in below!