Thursday, May 09, 2013

Hoarding to Scrapbooking: Making the Transition

Ever worry that your scrapbook space is going to be featured on an upcoming episode of "Hoarders," the producers crawling through piles of scrapbooking paper, slipping on still-in-their-packaging sticker sheets, finally leaving the scene with enamel dots stuck to unlikely places? Oh the horror!

Almost all of us have a stash of crafting supplies that perhaps bring to mind the question of whether we're using the products we buy or if we're just really good at purchasing scrapbook supplies. Frankly, I'm pretty good at buying supplies; and if there's ever an opening for a Professional Scrapbooking Shopper, I'm so there to apply! But that really isn't why I started scrapbooking (although my husband might disagree with my saying that based on the monthly credit card statement).

No matter how organized you are in the way you store your supplies or how well you limit your purchases, we all struggle on some level with using up the supplies that we buy.



So how do we make the transition from hoarder to designer?

Does it really even appeal to you? Let's just get this question right out in the open. If you've bought a shed's worth of supplies and then haven't used those supplies in the past few years, then you might not be a scrapbooker. Seriously. Let it go. There are a million ways to document your memories. This just isn't one that appeals to you. Donate, sell, or trade your supplies for something you will use. Then STOP buying more supplies. I promise you when the Zombie Apocalypse hits, you won't be able to fend them off with your scissors for very long anyway so stop keeping a bunker full of crafting goodies. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. There are millions of people who never have any desire to scrapbook. Really. It's ok.

Find the joy. I think this is the next biggest revelation. If you don't love it, you're never going to do it. That means finding a way to scrapbook that brings you happiness. Like to keep things simple? Perhaps online photo books are the thing for you. Are you happiest with paint dripping down your elbows? Perhaps art journaling is your thing. Faithfully taking a photo for Instagram every day? Then Project Life/Photo Freedom might be your thing. Once you let go of the "rules," then you'll find your groove. If you're not loving it, consider why. Then consider how you can (and if you can) change that. If you can't change it, refer to the first to my last bit of advice.

Find your groove. I would love to say that I'm the world's most organized scrapbooker. But since I've nearly hospitalized myself several times tripping over unfinished projects, I would be lying. Let's just say, that "piles" are my organizational strategy. Quit feeling so pressured to buy the latest organizational system. What is already working for you? A shoebox of photos? A hand-me-down table from Grandma? If you're spending every waking hour organizing your supplies, then you're probably not having much time to use them. Ok. I recognize that some organization makes the process work better for everyone. But Holly Housekeeper is going to have a completely different system from Molly Makes it Work. And trying to make someone else's system work for you is a waste of time.

Let go and use it. Unless you have a signed copy of Picasso's first scrapbooking paper, you really don't own a single thing that's "too pretty to use." Slap that sucker on a layout and let go. Really. Embrace the fear. Give it a shot. Start playing a little more than planning (unless planning is your thing). And don't bring something home if you think you're going to "love it too much." What's the point of an embellishment that's never used? It's like the World of Lost Toys in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Secretly every paper, sticker, stamp, and embellishment wants to go to a good home that WILL USE IT UP. Give those products some love and put them to work!

Make mistakes. If you've started a layout that's ended up in the trash at some point, raise your hand. Raise 'em up high. While some mistakes may need fixing, like the one where I called my youngest son by his older brother's name in my journaling or the time I spilled spray mist across the photo in a layout, other mistakes just aren't that big of a deal. If spray ink splatters give you fits, quit spraying. If you spelled something wrong, cross it out. This isn't a scrapbooking dystopian society (think "Scrapbooking Games" where everyone competes to be the "best"). Who defines what a "mistake" is on a scrapbooking layout anyway? Embrace the mistakes and find your own form of art. It's the true masters who understand and embrace their own sense of style.

Share the love. Why did you start scrapbooking in the first place? Was it to socialize with other women? Then make a regular appointment for yourself to crop with friends. Did you want to document your children's lives? Then trade some story time for some memory time where the kids are the stars of the show. Did you want to discover your creativity? Then make messes do something creative every day, like watching a tutorial video, or scheduling time to try a new technique. Recognize your reasons for doing this in the first place. Don't be ashamed if you need a little pat on the back after completing a layout. Why do you think that "Like" button exists in the first place? If only they had one every time I did the dishes, or folded the laundry. Seriously people. Why don't they?

If you thought this post was going to be about an article on "How to Organize and Design Your Life as a Scrapbooker," then I'm sorry I lead you astray. I think we need to let go of the rules we give ourselves sometimes. I think we need to be honest about what we hope to gain by scrapbooking. And while I have my own reasons for wanting to scrapbook, others will have their own motivations. If you're a hoarder who doesn't design, get to the root of the reason. Then figure out if you want to fix it. And by all means, make sure you're happy with what you're doing.

For additional posts on using up your scrapbooking supplies, be sure to check out my weekly "Product Focus" posts such as this one HERE or HERE.


25 comments:

  1. I like your style, Jen!

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  3. You really rocked with this honest and straight-to-the-point article!!

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  4. Anonymous5:29 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Great viewpoint and one I think many scrappers should read. When I see all the "haul" videos on YouTube, I think: wow, they are good shoppers, but I would love to see more of their videos on what they made with all that stuff!

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  6. What great advise! Thanks.

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  7. What a great post and great advice!

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  8. Karen P.9:00 AM

    Thanks Jen....I have been in a creative funk for about a month after buying alot of stuff. I felt that if I wasn't using these recent purchases every time I sat down to make something, I was wasting... Your post frees me up to get back to why I love cardmaking in the first place.. making.the people who get my cards smile!

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  9. Enjoyed this post!

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  10. Great post. Just what I needed this morning thank you!

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  11. Such a great article. Loved every bit of it! I think I sometime sunconsciously fit into the catagory of saving pretty papers and never cutting into them (or perhaps the real problem is just buying more than I could ever have the time to work with and then having trouble parting with them unused). I keep telling myself I need to take a year off from buying paper since I have a small store in my craft room, but there are just too many tempting lines to really follow through with that... ;)

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  12. Love this post! I have been honest with myself about what product I will and will not use. Tastes change, so if I have something I bought years ago, I either use it now, or donate it. So what if I spent $$$ on it?

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  13. I love this. It's very true. I am on a no shopping spree this whole year. Myself and a scrappy friend up in Canada are doing it together. :) We decided we need to quit shopping and use what we have. It has been fun to look at our supplies in new and creative ways to make them work. I don't have so much like some we see on the youtube videos. But, I have enough and it has been sitting around not getting used as much as it should.

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  14. Well said! I am guilty of hoarding and of not making time for the hobby I love.

    I think more people need to hear that it is ok to let go, quit following the so-called 'rules', and 'imperfect, but done' is good enough.

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  15. Funny...I am just taking a break from decluttering my stash, long overdue! I reacted in two ways to your initial point about taking a pause to consider whether or not you really enjoy this hobby. We as women do tend to belabor everything we do out of a sense of duty, and it sucks the joy right out of life! Creativity should be freeing and renewing, and if it isn't, it should get packed up and sent to the curb. BUT, I am very glad that I didn't abandon this hobby completely, as I did begin to feel burdened by it, beginning several years ago, when I fell prey to comparing my work with things I would see in print and online. Isn't that such a nasty thing? And it surely did knock all the wind out of my sails. It took time and age to help me find my voice again, to be able to appreciate that art is self expression and not imitation. So, anyway, I am glad that I didn't jump ship entirely, just took a long break. Love your blog and style, Jen.

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  16. Love it! All true and needed to be said! :)

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  17. You freaking rock!!!! you are so right. i just had this conversation with myself the other day and came to the conclusion that I don't use stuff because I am "saving it for the perfect layout" Well ya know...they are all perfect in one way or another because my children's lives are documented. I am determined to use up old supplies. I even used an old Doodlebug heart eyelet today for a card. Baby steps. ;)

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  18. Oh wow, this post really hit a chord. I have actually started worrying that I will die with all this scrapbook "stuff" crammed into closets, drawers, bins, boxes, shelving, the garage, the attic, the family room entertainment center...you get the picture. The thought of my family having to deal with all of this when I'm gone is embarrassing. I have been trying to limit my purchases for at least 5 years but the problem is that I don't use it up fast enough. You made some excellent points and I am going to read them all over again. Then I'm going up to my craft room, pulling out some old stash and USING it!!

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  19. I love the comment about the Picasso! I keep saving things for that one project that may come up, but I know that there will always be prettier paper!

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  20. Fun, funny and oh, so true! Thanks for keeping it real (and real amusing!) This is something that everyone with lots of stuff needs to hear everyone once in a while! TFS!!!!!

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  21. Great post with scrapbook wisdom - creativity wisdom really! I think the most important thing is to be sure that you are enjoying what you choose to do... whatever it may be. tfs!

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  22. I am pretty sure I have some paper designed by Picasso :) (j/k) Thanks for the article very helpful. Scrapbooking is my destress hobby so always good to be reminded of that.

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  23. Love this post, it so speaks to the hoarder in me to stop hanging on to the too pretty to scrap paper and just use it! Thanks!

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  24. I might rival you for Shopper of the Year! I have put myself on a limit now though. I need to use, use, use! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree, we need to let go and just love doing and creating because we love it.

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  25. "Slap that sucker on a layout and let go."
    yep, definitely...

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