Welcome back! :) Melissa here again.
First I want to thank everyone who left comments yesterday; they were so helpful in forming the direction of today’s post. I was originally going to describe how I organized my supplies to fit into the china hutch, but I realized that I would be leaving a huge gap. There’s the whole question of how I downsized my supplies from a dedicated scrap room to two cupboards and two drawers. Today I’ll share that process.
*I apologize that this post will be light on photos and heavy on text. I really wish now that I had thought to take pictures as my scrap areas changed, but I didn’t. Phooey.
I think the fact that the shift happened over the course of 2 ½ years made it a little more seamless than if it had been something that needed to be done immediately. I had time to try different things and see what worked. What’s interesting is that each time I pared down, I liked my scrap area better than I had before. I never missed the space that was lost.
Let’s review what it looked like four years ago when I had the whole room to myself.
Looking back, I think I filled a lot of the space simply because it was there. Some of my storage containers had very little in them, but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t running out of room.
When I was pregnant with our third, I knew I would have to make some changes, but I didn’t think it was necessary to move everything out of the room right away when a baby was simply going to be sleeping in there. After consolidating, putting all the wire cubes in the basement, rearranging, and utilizing the top of the card catalog for storage, I freed up that entire windowed wall where most of my supplies were located. I then added a room-width muslin curtain on a wooden rod suspended from the ceiling. Behind the curtain was my daughter’s cradle (and eventually crib) and drawers of clothing.
Then when she was nine months old, we found out we were expecting again! Another adjustment to the room was in order. Lacking a better solution in my mind, I simply swapped spaces, moving all of my scrapbooking stuff to the area behind the curtain and leaving the larger area of the room for the nursery.
Once again, I had to go through my stash and pare it down to fit into an even smaller space. I actually made it look pretty cute back there, knowing I wouldn’t use the space if I didn’t enjoy it. But even though the space itself was fine, the fact that it was in the same room as my babies made it nearly impossible to use it. I have never been one to pre-plan pages and just gather all the materials and take off to a crop or even a different room. My creative process is very fluid, and I’m constantly changing my mind and being inspired by my supplies themselves, so I need everything at hand.
After months of frustration caused by feeling the urge to create a scrapbook page but resorting to baking cookies instead because I couldn’t work in my space, I decided something had to be done. I walked through the house, looked, pondered, stood on my head, ruled out, and finally decided on the china cabinet. It just made so much sense to convert the rarely-used section of it into practical storage for my supplies.
So this process begs the question: How did you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?
I asked myself three basic questions each time I moved my supplies to a smaller area and was forced to decide their fate:
- Do I love it or at least reaalllyyyy like it? (If I don't, chances are I won't be inspired to use it.)
- Is it versatile? (A pink chipboard alphabet adorned with blue butterflies and green polka-dots may be simply adorable, but how many times am I actually going to create a title with it?)
- Have I used it more than once on a layout or project in the past year? (This can apply to tools as well. I finally got rid of my light box because the answer was a big fat No.)
These questions really weren't important to me when I had an entire room. It was so easy to use the "I'd better keep it because maybe I'll use it...someday" excuse. I couldn't do that anymore, so I forced myself to be honest and ruthless as I went through my stash. In yesterday's comments, Susan mentioned how her kids always played more in the playroom after she got rid of a bunch of toys. That happens at our house as well, and I see it as a total parallel. Simplifying really is quite freeing.
It also helped that my LSS scheduled its first-ever scrapbooking yard sale around the time I did my first major purge. I made over $100 selling stuff that I wasn't using. They continue to do them several times a year, so it's quite motivating to do a small purge every few months. You could also donate to a church, hospital, or other non-profit group, or share your extras with someone who is just starting out.
Come back tomorrow for my favorite part...organization! I love it almost as much as scrapbooking itself. I promise there will be lots of pictures!
P.S. Several of you asked about my card catalog. When my husband and I were first married, he was on staff at a church. We were going through some supplies in a storage room when I spotted this beauty stuck in the corner all by its lonesome and fell in love. When my hubby asked the pastor if we could possibly buy it from him, he said (I kid you not), If you take out the cassettes and box them up, you can have it. Yes, have it. Now I'm going to duck and take my leave before the violence ensues...