I attend a crafting retreat in Cincinnati twice a year. When we started this about four years ago, we all brought everything we owned and ended up making very little because, let's face it, we were mainly running around and visiting! (Which is what it's really all about, anyway.)
It can be exhausting - packing all that stuff up, dragging it out to the car, dragging it into the hotel conference room, setting it up, then repacking it, dragging it back out to the car, trying to make it all fit again, dragging it back into the house, and then unpacking it and putting it all away.
One year I never fully unpacked from one retreat to the next... and I never missed the stuff I didn't unpack.
Oh, and I left out one very important aspect of this whole traveling supply show: when you get to the venue, your staging area is one conference room table - which is about 2' deep and 6' wide.
And there you are with a car that is bursting at the seams with all your most "vital" stuff.
So what have I learned from this semi-annual experience?
- I spend 90% of my time crafting with about 20% of my supplies.
- I store 90% of the stuff I use within arm's length of my work surface.
- I have a lot of stuff that is within arm's reach but is rarely used.
- I can easily create great cards with materials and tools that fit on or around a 2' x 6' area.
- If I can't see an item, I won't remember I have it (READ: I won't use it.)
- I can't "see" about 80% of my stash.
Conclusion: I have waaaay too much stuff that I'm not even using! Ever.
How about you? I'd say that if you can answer "yes" to at least one of the questions above, you probably need to consider a cleansing purge.
The problem is, of course, where to start.
Never fear! I have a plan. It's been working for me, so I figured I'd share it here. Our supplies are our darlings, so we're going to leave them alone for now. So anything that gets used up (paper, embellies, etc.) and dies, punches, and stamps are not included at this stage.
Instead, let's start with our tools because (1) there are less of them; (2) we're not visually attracted to them (like we are to all those pretty patterned papers); and (3) this shouldn't take more than 30 minutes - and anybody can handle that, right?
B O X C H A L L E N G E #1 - T O O L S
- Place tools that you use 90% of the time on your work surface. (Read: you use it every time you make a project. Examples: paper trimmer, centering ruler, etc.)
- Now add the tools you use 50% of the time. (Read: you use it every other time you make a project. Examples: heat tool, stapler, etc.)
- Inventory what tools didn't make the cut and, more importantly, why.
- Put everything that didn't make the cut into a box and stow it someplace you can easily access but at least 6 feet from your work surface.
- Put the other tools away.
That was easy, wasn't it?
The point of this exercise is to identify those tools that are not being used. By corralling them in a box, you free up prime real estate near your work surface. By stowing the box where it can be accessed easily, you can still use the tools within; keeping the box out of arm's length means you have to leave your chair to retrieve it, so you won't pull anything out unless you really want it.
Very important: write the date on the box.
This pseudo-purge allows you to experience the benefit of a purge without the pain of giving anything up... yet.
If you use anything in the box, note the item and date on the box. In six months, revisit the box. Anything that wasn't used clearly needs to go. Donate or sell it so somebody who will use it can use it. (Because it's kind of sinful for a perfectly good tool to go unused when it could be giving someone else all sorts of creative pleasure, right?)
So there you have it! I urge you to do Box Challenge #1! It should only take 30 minutes, and you will feel very good about yourself afterward.
And please share your experience in the comments as we'll all benefit from your findings. What did/did not make the cut? Were there any surprises? How much real estate did you liberate? How do you feel?
Thanks for stopping and have a blessed day!
This is a series of articles concerning some changes I've made to increase the quality of my papercrafting experience. I hope something here will speak to you!