Scrapbooking Q & A : Excess, Feeling Behind/Overwhelmed, Purging/Donating Supplies

This may sound strange--but do you have an opinion if there is ever too much? I get comments frequently from family/friends who do not pursue this hobby/passion that I have too many pages devoted to my son or that it is ridiculous to have a space devoted in a corner of my home to scrapping. What do you say to this or do ever question your own excess to this hobby?
Posted by: Kristine Sherman

Yes, I believe there can too much. For me the excess comes in the form of supplies more often than the number of pages. Many people out there buy much more than they actually scrapbook.

I think that everyone has a choice for their hobby time and dollars. Some people will choose to spend their time + money playing golf or video games or racing cars or sewing or reading or gardening or decorating or whatever their hobby may be. All those hobbies include some "stuff" but rarely does it include as much little bits of stuff as crafters end up acquiring. I usually bring something up along those lines if someone drives the conversation that way.

Going back through all my layouts recently I did have the feeling that there were too many. Part of that feeling for me came from the observation that some of them felt like they were just fluff with very little substance (either in stories or photos). That said, I will not be getting rid of any of them - they are part of the overall story of our lives. It made a big impact on me moving forward.

Hey Ali, wondering what you do with all your scraps? Do you purge a few times a year? I feel guilty throwing away scraps, but want to leave room for new stuff too, without ever expanding my space. I'm trying really hard to 'contain' my hobby to a certain amount of space.
Posted by: young c-m


I keep a box under my work table (a kitchen island - I stand up to scrapbook) that holds scraps. As you can see, it is pretty full right now. If I am looking for smaller bits of paper (maybe ones I want to square punch, etc) I hit that box first before reaching for a whole new sheet. Sometimes when my Mom comes over she will go through the box and pick out pieces that speak to her. Other than that, every once in awhile I will just empty it into the recycling box (or ask the school if they want it) and move on.

I would like to hear some suggestions from you about getting back into scrapbooking after several years out. I used to do a lot of scrapbooking in the late 90's and really enjoyed it. I used mostly CM products and style and did almost exclusively 12x12. I had life events that took me out of the routine and have never successfully gotten back to it. I think part of the issue is that I am overwhelmed by getting so far behind again (I was SOOO happy when I got the 90's completely done) and also don't really think those big album/spreads are inspiring me right now. I also lost my mom a little over a year ago and I think that is contributing to hesitation to get back in there. I have continued to do paper crafting with cards/stamping and I have done a couple of mini albums for trips in the last year or so that I've enjoyed.
Posted by: Peggy

One of the biggest things I suggest is changing your mindset. The entire issue of being "behind" is something that really binds people up.

What I would do is identify three stories you really want to tell. These don't have to be monumental stories, they can be simple everyday stories about your life right now or they could be something that happened five years ago that you want to remember. The idea is to find the love again - what did you love about the hobby in the past.

It sounds like you may be interested in doing something in a smaller size? How about choosing one of those stories you really want to tell and doing that in minibook? One of the best things about minibooks is that there is a beginning and an end and they tend to give people a bit of creative confidence in the simple fact of finishing a specific project.

This may be too big of a jump for you (or it may be of interest and inspiring) but here's a link to what the inside of one of my 12x12 albums look like: anatomy of an album. Maybe you are ready to try a smaller sized layout or work with some divided page protectors to get some of those stories told.

i love scrapbooking and have 4 kids (ages 12-22). needless to say i have a lot of albums. i noticed that you have a lot of albums, too. i don't think there can be too many, but it seems like the magazines have been doing articles about scaling down lately. do you think there is a problem with having so many albums...i like to document all areas of our life.
Posted by: christen

I think it is a personal choice on how many albums you want to have and how much space you have to store them. Right now I have a lot of albums (around 30 I think) and only one kid that is just 6.5 years old. To be honest, to me, that seems like a lot. We also live in small space and storing those albums becomes an issue. I am not sure how I am going to address this issue once baby number two comes along.

I don't think there is a problem with having so many albums - like I said above, it is totally a personal choice and if it brings you joy + happiness then you should go for it!

You seem to be a very environmentally conscious (among other great things) person who would not waste supplies either bought or given to you. I'm wondering how you deal with old supplies never used that are now "out of style" or that you don't like anymore. Do you donate them, use them anyway or alter them?
Posted by: Laura

Most of the time I donate the extra supplies (some new and some gently used) to local schools, charities, to local friends, and some go to a boutique sale.

How often should one do a Spring Cleaning with crafting supplies? (I am embarrassed to admit that I have stamp sets that I HAD TO HAVE, but have never used them... Is it best to adopt a Use It or Lose It philosophy?)
Posted by: Sarah (Hutchinson, MN)

I think spring cleaning needs to happen anytime you feel like you are being overtaken by your supplies. I end up doing it quarterly (or more often depending on how I feel). I know all about the "had to have" but have never used syndrome - I think that is normal :). I do a modified use it or lose it - sometimes I have good intentions to use something and it just doesn't happen. I carefully consider those things when I am doing a spring cleaning. Actually, I am pretty ruthless when it comes to spring cleaning.

How you make decisions on what to purge. I realize this is very individualized but I am having a heck of a time letting go of things. Maybe what I am asking is the whole state of mind regarding letting go, simplifying and so forth.
Posted by: Bec

Over time I have really come to know that supplies I will most likely use. There are supplies I know I will use: my 5 colors of cardstock (white, cream, kraft, red, and black), Dot N Roller adhesive, certain stamps (see below), lined patterned paper, minibooks, silver mini brads, embellishments that focus on the theme of memories, life, or today, a selection of letter stickers, and letter stamps (and probably a few other things).

For me the decision to get rid of supplies usually comes down to a combination of storage space and just feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in this room. When I feel like I can't breathe when I come in here or the room seems to be throwing up out the door I know it is time to reduce the overall amount of stuff. I always ask myself "will I really use this?" and I am brutally honest with myself because it does me no good creatively to have the weight of supplies I am not going to use hanging around.

I'm wondering if I've gotten into buying more than crafting. Can you have too many stamps? I was thinking of actually getting rid of some because it seems overwhelming. Does that sound crazy?? LOL
Posted by: Rainy


I totally think you can have too many stamps (or too much paper or to many embellishments and on and on). I find that the more supplies I have the more time I spend thinking about (and choosing) what I am going to use rather than just picking the first thing I think of and using that. Too many choices can paralyze you for moving forward in your creative process.

Here's a look at my collection of wood mounted stamps. I was just thinking yesterday that it has been awhile since I used most of these (as goes my creative cycle) and it is probably time to go through them again. In the case of some of the stamps I know there are ones I will never get rid of: many of the circles, squares, lines, holiday, ones related to today/everyday, numbers, etc - essentially the basic/generic shapes and themes that I create with most often. They are the ones I have already used multiple times and are most likely to turn to again.

What do you do to get your spark back when you don't feel like scrapping for a while or have been unable to?
Posted by: Miriam

I am in this place right now. Being pregnant for me so far has meant that I feel more unmotivated than I can remember for a long time. I pretty much just want to sleep and/or read all the time (hence I am half-way through the Twilight series).

In general my answer to this question is to just ride the wave. No force. No guilt. No pressure on yourself to get back into the groove. Let yourself be attracted to other things, develop other passions, etc. I tend to believe that we all need a break (and that they happen for a reason) and that when you come back to scrapbooking you will have a new perspective/new thoughts that will only enhance the way you tell your stories.

One of the ways I have gotten back in the groove in the past is by using a kit. It's nice to just have a project to follow along (without a lot of creative energy being expended) and get your hands, heart, and head moving together again creatively.

What you would suggest for someone who has gotten so far behind?  I have a ton of supplies that I can't possibly organize (I don't have a scraproom, just a section of my closet and piles on the floor).  I really would like to get into a creative flow but I've been blocked for so long.  I know the cause of the block (lots of family drama and personal illness).  I have spent time getting things clear in my head and am ready and have a ton of ideas for things I want to create but I can't seem to get it together!  Do you suggest I start with organizing photos or supplies or just dive in?
Posted by: Jennifer

I suggest picking one story to focus on and diving in. I know I can spend more time organizing than creating if I let myself. You may also want to spend a bit of time writing down those ideas you are having if they are just currently living in your head - I lose those ideas way too fast if I don't write them down quickly.


Q & A posts :
MiniBooks/Sharing Your Story/Supplies
Design/Inspiration/Finding Your Style
Events/Teaching/Internet/Creating Keepsakes/Misc.
Hybrid/Digital Scrapbooking/Photoshop
Excess/Feeling Behind/Overwhelmed/Purging/Donating Supplies
Organization + Storage/Work + Life + Finding Time
Scrapbooking Baby/Getting Started + Design Teams/Telling Your Story
Techniques/Photography + Printing

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