Lesson 05 | Supplies

Ok you guys, let’s dive into one of my favorite parts about memory keeping: supplies!!!! I love them, I hoard them, I use them, I admire them, I shop obsessively for them, and sometimes (ok, forever and always) I am trying to use up more. In this lesson I want to share with you some of the ways I challenge myself to use up my supplies in my pocket pages!

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Several years ago, when we moved into our current home, I was forced to really assess my supplies and began the process in earnest of organizing my supplies into my studio as it is today. I will admit that my stash is constantly evolving, my process is continuously changing, and that means my methods of using and storing supplies is constantly changing too. I would love to be one of those people who set up an organization system and then left it that way for ever, but I am really not that kind of person! I love organizing supplies and love trying and finding new and different ways of managing my studio space. I also am right in the midst of a desire to purge and whittle down what I am actually keeping on hand, so at the time of writing this lesson I am in transition. Walk through my studio with me in this video so you can see some of the highlights of how I am currently doing this!

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A few years ago, while I was organizing and assessing, I totally became painfully aware of how much product I had stored away and never used. I went through tons of stuff and donated some entire collections (I typically recommend donating to teachers and children’s hospitals, if you are able). I was so sad to realize that those collections were products I just had to have back then, but now they weren’t as shiny and new and exciting. I also knew when I looked through my albums, I recognized the products I had used and was so happy to see those products on my pages! So I made a concerted effort to use my products as they came in the door, while I was still excited about them.

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I also have come to the realization that my storage needs are at two levels: the first level is the storage right by my worktop, the things I use every day or products I want to draw from every day, and the second level is the products I store long term. Among my first level are current kits, tape roller, tiny attacher, roller stamps, and one or two ink pads. I also like to keep art brushes nearby for mixed media. Paper trimmers, a very few washis, and a collection of my current stamp sets are also right on my desktop. Those are the products I rely on every day, the products I know I really want to use for the current month. The kit products get used as much as possible, and then when the next kit arrives, I replace it with the new kit.

My second tier of storage is the products I am storing for the long term. These are previous kits, my collection packs from previous years, all my mixed media supplies, and my core kits, along with all the other miscellaneous embellishments, ribbons, ink pads, stamps, and on and on. These products are things that I don’t plan to use up – can we go ahead and be honest that it’s hard to use stuff up all the way, simply because of lack of time?!! But I do like to challenge myself to draw from those products on a regular basis.

So…first plan of attack – use your products when they arrive at your front door. Then move them to secondary storage and create challenges to still keep using those older products. Last year and for part of this year I did a TBT series, Throw Back Thursdays, where I committed to working with an older project using older product each week. I loved that series because it inspired me, once a week, to go through my stash and pull out older things. This is still one of my favorite ways to keep using older things, but the series has been suspended while I work on this class. I plan to bring it back because it really did work well!

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Another method for me that always works really well is a simple list of products that I have recently received that I need to use. I keep two running lists: my project list and my supply list. Any time I am getting ready to work on a layout, I consult those two lists and match the project with a current collection or kit. I make sure each month to create a project with each kit – that means at least once a month you will see a layout with Gossamer Blue, a layout with Freckled Fawn, a layout with Studio Calico, and a layout with Felicity Jane from me! Those are my current kit subscriptions, so I am committed to creating at least one layout with each one per month. Of course, they are always close to me so I can draw products from them at any time to use with other products too.

I am a particular fan of Elle’s Studio and Freckled Fawn because they are both so easy to use with any other collection, on any type of layout. Love love love those products and get a lot of usage from both of those brands!

Whenever the new collections come out, such as new Maggie Holmes or Amy Tangerine, I do the same thing. I add them to my list of product and try to make sure I use them before the next CHA. I may not be able to kill a collection, but I can most certainly use those collections at least once.

Another strategy that also uses the Use It When It Arrives method is to use each kit or collection in several different projects while you have it out. So, for example, when Maggie Holmes releases Carousel, have that collection out and create a layout for each of your current projects all at once. I credit Lea Rhea, of ScrapandplanwithLea, because she does this for her traditional layouts. She will bring out a collection and just create layout after layout, as many as she can, right there on the spot. I want to be more like Lea. Be more like Lea, use your collections or your kits, to create multiple layouts of different types.

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I also like the Ali Edwards method – she has created an entire subscription based on using supplies as what she calls “story sparks.” She regularly encourages her subscribers to use her products to inspire their next layout, and it works! It’s terrific to use your products as an inspiration for your layouts. I did several really awesome layouts in my Project Life album last year using her kits, and they can be accessed by clicking the top link to the right. Two of my favorites were the Wild layout and the Tough layout I did at that time. For both of those the word and the products fit perfectly with the stories those particular weeks.

I have already touched on this but it bears repeating: set challenges for yourself and participate in challenges within our community to help yourself use up supplies that you have. I love Scrap Your Stash by Tori Bissell, and I know Sara Scraps has a Stash Busting challenge going on at different times, and there so many others! I love the support and encouragement and sheer volume of creative energy in our community! The key is, at some point, shut down the computer and simply create. Set appointments for yourself to actually make stuff.

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There is no denying that shopping and ordering is so exciting and fun, but I promise that using those beautiful things is even more fun. Organize your supplies well so you can use them and challenge yourself on a regular basis to use your pretty things. You will be so glad you did! Let’s take a look now at my process videos for this lesson!

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