Thursday, July 17, 2008

How not to spend a zillion dollars on craft supplies

Okay, the title of the article is misleading. Frankly scrapbooking and cardmaking and all those great hobbies are probably the worst ones to get into when you're trying to save money and build wealth. Why? Because something new and sparkly is always coming out and it's so hard to resist! There are many new techniques that are just screaming your name. Projects made by others make you say, "wow, I never thought of that--I have to try it!"

So the title of this post should probably be more along the lines of, "Why organization will save you money on your craft stuff."

Here is a short quiz. If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, chances are you need to reorganize your crafting space:

1) I sometimes forget what I actually have and am surprised when I go through my stash.

2) I've purchased more than one of an item because I could not find the first one or forgot I had one already.

3) I find it hard to see what supplies I have so I use the same small section over and over and get bored.

4) My crafts have gotten things spilled on them, wrinkled, or otherwise damaged because of the way they are stored.

I'm sure I could come up with more, but you get the idea.

I went to the dollar store yesterday and purchased some clear shoeboxes with lids and other containers to help me reorganize my crafting area. Until yesterday I was mostly using little boxes that I got on clearance at Michaels for about ten cents each. They are very colorful and pretty and I can't see a darn thing. They're great for things that I don't need to see. For example, glue sticks. Glue sticks aren't exactly inspirational to look at. Therefore a quick label and a shove to the shelf and viola! The glue sticks are stored. But for ribbon and bling and stickers...

One of the items I picked up are plastic baskets that are somewhat V-shaped. The bottom part, that sits on the shelf or desk, is slightly smaller than the upper part which flares out slightly. I bought three. One has all my stickers, one has my rub ons, and one has those "special" items that I hoard and love to look at. I may not use items from that basket frequently but they are the crafty items that inspire me and make me drool over the idea of making something.

I discovered that these items are only good to me when I can see them. Otherwise I don't think about them. Having them out where I can leaf through them allows me to get ideas. Not only for how to use them but also for color combination, themes, and so forth.

I replaced my boxes with the shoe boxes. I only bought five because I wasn't sure that my system will work well. If it does then I'll go back and get some more. Many of my more important items are now in the clear boxes. I can pick it up and see what I want rather than having to open every lid of every box and poke my fingers in. It sounds simple but this really will save me about an hour a month, if not more.

The other benefit of having things more organized is that it's also easier to put things away. If my boxes are labeled and I can clearly see what is in them I have little excuse for not cleaning up after projects. More time saved, not to mention a happier household.

I am going to challenge myself to the following: Make at least ten scrapbook pages, ten different cards, and finish at least two projects using nothing other than the items I already have. Care to join me?

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