Welcome to Make It Monday! We are celebrating Christmas in July today. You may have arrived from Connie’s site where she is helping us plan a merry little Christmas Advent activity banner. Just a reminder that today is the last day of the FLASH SALE on the Christmas in July Creative Christmas Bundle sale. You’ll find Connie’s Banner instructions in that bundle plus much more. Click here to check it out.
As I was putting together my December Daily album for this post I realized that I have Christmas products from many years ago still in my stash. For some reason I had the thought that I’d use those really old (and let’s face it, kind of ugly) papers “someday”. I even remember looking at all the cute new Christmas lines last year but being reluctant to purchase any because of the size of my stash.
Well, “someday” is today!
One Crafter’s Answer to Christmas Stash Overwhelm
In an attempt to radically reduce my stash to only what I will realistically use, I sorted through my Christmas bin the other day.
Let me share my process with you.
This is my bin – it’s a plastic tote from Michael’s. Kind of like the Iris 12×12 bins but this has latches and a handle. It holds a lot but it was stuffed!
Here are the types of things that were inside:
– 6×6 paper pads
– half used sets of brads
– half used 12×12 accent and alphabet sticker sheets
– random tags, journaling cards, die cut shapes, and accent pieces
– off-cuts and scraps from old Christmas projects – December Dailies and the like
– full, never used, 12×12 sheets of patterned paper
– full, never used pieces of card stock in black, white, cream, kraft, brown, and green
My goal was to only return items that I actually intended to use – all the rest would be sold or donated.
Step One – Empty and Sort
To begin with I took out the 6×6 paper pads and added them to my card making supplies basket. I have to sort through that basket eventually too but for now, all my 6×6 paper pads go over there so I can mass produce cards to sell. (“Someday”! LOL!) Then I put all the sticker sheets and other embellishments off to one side. I wanted to deal with the paper first.
I put the paper into two piles. The scraps and the full sheets (see below). The scraps I’d deal with at the end, for now I tackled the full sheets of paper.
I went through these really quickly and pulled out anything that I didn’t like anymore. Those went into a cardboard box (see below) which I will package up to sell later. I separated the card stock and put it to one side. I’ll need some for the process I’m about to show you, so will wait until that’s all finished before I put the remainder away in my paper racks.
Step Two – Examine and Assess
I then looked at each individual sheet and assessed it as follows:
– Is it something I’d love to see as a full sheet on the back ground of a layout? If yes then I put it to one side.
– Do I have 2 matching sheets? If yes then I put those in the pile with the individual sheets – these would become the back ground of a double page spread.
– Can the pattern be fussy cut somehow? Either into shapes or (see below) journaling cards. If yes, then I went ahead and fussy cut it.
Step Three – Cut It Up
Once that was all finished it was time to be brave. This is the step where I think a lot of us hesitate for so long that we talk ourselves out of it. But I promise you, it will be okay!
Now, full disclosure, this is not my original idea. I am merely standing on the shoulders of greater scrapbookers and designers than myself and showing you how I adapt what I’ve learned. Specifically this is a Shimelle Lain tried and true process. I’ve used it before and I know I will use it again. I encourage you to check out her classes. She has a way of explaining her process that is just completely engaging! For a more detailed look at this specific process check out her class from True Scrap 3.
Okay, back to me! Once I had removed the papers I didn’t like anymore and those I thought would make good back grounds for layouts, I started cutting up all the rest into boxes – squares and rectangles. I prefer to use 4×6 photos on my layouts so most of my boxes are this size or larger. The largest box was 9×9 and I made sure I kept several strips the full 12″ width but of varying heights. These would come in handy as grounding elements on pages and two strips placed end to end would span the 24″ width of a double page spread too.
Here’s what it looked like when I was finished.
Step Four – Time to Create!
This is the fun part! I took those potential background papers and one by one, laid them on my desk and started layering my cut up boxes on them. I did not have photos printed or even knew which photos I might want to use on these layouts. And that didn’t matter! My purpose was to create several starting point layouts so that when I am ready to scrapbook about Christmases past I can just grab one of these and go! Total time saver!
Here’s a look at all the Starting Point layouts I made.
Step Five – Dealing With Embellishments
It was so satisfying to have a stack of finished starting points but I still had a pile of stickers and embellishments to deal with.
I went through them as follows:
– was there a usable alphabet set on the 12×12 sticker sheets? If so I cut it out and threw out the rest of the sheet. These sheets have been in my stash for so long that I had either used all the accent stickers I wanted to use already, or so old that I knew I would never use them on anything! I fought the idea that I was wasting them and that maybe someone somewhere could use that random Santa or snowflake sticker and just chucked it. It felt SO GOOD!
– for the journaling cards, die cuts, and tags/labels I looked at each one and if I like the design and could see it on one of my pages (and since I’d just finished created those pages I had a pretty good idea of what would and what wouldn’t work) then I kept it. If I didn’t love it anymore it got bagged up and tossed into the donate/sell box.
– brads, flair, ribbon, etc – I love my enamel dots and some may argue that brads are really just enamel dots with pins but I decided to toss them all in the donate/sell box. I barely use them anymore and the ones in my stash were no longer calling to me. So out they went. The ribbon too! I only kept the two pieces of flair, 4 square wood veneer pieces and a package of dimensional stickers.
Here’s a look at what I kept.
Step Six – Those Paper Scraps
Last but not least it was time to tackle the paper scraps. Remember at the beginning how I’d put the scraps that were already in my bin to one side? Well this is where I grabbed that pile and sorted through it. Some were ripped and misted over so they got tossed into the recycling bin. Using the same criteria as I’d been using all day I tossed any pieces that I didn’t love, or didn’t coordinate with my new starting point pages, into the donate/sell box.
This is what I was left with.
These will be used as I finish my layouts. I can add extra layers of paper if I need to, or punch out shapes, or use them as journaling boxes. The options are many! If I so desire, I can even use these to create all new layouts by adding card stock from my stash. The point to keep in mind is that these papers are ones that I can envision myself using. I’m invested in them! They make me happy. And really, isn’t that what this hobby is all about?
Phew! That was a long post. Thanks for sticking with me til the end. If you missed Connie’s Advent Activity Banner then go check it out here. And remember to grab your Christmas In July bundle before it’s gone forever.