Hello my creative memory keeping sisters!
Hands up if you are, or have ever been, a hoarder of scrumptious memory keeping products. I know I was for years. And I’m talking close to a decade here. I would want to purchase everything and once I had everything I would get great delight in carefully organizing the goodies and inducting them into my already crazy big stash. For me, that organization process was half the fun. I know you all know what I mean.
One day I looked around my little creative nook and realized that the amount of product I had largely outweighed the amount of creativity I was doing. Sure I had projects on the go but I was becoming more and more behind on those projects. Traditional scrapbooking layouts, plans for daybooks, my Project Life® albums. They were all beginning to be too much for me to face. I had lost my creative mojo because I was feeling totally overwhelmed. I would look at the beautiful, expansive variety of products that I had collected over the years and simply didn’t know what to choose, where to start.
My product hoarding had beaten me and the result? My dedication and enthusiasm for my beloved hobby/obsession/love of memory keeping had been greatly affected.
About three years ago I made the decision to try and not buy any new memory keeping products. I made the decision to try and use everything in my stash. This trying went on months and months…and months. And I was failing. I bought more and used even less. My creativity was still pretty much non-existent. And the memories of our everyday lives were whizzing by, uncaptured, untold.
Sounds melodramatic, but, sweeties, that’s exactly how it was.
January 2014. A new year, a new challenge and a new determination to reclaim my hobby/obsession/love of memory keeping. Telling our stories was, is, so important to me. And the effort to change my ways was going to be worth it.
So I made a deal with myself. Don’t buy any more product. Use, or give away, what you have. Get down to the bare minimum by the end of the year and then you can purchase a subscription of your choice, which I hadn’t done in years.
My theory was that if I gave myself more physical room I would then have more mental space to get back to the reason why I started this whole memory keeping gig in the first place which was, of course, to record, to capture, to tell our story.
Oh girls I found it so very, very difficult in the beginning. And it took a long time. But I did it. Slowly and surely. I started with the pattern papers. I went through countless 12x12’s. I had a pile on the left of the ones I wanted to keep and a pile on the right of the ones I wanted to pass on. The left always ended up bigger than the right. I went through this process three times. You can see why I had given myself an entire year to reach my purging goal. Embellishments? Oh they were a heartbreaking nightmare to go through but I did it. Over time I sorted, I used, I gave away, I let go.
Fast forward about six months. Six months of being mindful and aware and of saying “no” to myself each time I saw a product that would make my knees go weak. I was beginning to see the change. The physical change. Space! And I was beginning to feel proud of myself instead of being down on myself for my effort. I was gaining momentum. I was making it happen.
Here’s how I did it:
1. I used product. Crazy idea hey! But, I didn’t just use it I embellished the heck out of my projects. Looking back I probably went a little too far but instead of cringing when I look back on those days of creativity I remind myself that I was on a very important mission for the grater good of my hobby and I smile.
2. I created a craft box for my four babes to use. They thought all their Christmases had come at once me giving them products out of my precious "hands off kiddos" stash. I admired how they just got stuck in and used all the prettiness. Freely with imagination and fun. A huge and beautiful result of this was that they were creating. The girls had begun to become more interested in recording their own memories. It was really cool to watch. And it made me very happy.
3. I would put memory keeping bundles together as gifts for my girls friends for birthdays or "just because gifts." They loved them! What girl doesn’t love getting this kind of fun stuff as a gift? The result of this was encouraging others to create. Again, it made me happy.
4. I didn’t throw anything away. I couldn’t bring myself to do that. So with all the other products that I didn’t think were "on trend" enough to give to my babes or their friends I boxed up and gave it to my children’s school. Just the other day I was helping out in Henry’s kindergarten class and there was my box of goodies still being used 18 months later. Sharing the love. It felt good.
I began this year as a modern day memory keeper feeling fresh and free. I reached my goal and I rewarded myself with a subscription to Studio Calico’s Project Life monthly kits.
In our 2015 Project Life® album I focus on the stories I want to tell and the photographs I want to share. These two aspects of my memory keeping are my priority first and foremost. I have a healthy supply of white textured Project Life® 4x6 and 3x4 cards handy. I have limited my paper and embellishment supply to only what comes in the Project Life® kits and I use as much out of each kit as I can throughout the month. I am able to make one kit stretch over three weeks. The fourth week usually consists of the few left over’s from previous kits. Embellishing less leaves more room for me to journal and tell our story. I appreciate and use freely the products that come in the kits knowing that next month another cute little striped box will be arriving on my door step so the urge to keep product has disappeared. Phew!
But do you know what the best thing is? I’ve got my creative mojo back. I feel renewed. I can’t wait to bring the photos that I’ve captured and the stories that we have made together and write and create.
If you are like me, perhaps just a little bit or melodramatically a lot, and you have lost the want to record your memories because of too much glorious product please don’t despair. There is a way back. If I can do it any one can. The amazing, wonderful, rewarding and oh so important memory keeping gig of ours is definitely one worth changing for.