What an accumulation! It comes in so many forms:
Maybe you have too many shoes....too many purses. Maybe you're an appliance addict, you buy every new gadget that comes down the pike. And then, there's the computer/phone/app mess: every time you turn around there's some new electronic geegaw capturing your attention, something you are quickly convinced that you MUST have.
Here's the deal: when you buy too many shoes, you soon realize that now you have a collection. You can't possibly wear them all often enough.
Same thing with too many purses. I personally have FAR too many purses. I look in that closet and some are OLD, but not old enough to be interesting, you know? Just old enough to look dated, ugh. I have bunches of those pretty beaded evening purses that you buy to go with that ONE certain outfit...
And never wear again.And that appliance/electronic geegaw thing! You know what holds me back from trashing my place up with the latest rice cooker and the newest phone app?
You have to learn how to use them! HEY! It TAKES TIME. So next time you're tempted, think: Say, how much creative time do I want to waste fiddling around with the bells and whistles on this thing? How much head banging do I want to go through with this new app?
Tell you what: start thinking like that, and you'll get over the desire for that new gadget or app REAL QUICK.
You know, it's the same with our workshops.
One of the most enjoyable things about being creative is haunting our fave websites and crafts stores, looking at the sale bins and thinking about what we'd like to make next. That's part of the territory, and it *does* feed your soul with wonderful new ideas. It is NOT a bad thing.
Still, we all get to a place where we're so inundated with product that we don't even know what project to start first. How to handle THAT?
I think the first thing to do before you give anything away, sell anything off or egad! throw anything out! is to pause, think, and ORGANIZE.
Don't destash ANYTHING until you have a focus and an appropriate assessment of where you want to go as an artist. The organization process will assist you to get the right 'bead' on it!
Start by *making lists*. Making a list will help you make sense of where you really want to go as an artist. What's happened via your accumulation, is that you have become overwhelmed. You are suffering from overload and overstimulation.
Cut the frustration, weed out your creative garden and make a PLAN.
One of the first things on your list is to make a space to call your own, if you don't have one. Do you have a dedicated space for your creative activity? If not, NOW is the time to carve out an area where you can make messes and also have a semblance of organization for your goodies. It does not matter if you live in a big house, a townhouse, a little house, an apartment, or a CAMPER! You CAN scope out a little haven that's all your own, where you can go to dream, design and create.
If you have that space already, then clean it up and pull it together. If not, make one, even if it's a tray table and a little cart.
After you have your space, NOW it's time to sort and assess.
It's amazing how many people have stuff just thrown all together in boxes and bins. Get all the beads and put them together. Get all the metal, keep it together. Pull out all your handtools and set them aside. Etc.....and then:
Go to the dollar store or to Walmart and buy appropriate bins for your findings and components. Keep in mind, too, that with beads, you may want to sort them into colorways. Look for, and purchase, appropriate storage.
I like these bins that you can get at JoAnn's:
As you can see, they have the narrow drawers on top, the first two of which have separators, and the rest are blank for you to organize as you wish. Then, the three bottom ones lock, and you can actually take them with you wherever you go. They actually have handles like little suitcases. They are perfect for people who are taking classes, just pack them and go. Or, instead, you could put the stuff in there you don't use as much.
They also have wheels if you want/need to wheel them around. I took them off of the ones shown in the photo, so I could set them on my large worktable. I also have one with wheels upstairs in my bedroom with a tray---for when I get an urge to bead while I watch TV.
I also like these deep drawers that I get at Walmart. You can get a TON of stuff in them and they are only around 12.00 to 18.00 each! (That's more like it for plastic storage, IMHO!)
You can also get---or even make! little racks for your tools. If you have room for pegboard, you can really get a lot of stuff stored, going vertically:
That little yellow metal set of drawers is solely for no-hole pearls of all sorts of sizes. We had it back in the days when I had my little collage line for wholesale, as we used many of them and needed to keep them sorted. Those little metal cases with the drawers will mount right onto your pegboard....and you can use their tops as a mini shelf!
After the sorting and storing process, now is time to take stock of who you want to be as an artist. What sort of work do you want to do? What kind of jewelry making are you most interested in? What do you want your next projects to be?
If your answer is, for example, that you want to learn to patina and rivet brass stampings and then, maybe make polymer clay beads....perhaps that huge paper stash you have accumulated *might* be what you destash.
Ahh.....the fog is clearing already.
One last thing that I'd add is not to expect to organize anything perfectly. Most of the photos I've shared here are pix of when we re-built the Messy Workshop in my basement, where up til now, all of the B'sue Boutiques instructional videos for You Tube are shot. (If you follow that link, by the way, it will take you to the videos---as of today, we have 72).
If I took you into that workshop this morning, however, you would find messes...for sure:
Because of the little messes I make here and there, I find myself often doing mini-destash projects when I have finished what I'm doing. I start by taking out the things I want to keep, cleaning them up and organizing.
The rest I don't want or need to keep goes into a box that I keep to make Muse Boxes. I offer these periodically to those who are in an artistic rut and want to buy a random mishmash of things to ponder, in hopes of provoking new design paths.
Destashing this way works for me because I have a supply business, and customers really like the Muse Boxes. They know I do not always have them available. We don't even list them on the website. You either have to watch for me to announce I have them, or get on a list for one.
For you as an artist, if you start regularly selling destash lots on your Etsy or Artfire stores all the time, people may begin just to haunt your webshop for whatever you're selling off, rather than attract folks who appreciate your ability and artistry.
Another thing is that with destash, you'll need to be prepared to LOSE MONEY, or else work very hard selling little packages by lots. Consider it: if you are trying to establish yourself as a quality artist, then you don't want to have bunches of destash on your Etsy or similar webstore. I've found it's difficult to sell seriously made jewelry for realistic prices, amid packages of sample lots, clearance and destash.
So, think hard about destash. Be SURE you're not going to use the stuff before you load up your webstore with it, and be prepared to say goodbye to it for a pittance, and not look back. If the money is not an issue and you are now CERTAIN you can't use it, you might even want to have a contest giveaway on your blog, or donate the materials to the art department at your local high school.
I hope these ideas will help you get ready to work hard as an artist! Again, start first by assessing what you already have, rather than randomly grabbing and selling it off. Then, it's important to make lists, organize and get a clear view of what sort of projects you really want to undertake. That way you will ultimately conserve time, money, and purchase the things in future, that will really help you get where you are going.
And as always, I would love to hear your comments and ideas on organization and destash, so! feel free to leave your thoughts here on my blog!