Let's get really real about your patterned paper stash! This is often a source of frustration for paper crafters.

See if this tracks with you….

You love paper, you buy paper, you have learned that buying paper in packs is better for coordinating than buying sheets individually. You love some of the paper in the pack, but not all of it. But you hold onto all of it – I mean All. Of. It. because you feel like you have to because one day you just might see an idea using it that magically turns ugly paper into a beautiful swan. It hasn't happened in over a decade, but you still have that paper.

You see more paper you want to buy, but there is this guilt, this weight, this overwhelming feeling of I should use what I have before I buy more paper guilt hanging over you like a dark cloud. You reluctantly buy more paper, hang onto the ugly paper or the paper that will be “just right” at some point to use, but now is not the time.

Fast forward a few years and you have bins and bins, boxes and boxes, racks and racks of all this patterned paper sitting there.

And there we sit, staring at all this paper that there is no way we will ever use all of it, feeling like poop.

If you nodded your head to any of this, let me share some ideas with you that may not be popular, but they have saved my sanity for years. It took me a while to embrace these ideas, and some tears to actually use these ideas. Now these are ideas I THRIVE on and won't look back.

It's starts with Principle #1: Craft Supplies Are Meant to Be Used

Just like clothes are supposed to be worn. Let's dive deeper into that idea, just as a warm up activity.

We buy clothes, right? We often buy more than we truly need. We hold on to some clothes.

The ones we hold onto are either for sentimental reasons – I still have t-shirts from 1994 that I still wear, not even lying about that.

We hold on to clothes that don't fit any longer because cake is yummy, and so is chips and salsa. And being a woman sucks sometimes.

And we have clothes in our closets that quite possibly still have the tags on them.

Am I right about these things?

Overtime, it accumulates to a point where we have to do something about it.

For our Lalapalooza shirts that we will still wear, that may have been 1993 now that I think about it – keep them and wear them. But when they wear out, let them go.

For the ones that no longer fit, we sometimes have to have that real conversation of will we ever fit back into them. And if we do, will we really want those particular clothes or will we want new cute clothes that help us celebrate a weight loss? We know in our knower the answer to that. The hardest part is accepting it. But the clothes that we know need to go, we need to let them go.

Ahhh, the clothes with the tags still on. There are somethings that truly look better on the hanger, right? We go into the dressing room with the cutest shirt ever. It has this cross over thingy going on with this adorable pocket up top. We try it on and think, “What the heck?!?!?” And back on the hanger it goes. And we say things like, yep – that looks better on the hanger.

OR, we try on this super cute shirt that we just know it will go great with this pair of black jeans we have at home because the shirt has some black in it. We try it on, it looks great, we get home and it looks terrible with that perfect pair of black jeans. We try it on with everything else we own, and nothing works. So it sits on the rack in case you ever do find the right pair of pants to pair it with.

ALL of these things and feelings are the same with our patterned paper.

If you have been card making for more than a hot second, you know that you have patterned paper that you will never use on a card.

You know you have bought paper you thought was adorable, it arrives, you open it and think, “what was I thinking?”

And you know you have paper that truly matches nothing else you have.

So now what?

Take a big gulp of that Dr. Pepper and hang tight with me for a bit…

There are two ways to tackle it, but know that a lot of it just needs to go. We will talk about responsible gifting, selling, and such in another post, so don't get ahead.

But we go back to Principle #1: Craft Supplies Are Meant to Be Used

If you aren't going to honestly use it, it equals guilt AND I could take it a step further and dare to say that it even holds you back from greater crafting because you are keeping bad paper and not buying new paper that could help you make more cards! You're not making your best cards because you have guilt paper!

I work very hard to be as transparent as possible. I am both a crafter and I run two craft businesses. So if you are thinking that I am writing this from the perspective as a demonstrator, please know that this is from my crafter brain, not my business brain. I am very fortunate to have two crafts rooms in my house. One for work and one for play. All of this stems from my play room, not my work room. I just want to put that out there so we are clear on where this stems from.

Okay, so let's talk about how to tackle this patterned paper issue…

Step 1: Set a timer. You are going to be sorting into 3 stacks in rapid order. For every inch of patterned paper, set a 5 minute timer. I know some of you have over 15 inches of just patterned paper alone from a recent Zoom in Stamping Family. Some is more than that ❤️

The three stacks you will sort into:

  • Paper you KNOW you will use in the next 6 months
  • Paper that's pretty and you don't want to get rid of but not sure it will ever make it onto a card
  • Paper that needs to go (and where it goes will be another blog post)

You will rapid fire sort these. And you can do all your paper in one setting or do it 5 minutes a day. The goal is for the first stack of what you will use to be a realistic stack and it should be your smallest if you are truly looking to pare down your stash. I personally don't keep more than 1″ of 12″x 12″ patterned paper. If I have more than an inch, I didn't pare it down enough.

Paper that needs to go, goes into a box NEVER to be opened again. Seal it up with tape. Label it: Patterned Paper to Go. Don't go back. You don't need it, I promise!

The pretty paper you aren't sure what to do with… here we go with my best tips:

Idea #1

Invest in an Envelope Punch Board.

This one is by We R Memory Keepers. If it looks like something Stampin' Up! used to carry, it is! It was always created by We R Memory Keepers, they made the Stampin' Up! one for them with their colors. It's called private labeling and We R Memory Keepers allows for public labeling. It's a win/win!

It's about $30 which is dirt cheap you're going to use it and use up patterned paper!

For an A2 size card, you start with 8″ x 8″ paper.

Spend a smidge of time cutting down your 12″ paper to 8″ x 8″ and put the left over paper you cut off into a new box to seal up and mark it to go.

Bring up a movie and make some envelopes with your new Envelope Punch Board.

Okay, and for all of you thinking, “But wait, my envelope needs to match my card.” I will lean back in my chair, put my hand on my chin, and ask you this….. “Why?”

Most of the time it's because someone told you they need to match or because you just feel like they need to match.

BUT…. people keep cards, not envelopes. They are going in the trash! They may tear off your address part and keep that, but other than that – they are going in the trash!

The next question I get asked with this is, “How do you write on them?”

I love the 2″ x 3″ Avery Labels. You can print on them or write on them. They are the perfect size for an envelope and you don't have to worry about the edges coming up on them if you printed on paper and glued it on.

You can have a stash of holiday envelopes and other envelopes. Two stashes total.

With what you spend on envelopes, you will rapidly cover the cost of your Envelope Punch Board.

Idea #2

Invest in a We R Memory Keepers Gift Bag Punch Board.

You can take your pretty paper and make your own custom gift bags for small items such as jewelry, gift cards, and other lightweight gifts.

You can make 3 sizes of gift bags, just make sure you have a strong adhesive like Tear & Tape.

I LOVE these little gift bags and you can make it in minutes. These usually range from $19-$25 – again, if you use it, it's a money saver because you already have the patterned paper!

UPDATE: Many of you have asked about how to use these two punch boards after this post went live. I don't have any public videos, but I do have this great online class, that will walk you though both of these and more!

Idea #3

Make your own crinkle! An actual crinkle paper machine is EXPENSIVE. Like crazy expensive. And crinkle paper is expensive too. But with a little effort and a good movie, you can make your own in no time – because you already have the patterned paper!

Start with this handy dandy little hand cranker thing – also called a Paper Crimper. This one is about $15 and the ratings are insanely good.

Cut your patterned paper into the width your Paper Crimper allows for. Crimp about 10 sheets at a time and then set the aside into a stack.

Invest in a small Paper Shredder like this one.

I like this one because you can use it over any waste bin, it's small and can store easily, and it's only about $30. AND this isn't one that will cross shred, it's not meant for deep level security, it will cut your paper in strips.

So crimp first, then cut the opposite direction.

And for about $45, you can make unlimited amount of crinkle paper! The last bag my daughter picked up was $9!!!

AND… you have the paper.

Three Fun Tips

Okay, so these are my 3 favorite tips for what to do with your second stack of paper, the paper that's pretty – you won't use it on a card anytime soon, but you want to get some use out of it.

Next level tip: Grab a clear box from somewhere, you may already have one, and keep the Envelope Punch Board, the Gift Bag Punch Board, the Paper Crimper, and your Paper Shredder, all in one box and label it so you can easily find it. These are not supplies you will need all the time, so store them.

I prefer a clear box because I need to see what's inside it!

Let Me Hear From You

As I said in my newsletter that started this entire conversation about de-stashing your craft room, I want to know what you need help with. The #1 response was patterned paper. I want you to leave me a comment below and let me know what you think about these ideas. Are you inspired, excited, depressed – anything after reading this? I have no idea if this type of post is helpful or not, so the best way is to leave me a comment!

The plan is to cover scraps in the next post. XOXO, Meg

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