Tools are awesome! I love tools for all kinds of crafts. Heat tools, scissors, trimmers, punches, paper piercing tools, mats, foam mats, stamp positioners, scissor sharpeners, tearing edges, I could go on and on and on.

The thing is, most of these tools sit there not being used because one day, we just may need them.

The good things about tools is that over time, they are often improved. The bad news is that over time, they are often improved.

But I have learned that stampers are terrible about getting rid of version 1.0!

Which leads to stuff. Which leads to lack of room for things we would use. Which leads to frustration. Which can lead to guilt. Which can lead to overwhelm. Which can lead to not even wanting to make something because it's all just too much.

Important Side Note

I got the best email after I wrote the article on paring down your patterned paper. I love it so much. She said, “Don't you sell these supplies? You're doing a terrible job selling supplies, or you are telling people to throw out stuff so they have to buy new supplies from you.”

My mission with my business has always been to inspire crafters to make more projects. To help them spend time in their craft, because crafting is such a beautiful stress reliever, and we need more good in our world. Period. That's my mission.

When stampers avoid their crafting space because they have too much stuff, no one wins in that scenario. The crafter doesn't win because she or he isn't crafting. The recipients that love receiving your cards don't win because they aren't getting your beautiful, handmade creations. And yep, I don't win because you aren't ordering supplies from me because you are already overwhelmed.

So if I am taking a week off from “selling” to share these tips with you, it's because I will joyfully invest this time into my stampers to help them have a more productive craft space! It aligns with my mission, my vision, and hopefully your crafting goals as well.

Back to Tools

Be brave and pull out every tool you have. As you pull them out, sort them into three piles:

  • What the heck is this thing and why did I buy it? And I haven't used this in forever.
  • I've got multiples or similar items.
  • I will die if this tool doesn't stay on my craft table.

Those are your three piles.

The last one is the pile that should be the smallest. We will talk about how to get that into your smallest pile.

The first pile, put those items in a box. I know the “but” in this one.

“But what if I need it one day?” If you find you are absolutely lost without it, you can repurchase it. The mass majority of the time, you won't need to repurchase it.

If it's THE tool you will want later on, it's usually because 2.0 came out, and you will want 2.0, but you will have guilt or hesitancy because you've got 1.0 collecting dust.

The middle pile may take a bit of time to sort through. So take a look at the things that have multiple uses. For example, I recently recommended an Envelope Punch Board in the article on using up patterned paper. The backside of that punch board has the best corner rounder punch ever! So if you have the board, you also have a corner rounder.

Your paper craft space mainly needs a total of 3 pairs of scissors: fine tip scissors, ribbon scissors, junk scissors. These are the ones where you can cut prongs off of brads, open packages, etc.

The exception to this is if you have pinking shears that you use. However, if you have a die set that has a pinking edge, (also known as a zig zag look), you don't need both. The die takes up way less room. If the die is in a set with all flowers, remember what we talked about in this post, it's okay to only keep one die from a “set”.

Remember that just because things are sold as a set doesn't obligate you to keep it as a set.

I thought of another example of this: Salt and Pepper. You normally buy salt and pepper shakers in a set. We usually wouldn't dream of only keeping one. I found the cutest set about a year ago, but only needed one. I bought the set, but instead of salt and pepper, I used it for cinnamon.

The point of this is that, sometimes it makes more sense to not keep it all if it wasn't the original plan or if you find out that you don't use the rest of the set.

Just like stamps, punches and dies go out of style. There are punches that you have used and used, they have had a good life with you, but you don't use them as much, as you now have one you like more.

Label punches come mind. These too, come in and out of style. OR they coordinated with a stamp set that has gone out of style or you are tired of it.

There's a stamper that I helped organize her craft room, and she had over 300 punches. One of her punch shelves actually broke under the weight of all her punches. That's almost a punch a day! There are 3 new punches she was wanting, but she had no more room on her shelf. When we talked getting rid of some, she just kept saying she couldn't do it. She had spent a lot of money on them and “might need them one day”.

We sat down and looked at her cards she has made and I asked her to show me her favorites. She had a large stash of cards. We took her favorite 100 cards, where she had used a punch, and went over to her punch shelves and compared. When we saw a card that used a punch, we pulled the punch and set the card with it.

You can probably guess how this goes, but I will continue just in case. We pulled out less than 20 punches and had all the 100 cards lined up with those punches, with the exception of circles punches. Because those are an absolute staple in my mind.

That meant that she had over 250 punches she wasn't using.

Another stamper of mine didn't have her physical cards, as she had mailed them. But she had taken pictures of her cards, so we used those on her phone. Same activity, with less punches, similar results.

If they aren't being used, they are dead weight. And dead weight leads to less crafting, it truly does.

What Items I Hear About Most With Duplicates

We already dove into punches, so here are some others…

Heat Tools

This one cracks me up. Heat tools have come a long way over the last few decades. My first one died a slow painful death-ish. When I say slow, it would barely heat up. It would take me forever to heat emboss a simple image. So I gave in and finally bought another one.

Yet, I guess I thought the first one was the little engine that could, lol. I hung onto it, just in case my new one died, then I would still have the original even though it would barely heat.

I thought I was unique in that. But I learned that I was like so many other paper crafters.

I'm amazed at how many stampers have more than one, but only have two hands. I haven't met a single three-handed paper crafter.

“But what if I have a friend that comes over and may want to use it?”

If it's imperative that only both people use the heat tool at the exact same time, then keep both. But I've yet to come across that happening. I used to run events with 15-20 people with one heat gun, and we all did fine.

Ditch the 1.0 version and enjoy using the 2.0 version.

Trimmers/Cutters

Raise your hand if you have a trimmer in a drawer that you can no longer get blades for but you are hopeful that one day the blades will magically become available again.

Spoiler alert: the blades aren't coming back.

Have a great quality trimmer and a great guillotine cutter for cutting multiple sheets. I have a mini cutter only because it fits on video better than my bigger cutters do. But if I wasn't doing videos, it would go. Some people travel, so this makes sense if you travel with a little cutter.

Get rid of the others and move on 🙂

Adhesives

My advice on this is use it up! What I often see is that stampers have little bits in a million dispensers. I get that tape runners also have 1.0 and 2.0. It's so tempting to hold onto those old rolls even after you open up a new package of a different brand.

If they aren't your favorites or don't work well, throw them out.

There is a type of tape that I was given a few years back from a neighbor. She gave it to me because she thought I could make it work better than she could.

Uhhhh… that's not how that works. I can't make adhesive work better. It either works or it doesn't.

And what works for some, doesn't work for all. Where you live plays a big part in how tape works. Humidity doesn't just affect hair 🙂

Then with what's left, set a goal to use up the ones that have the least amount left. Don't use anything else until that first one is used up. It should go quickly since you are starting with what has the least amount. Pair it down to where you have your favorite liquid adhesive, favorite foam adhesive, favorite tape runner, and favorite heavy duty tape. Then it's okay to have back ups of those, but stick to those brands.

Hole Makers

In this category, I'm including hole setters for eyelets, hand held punches (like an office supply hole punch), crop-a-diles, paper piercers – if it makes a hole, it's in this category.

Check for your duplicates. I love the crop-a-dile because you can cut through one piece of card stock or 5. So the handheld punches that punch the same sizes need to go.

Eyelets have been out of style for years, which honestly I am sad about. But the truth is, it doesn't look like they are making a comeback anytime soon. So the little tool kits that had the hammer/eyelet setter/and hole punch – let them go. And put the eyelets in with them.

If you have a punch and a handheld punch that are the same, I think you know what I'm going to say…. keep the one that either does the best job, or if they are equal in that area, keep the one that takes up the least amount of space.

Machines

I love machines! I mean, love them!!! I have a lot of machines, and I am not afraid to admit that. I will cover the list I have, why I have them, and what I don't have.

In order for me to maintain complete transparency, I will have to split this into what I have for business and what I have for a crafter.

I am going to start as a crafter…

I have a Big Shot, an electric Big Shot, the big size Die Cutting Machine from Stampin' Up!, the Mini Die Cutting Machine from Stampin' Up!, and a Scan'n'Cut.

As I have shared before, I am blessed to have two craft spaces. It wasn't on the must-have list when we were house shopping, but the right home for the right price had an extra bedroom and I claimed it. One room is for paper crafting and the other room is for general crafts (painting, sewing, etc).

I have dexterity issues with my right hand and I am right handed. While I don't hide this, it's not something I feel compelled to share regularly. I have good days and I have bad days.

I much prefer a manual machine over electric. I have too many cords in my craft room as is, so the less cords, the happier I am. But there are days that I can't turn the handle on the Big Shot machine. So I purchased an electric machine.

When Stampin' Up! came out with their new die cutting machine, I waited over a year before buying it. But I was at lunch with a friend who did have one and she said it rolls so much smoother than the Big Shot and she said I should try it, she knows about my right hand issues. If I didn't like it, she said she would buy it off of me because she likes to have a backup machine (she obviously hadn't read my de-stashing series because I am just now writing it, lol!).

I bought it, and I do like it better than the Big Shot, it's easier on my hands and it folds up. So the Big Shot went upstairs with some of my Bigz Dies that I have and use (circles and shapes like that, that I use with fabric.) There are still days that I need to use my electric Big Shot, so I do have both full size machines in my stamp room.

I was able to get the mini machine for half price, and my Stamping Family members were the ones that encouraged that. I have it and I like it, and I use it, it folds up and doesn't take up much room.

I have the Scan'n'Cut for cutting out images that don't have dies. I did think when I first got it that I would never have to buy dies again. HA!

See, these companies are freaking brilliant. Rarely do you have a set of dies that only cuts out the stamped images. They also have these great border dies, or cute tags, or some piece that has nothing to do with the stamped images, but you will use them a lot. There was a set recently that comes to mind, I only wanted the little “bonus” cover plate, it had nothing to do with the stamp set images, but it was in that set.

There is a lot to learn with this machine. I don't use it often, it's much faster to fussy cut something out most of the time, but there are days I simply can't.

What I don't have anymore: The Sizzix side-kick and the big clunky machine that you have to press down the handle to cut. (The Big Shot replaced those.) The Texture Boutique – that's was such a disappointing tool. My Gemini machine, it wasn't reliable. And I think that's it from a crafter perspective.

From a business perspective, I have both a Silhouette Cameo and a Cricut. I do some contract work and sometimes the companies I am doing work with prefer one over the other. I don't use them often, they are in my upstairs craft area. But I have to have them for work.

If your machines take up a lot of room, consider the “2.0 models” that fold up and take up less space. If one causes you pain, maybe a “2.0 model” will solve that. And get rid of any machine that only die cuts or or embosses, keep one that does both.

Ink Pads

I struggled a bit to figure out in which article I should talk about ink pads. But I think they fit best in with tools, as they are a necessary tool to do anything with your stamps.

Ink colors will shift over time. This is true for stamping inks, this is true for even the daubers that you use at a bingo hall. Temperature and time will both play a role in this. Storing them in sunlight will also play a role.

Ink pads, in general, will last you as long as you have a re-inker for them.

So we will talk about when to pitch them out due to wear/tear/style, and then we will talk about colors in general.

You need to know which style of ink pad you truly prefer. There are linen pads, like the Tuxedo Black ink, and there are foam pads. Foam pads may be made of different types of material. It's truly a personal preference as to which style you prefer.

Once I switched away from linen pads, it was a game changer for me. I really wish the tuxedo pad would switch, but they haven't called me to ask me about this (yet).

If you don't like your ink pads, you won't use them. So let them go.

Overtime, you may find that they crystalize. In the past, I have replaced these as I felt a little overwhelmed by the process of cleaning an ink pad. But recently, I bit the bullet and did it. I went as far as to tell my family I was about to do it and to wish me luck.

I gloved up and mentally was prepared for this to be a process.

It was crazy easy, I'm embarrassed by how long it took me for to actually try this.

Take it to your sink and run water over it. Push the ink out and just let the water do the work. I had all the ink out in under 5 minutes. Then, because I am incredibly impatient, I used a towel to get out all the water, and yes, a bit of ink came out too. So don't use your pretty guest towels to do this. Then I used my hair dryer on low and got it completely dry. If I had been more patient, it would have been dry overnight.

Then I made the mistake of putting too much ink refill on the pad. I thought for sure it would need more than 20 drops – these are the newest Stampin' Up! ink pads I am talking about. I thought for sure it would take at least 1/8 of a bottle of reinker. Nope. 20 drops was too much. So I had to use a paper towel and remove some ink. Moral of the story, start with 10 drops and see how it goes. The linen style used to take 1/4 of a bottle if completely dried out.

From start to finish, I was done with this entire process in under 10 minutes. Next time, no dramatics needed. My ink pad works perfectly, and I have a lot of re-inker left.

Now we will talk about color. Color is a trendy thing. Colors you love today you may be done with tomorrow. And that's okay! And sometimes we buy colors because they came in a set. Yay sets and boo sets all at the same time! (But we've talked about sets before in this series.)

Sometimes we buy them because we want them for a particular patterned paper. Or for a specific holiday. Just like with our stamps, it's okay to get rid of seasonal items. It really is!

Let's talk about seasonal purchases again in how they pertain to ink…. and let's talk about winter coats. If you have been stamping for more than a hot minute, I am willing to bet that you have replaced a winter coat more recently than you have gotten rid of an ink pad.

Your old coat may work just fine, but you wanted a new style, a new color, whatever it is, you wanted something newer.

Color is my favorite thing when it comes to crafting. Add some new ink pads into your stash and INSTANTLY, your stamps have a new life.

But if you aren't using them, just like other supplies, they become this weight. We say things like, “I need new ink pads like I need another hole in my head.” And why?

The weight of what we have that we aren't using keeps us in a creative rut.

Whereas out with the old and in with the new colors can make such a world of difference.

There was this color that recently, and thankfully retired. Stamping Family knows my dislike for this color. Yet there were patterns of paper that kept including it year after year. So I used this color only with those papers and really only under duress. They announced that color was going and I couldn't use up the pretty patterned paper that had that color in it fast enough. I used up that pretty paper and that ink pad, re-inker, marker, card stock, everything that even hinted at that color was gone in an instant. It felt Ah-maz-ing!

Just like with all tools, the newer colors are often better than the old. Because new color is exciting and because we are sometimes just tired of a color. Blushing Bride is not the color I just talked about, but I was done with it before it even officially retired. I was bored with it and I had zero reason to keep it.

A friend of mine gasped when she saw there was an open spot in my ink pad slot. She said that would drive her nuts. So she keeps buying new ink pad holders from a really expensive place because she feels like she can't get rid of any ink pads.

I asked her before I started writing this section how many ink pads she has. Over 150. I know for sure that she doesn't use 150 ink pads. She told me some of them haven't been used in over a decade but she is still buying more storage racks! I asked her why… “because she might need them one day.”

I've been getting rid of ink pads for over two decades and I'm fine. The only one I had kept was Brilliant Blue because it was the best blue ever. Then we got Blueberry Bushel and out went Brilliant Blue. Blueberry Bushel is a great replacement and once again, all is good in the world.

Go through your colors and break up “sets”. Keep what you love and box up what you are tired and bored with. More colors will come out, it will be okay.

Blocks/Platforms

This section is our last and we will get through it quickly. Kudos to all of you that have read this far!

We need acrylic blocks for our stamps to work now. With wood mount stamps being a rarity, these blocks are necessary.

If you have bought from several companies, you know you have some you never use. I can't stand those thin ones, I feel like I have this giant hand with this baby block and my hand will eat the block. I get ink on my fingers trying to get them inked up.

I also can't stand oval or circular blocks. I really can't handle curved blocks because I can't stamp straight with them. They are my kryptonite.

I need blocks that have grooves, especially for grip strength. My fingers have to go into the grooves or else I often drop the blocks.

Go through your blocks. You know what you like, get rid of what doesn't work for you.

When it comes to stamping platforms, man do you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your right platform. And I have had almost all of them.

When we were looking for our second house, while living in a hotel, our realtor gave us amazing advice. In one week we would look at about 30 houses. He said we could only choose between two. The one that was our favorite and the house we were currently standing in. We could only talk about the house 5 houses ago if it was our favorite. So that was it, two houses. The favorite and the one we were standing in.

I use that same theory for so many things in this life, because too many choices leads to indecision. (Think about the Cheesecake Factory menu for a second. I have a great story about that, but it has nothing to do with stamping, so another time….)

So when it comes to platforms, if you are trying to find the right one, only keep your favorite. If you want to try another one, fine, but then decide which one is your favorite and get rid of the other. These may not take up a lot of room, but when you have several plus your blocks, the sum is greater than the parts.

Whew!

It's a good thing I have my computer plugged in. It's taken me over 4 hours to write this and edit this. Four hours of straight typing going off my hot mess of a note sheet.

But the feedback on the first couple of published articles on decluttering have been a big hit. Your comments have let me know that.

So if you want me to keep going, please leave me a comment that includes any aha moments for you, any key takeaways, or what you went and pulled to box up.

We will talk about what to do with your boxes, I promise. But for now, we are focusing on guilt-free removal of overwhelm from your craft area. And cleaning burns calories right? So this is a two-fer!!

Next up, we will dive into accessories. Are you sitting there thinking, oh no, I kinda hoped she would skip those? If so, you probably need to read it for sure, lol! XOXO, Meg

Share This: