Today Nerd Nest Challenges Creative Team member Jen is here to share her take on May’s Nerd Nest Challenge, Stash Bust.

The idea of busting your stash in digital scrapping is a bit different than it is for paper. But don’t run away paper people, I think some of what I have to say later can apply to you too!

The pace of new product releases in digi is so much faster than it is in paper. I know I can look forward to anywhere between 40-100 new products releasing each week at my favorite store. In digi, our “stash” can grow as big as our hard drives can handle. Then we buy bigger hard drives, keep collecting, and nobody in our families knows the difference. There are no messy piles, only folders and files tucked safely out of site. This can lead to major hoarding issues but I justify it to myself by thinking that digi scrappers keep the “hard drive industry” strong.

But in truth, I’m not really satisfied with that system. I probably only use 10% of what I buy. I buy a kit, or get one through a Creative Team, use it once or twice, and move on to the next pretty thing that comes along. Sometimes I’ll get a kit for one particular paper or ellie and end up not even using it. My idea of “stash busting” is using a kit more than once. I think the same can be said of a lot of digi scrappers.

Back in March I decided to try something different with my kits. I’m obsessed with “kill a kit” videos, especially ones by Nic Mackin and Nichole Jones I think it’s so fun to see how many pages you can get from one collection. So I decided to try it myself.

I got the opportunity to work with the Storyteller collab kit by Blue Heart Scraps and Love It Scrap It. It has 30 papers, 2 alphas, and 101 elements.

Looking through the ellies, I saw the “I am a storyteller” sticker and immediately knew what I wanted to scrap about. I’ve made a couple of pages about why I scrapbook, but not one about why I’m on Creative Teams. The sticker was a perfect jumping off point for that page. I loved a lot of the pattern papers so I chose a template with plenty of paper layers. Blue is my favorite color and I use it in most of my “all about me” pages, so choosing papers was pretty easy and the page came together quickly.

Stash Busting, Digi Style with Jen 1 | Nerd Nest Challenge

For my second page, I wanted to use the “5 W’s” stickers. I thought it would be cute to use them with some recent photos of Miss Kitty and our baby drone. I used the same white background paper because most of my 2016 pages have white or neutral colored backgrounds. (That’s one advantage with digi- you can duplicate supplies and use them over and over)

Storyteller collab by Blue Heart Scraps and Love it Scrap It

After that, I didn’t have any more immediate ideas of pages to make so I took a different route. I made a copy of the kit and moved it to a “stash” folder so I wouldn’t lose the original kit. I deleted most of the things I’d used for the first two pages and looked at what was left.

I knew the minty green supplies would be the most difficult for me to work with. I just don’t have a lot of that color in my life. I made a new folder, separated out the green stuff, and labeled it “storyteller green”. There were a few yellowy gold supplies and I made a folder for them. I didn’t want it to be too monochromatic, so I added a few red and blue green things, which gave me the idea for my third LO. I continued to divide supplies up into mini kits according to what I thought went well together. I made sure each mini kit had a good mix of solid and pattern papers and added in elements that went with the main kit colors.

I wanted to have certain elements available to use in each kit. I use these kinds of supplies a lot, so each mini kit got a copy of the white background paper, a doily, paint or a scatter, and some flowers and leaves. Having my go-to supplies in each kit would make them easier to use. After that I divided up what was left based on color and type. I divided the neutral colored allies evenly among the kits and made sure each kit had tags, fasteners, and some kind of quote card or word sticker. After breaking up the kit, I ended up with four or five smaller mini kits. I was heavily influenced by how Nic and Nichole were breaking big collections into smaller kits on their channels at the time/

Looking through the “yellow/ red/ blue green” folder reminded me of Christmas. They aren’t exactly Christmas colors, but they were perfect to scrap January photos with the Christmas tree in the background. After I made this page, I deleted most of the supplies I’d used and dispersed the rest among my other mini’s. I didn’t overthink it. I set my timer and the whole process took about a half an hour. I’m sure that could be sped up even more with practice.

Storyteller collab by Blue Heart Scraps and Love It Scrap It

After making the third page, I was ready to put my mini kits aside for awhile and move on. They chilled out on my hard drive for a couple of months until I got May’s challenge assignment. It was time to revisit them!

I challenged myself to use the dreaded minty green kit first. It was actually easier to find photos for it than I’d originally thought. Sometimes it helps to step away for a bit and come back with fresh eyes. I went with a Project Life page this time. I can’t say it’s my very favorite page ever, but it’s one more week finished and that’s what counts!

Stash Busting Digi Style with Jen 4 | Nerd Nest Challenge

I had made a “blue and red” kit based off of a pattern paper that I liked so I went in search of photos with blue and red. The blues in these photos don’t match at all, but I’m ok with that. I’m really into making companion pages lately. If there is an event I want to scrap with lots of photos, I’ll take the main one or two photos and make a traditional LO with the things I want to remember from that event. Then if I have time I’ll make another page with lots of photos and a few more details. I feel like the story gets told well that way.

Storyteller kit by Blue Heart Scraps

Stash Busting, Digi Style with Jen 6 | Nerd Nest Challenge

And there you have it- six pages from one kit! And a pretty good variety too, All About Me, Project Life, a big event, and some everyday moments. And I could probably squeeze out a couple more.

Here are a few bonus tips for any kind of scrapper wanting to use up supplies.

Go with your gut. You bought this collection for a reason. What stood out to you when you first saw it? Was it a certain paper, an ellie with a quote that spoke to you?

Make a list. Sometimes when I get a new kit, I’ll brainstorm all the ways I can think of to use it. I never actually make ALL those pages, but it’s a great jumping off point.

Go off-theme. Try taking all the neutral elements in a kit and using them on a page.

Cover it up. If you can’t think of a way to use something, try tucking it into a cluster so only a part shows. Cover up sentiments on journal cards that you don’t like with a smaller piece of paper or a photo.

Use all the things. Do you love the papers from a kit and want to use every single scrap? Go for it! That’s why you bought it. You’ll appreciate it much more on a page than you will if it’s stuck in a drawer or on a hard drive.

Go with what you know- Do you love doilies or wood veneer? Make sure you have those things available. If you’re a paper scrapper that might mean having containers of those things within easy reach. If you’re digi, consider starting a “favorites” folder with copies of your most-loved supplies.

Challenge yourself- Sometimes it’s fun to get out of your comfort zone. Pull out that punch you haven’t used in years, or try out a new photoshop style. Adding a little something different can help you see your stash in a new way.

I hope this has inspired you to dig into your stash, whether you scrap with paper or pixels!

Jen Johnson is originally from Nashville, but ran away to South Florida to marry a boy she met on the Internet. She has always been a memory keeper, but never realized it until she discovered digital scrapbooking in 2009. Now she loves to document her life in SoFlo with her husband, stepson, and cat, cleverly named Miss Kitty. Her biggest scrapbook is the “All About Jen” book. She worries that might sound narcissistic, but who else is more qualified to tell her story? She loves to travel, read, eat good food, and watch bad TV. She has a blog, hclappy scraps, where she writes about digiscrapping, minimalist Project Life, (step)motherhood, and her search for that ever-elusive “healthy lifestyle” everyone talks about. She says Y’all and Yonder a lot, loves run-on sentences, and finds it a bit awkward talking about herself in third person.