Trendabilities: De-Stash the Stash

 A mixed-media trend report by Rebecca E. Parsons

Time to DeStash the Stash

Have you taken a look at your stash of art-making bits and pieces of late? Well I did recently as I was packing to move to smaller digs and simplify my life. Yeah right!!! The picture below inspired me to take massive action on a life-long challenge…My Stash!

The Stash of All Stashes

What I have come to lovingly call my stash is probably the stash of all stashes. I began to collect, amass, stockpile, accumulate and store—okay hoard—treasures when I was a small child. Through the years (I am talking decades here) that collection has grown to fill a large trunk, several suitcases, most of my craft boxes, a few junk drawers and, now, a good part of an off site storage unit. UGGGHHHH…my name is Rebecca and I have a problem!

I am an artist of Mixed Media, Altered Art, Journaling, Collage, Digital Art, etc. I look at Ephemera as inspiration and a necessity to my creativity. I jump when I see something discarded on the sidewalk. I drool over things in thrift stores. I covet rusty bits at the flea market. I know that you know exactly what I am talking about here!

Over the years these things sometimes find their way into my art. However, more times than not, I find myself so enamored with a piece of ephemera that I cannot bear to actually use it in my art. And therein lies the cause of this conundrum…

To help myself, I turned to the dictionary for a definition:

e·phem·er·a (noun)

1. Something that is transitory and without lasting significance

2. A range of collectable items that were originally designed to be short-lived

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Okay, this does help somewhat. If I reframe my perception of my ‘treasures’ to think of them as ‘transitory and without lasting significance’ I just might be able to use them or let them go. I said might…

Destashing (Detaching) 101 for Artists

I have devised a system, much like that of professional organizers who seem to hold no thing too dear.  I am turning it into a game of sorts so I don’t get overwhelmed or bored which would result in complete work stoppage. So I toss (pun) this little Destash 101 Tutorial your way to use as you see fit.

You will need:

3 boxes/baskets

3 labels: KEEP, GIVE, SELL

Containers of ephemera

Trash container

Plenty of resolve to let go

How To:

  1. Assemble your boxes/baskets and label each. Place on floor.
  2. Take out one container of ephemera and place it on the floor.
  3. Sit in the middle and begin sorting each piece from your stash into one of the three bins. Be determined to let go. NOTE: If you find that the KEEP container has much more than the GIVE and SELL containers…have a talk with yourself about your goal. Repeat process with items in KEEP bin. NOTE 2: You can always scan or take a photo of an item you hate to part with. This can be used again and again in your art!!!
  4. When you have emptied the container of ephemera (hopefully the baskets have equal amounts of stuff), repeat the process with another container of ephemera. HINT: Do not try to sort everything in one day.
  5. When the GIVE box is full, seal it and take it to the car to donate.
  6. When the SELL box is full, have your friend, spouse or kids make small 10-12 piece packets for sale. If you try to do this step yourself, you may find yourself taking things back. So it is best to have someone who is not attached to the things do this. Have them photograph each for Etsy or EBay, list them and sell them. NOTE: When the money comes in, use it for a family get together or fun time…not a trip to the thrift store!!!
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 until all ephemera has been processed.
  8. Congratulate yourself!

Know that the possibilities are endless.

Connect and Interact with Me

Please tell me how this process worked for you. I love to connect and interact with you…so please share your thoughts below!

Rebecca E. Parsons is the creative force behind Cre8tive Compass Magazine, Cre8Tiva’s Blog and Artistically Speaking Talk Show. In her spare time, Rebecca is a digital and photographic mixed-media R-tiste, Retreat Leader, Dreamer, Possibility Coach, Lifelong Communicator & Blissful Wordsmith—just one inspired creative soul on a journey to Cre8Topia. Unconventional and delightfully curious, she is passionate about helping others embrace the artist within and create a life around their passion.



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3 Responses to Trendabilities: De-Stash the Stash

  1. Genevieve says:

    Hi Rebecca… What an amazing coincidence! I have been doing something similar. For the last ten years, I have been an equal-opportunity artist, trying everything that struck my fancy. Now, I have decided to focus my work, and I have been de-stashing for the last three weeks.

    I gave a lot of stuff to my artistic nieces, and now I’m having a garage sale this Saturday. I created a web page where you can see a preview of the sale. That’s what I had as of a week ago; there’s even more stuff now.

    After the garage sale, all the leftover books will go the local Friends of the Library used book store where I volunteer, and the rest will be given away. (The scariest thing, though, is that when I look at my studio, I don’t seem to have made much of a dent.)

  2. cathy ward says:

    My name is Cathy and I have the exact same problem! I can relate to every word you wrote, especially the line “I am so enamored with a piece of ephemera that I cannot bear to actually use it in my art”. I have moved twice in the last 5 years and have tried so hard to down-size but I just can’t do it! I really like your suggestion for the three bins and plan to give it a try – thanks for the tips!

  3. emgoh says:

    I’m trying to do this right now! I even have my three boxes already started. Hubby teaches a photo class at the senior center nearby and my plan is to take a lot of stuff over there for their art & craft room (various paper ephemera, fabric, etc.). I also need to go through sewing patterns. I realized I must have about 100 or so and the size range is all over the place (which matches how my personal size has been all over the place over the years!).

    Part of me considered selling a lot on Etsy or similar, but, honestly, I just want things gone so I can have some space to work on the things I want to do right now. I live in a teeny one-bedroom apartment with an English major hubby who came with tons of books and bikes and there just isn’t room for a lot of stuff that isn’t really used anymore.