Stash Management

“Ohhh, I like this colour!” “Gotta have it!” “I don’t know what I’ll do with this yet, but it’s coming home with me!”

Any of this sound familiar? If you’re like me, you have a stash of stuff at your home that is taking over your living room, back bedroom, dining room table, the basement, the crawl space under the stairs – any everywhere else you’ve managed try and get stuff out of the way. And of course you don’t have just one creative outlet! How about the fabric stash and the yarn stash?

Now, this isn’t a discourse about storage. It is about looking at your stash in a more positive light.

Those who know me, know that I do work with a lot of beads for class project designs and my own personal enjoyment. I work with all shapes, sizes and colours of beads. I work with seed beads and delica beads. Not to mention all the sample packs that Marg throws my way and says, “See what you can do with them.” To keep them straight, I sort my seed and shaped beads by colour (delicas are kept separately) – white and clear; silver; black and greys; blues; greens, yellows and gold; reds and pinks; purple, and so on. This works for me, so far.

I find when I’m with other creative types, you mention ‘stash’ and their eyes start to roll in understanding. However, remember:

  1. Like a painter with a palette of colours, you need to be able to pull from your stash to create what is in your mind’s eye. Even if the colour isn’t perfect, you’ll know if a particular bead shape in your stash will work. Incidentally, when I design something new, I tend to use black, white, grays and silver instead of actual colours. It helps me visualize the overall look of the piece, removing the issue of colour from the equation.
  2. Go beyond what you see in the magazines. Bead and Button, Beadworks, and Perlen Posie (from Germany) all have great projects using round and shaped seed beads. A project may call for a particular 2-hole bead (such as CzMates Triangles) but you don’t have them in your stash – but you do have CzMates Rullas. Go ahead and substitute!
  3. If you get a particular idea using your stash contents but not ready to start the project, pull the components together into a single bag with a picture, sketch, or scribble of what you want to do with them. You’ll have an idea of your original plan when you get back to them.
  4. Trade off with your beading friends! Toronto Bead Society members recently had a ‘garage sale’ at which members could sell-off stuff in their stash. Of course, what it really means is that you’re reducing your stash to get stash from someone else. Who knows – you may get some fresh, new ideas!
  5. If contents of your stash really aren’t talking to you, then donate some of it to a local children’s arts organization, after-school program or other local endeavour. They will be forever grateful!

Enjoy your stash – they are ideas waiting to happen!

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