Today’s blog post is a question that came up in a recent session of Quick + Simple Clutter Control. I think this is a great question for anyone with a creative hobby. While there is no one right answer, I think we helped Tammy walk through the problem and find the solution for her.

“Aby – I am currently in the process of going back to work full-time, and I am being realistic about the time I have for my stamping and scrapbooking hobby. I would like to downsize my items greatly and keep/store the items that I love and know I will use. I regularly donate a lot of these types of items, but I have boxes of brand new or like new stamps, paper, books, etc., that I have invested a lot of money into. I would like to recoup some of the cost, even a little bit, but they are not selling on Craig’s list. A garage sale won’t work as we don’t have enough other items, and eBay is not an option right now.  At what should I ‘take the loss’ versus holding on until later? Thank you!  -Tammy”

Here was my reply:

First of all, congratulations on your decision to let some of these things go. I think that is fantastic as these supplies can become an obligation if when we don’t have the time (or desire in some cases) to use them. Your question is a great one. Is eBay not an option because of time? I wonder if you could simplify selling on eBay and still make some cash (and get the items out of your home) by grouping a bunch of products together into a single sale. Another idea might be if you have friends that scrapbook, could you hold a house sale as opposed to a big garage sale? It sounds like for most other items you have a good feel for when to take the loss and donate as opposed to having a sale to generate money. There’s something about these particular items that are different for you — most likely the fact that many of them are new. I mention this because there really is no universal answer for “this is the time to take your loss.” It’s really about you getting to that point…and feeling good about it. The truth is that the loss has already been had. The money you spent on those supplies is long gone. So now your choice is to add time to the supplies to possibly recover some cash. But, the supplies don’t currently have value sitting in your home. It’s only when you add your time to them that they could provide value to you, and that’s if they have a willing buyer. It sounds like time is even more in demand now that you’re heading back to work.

Donate basket

So here are the questions to ask yourself: Is it worth investing your time to sell the items now? Do you want to hold onto these things for even longer until you do have the time to sell them on eBay? Do you anticipate when that would be? Will the supplies be dated by that point in time? ~ Aby


But the conversation didn’t end there. In our workshops, the participants share some incredible advice and encouragement in the forum. Here are a few other suggestions that Tammy received on this topic.

  • One scrapbook store in our city has a garage sale once a year where they rent tables to customers to sell their unwanted scrapbooking/craft items. It draws customers who are looking for those items at a fraction of the new price. I have several friends who go in together to rent a table and sell unwanted items and they have done quite well. You may want to ask around to see if there is an option like that where you live.
  • A group of my scrapbooking friends get together once a year with things they no longer want and have a “party sale.” Each brings her own things to sell, sets them up in the host house, and lets others shop. Everyone brings snacks to share and has a great time while “shopping”.
  • Some children’s consignment sales in our area have a Mommy’s Mart section with everything from home decor to scrapbooking supplies being sold. I have seen a lot of these items being sold and bought at these sales.

Scrapbook container

Did Tammy take our advice? Here’s what she reported back to us:

“I think hearing from you, Aby, that the financial loss has already been had has made a difference in my perspective as now the loss is time, which come next week will be greatly limited. It also greatly resonated with me that my items are more than likely outdated, even though I still like them. I am already making movement on this issue! I purged a ton of paper and embellishments to donate, and I already feel like I weigh less.  Through the purging process I realized I am most torn about giving away the brand new stamp sets so I am going bundle them to sell on Craig’s List first and then Ebay if that doesn’t work. I am also going to sell a beautiful gatefold album with matching papers that I have been harboring for some unknown purpose. That will help me have more ‘space’ to breathe as well. Thanks again, Aby, for your insights. I am moving forward. ~ Tammy” How about you? Are you able to let go of the creative items that don’t hold value to you anymore? Could you use a little help in organizing and storing your scrapbooking or crafting goodies?”

I’ll have a lot more to say on this at the Spawn of True Scrap event later this month. Come join me!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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