The story is the same for all digital scrapbookers. You discover this versatile way of memory keeping and then you discover ALL THE FREEBIES. I was there once too. I had an EHD full of free downloads that I just could not bear to part with because I thought I might need something someday. I was getting frustrated with my hobby as it had become less about creating and more about searching.
I finally came up with some rules for myself regarding freebies:
1. Only download what you’ll use.
Once you’ve been scrapping for a while you will know which kits will get used in your layouts with just a glance. You’ll be able to spot the perfectly balanced kit full of basics and interesting pieces in colors that you love. Grab those freebies like they’re being given away.
Not sure of your style yet? Then go ahead and download something you aren’t too sure about. Freebies are perfect for trying stuff out and seeing what speaks to you. But be prepared to toss it if you don’t use it.
2. Only download larger kits or trains.
You’ll have more to choose from to make a layout you love. Full disclosure, I am a kit scrapbooker. Meaning I start with a single kit to begin a page. I may pull in other things but my supplies are sorted by kit. So when I download a store collab or the DigiScrap Parade kits, I pick through each item and save only what I know I will use.
Are all your supplies organized by type rather then kit? (Paper, buttons, ribbon, etc.) Well go ahead and download those random tiny freebies. Just be sure to only keep what you know you will use from the download. (And while you are filing away your new items, take a look at your current inventory and toss stuff you’ve never used.)
Love a mini kit? Then go ahead and take a chance. But be prepared to toss it if you don’t use it.
3. Toss it if you don’t use it.
Give yourself a challenge and try to scrap with that kit that’s been sitting in your “scrapbooking supplies” folder for months. Having trouble? That is a sure fire way to know that a kit is NOT in your style: You can’t use it. It just doesn’t work for you. Toss it and move on.
4. Toss it once it gets old.
Take a look at your stash and judge harshly. Is some of it looking less-then-modern? Have you had it for 5 years or more? Even if you have used bits of it 15 times over but it’s just not so shiny anymore…toss it.
The thing with digital supplies? There are new freebies every month and new stuff in shops every week. Don’t hold onto old supplies because you think the well will run dry. It won’t. Honestly, I’ve seen a dip in the number of freebies being handed out by designers but it has far from stopped. And even when you pay for a kit, you get your money’s worth with digi.
5. Download everything from your favorite designers.
Well, maybe not everything. I keep my favorite designers kits separated. One reason is because I like to check my “fave designer” stash first. But another reason is because their kits are in a similar style and work well together. So if a favorite designer is giving out a teeny, tiny kit or an alpha, I will be sure to download it and add it to that designer’s folder on my hard drive. It strengthens the kits I already have, free or paid, by giving me more options.
6. Review your stash every once in a while.
And by stash, I mean all of it. Whether you downloaded something for free or you paid for it, if you aren’t using it then it’s clutter. My most prolific scrapping time was when I gutted my stash (that over flowing EHD mentioned above) and was left with only what I really wanted to use. I then became more picky with what I downloaded but I still make mistakes. So I do it all over again, gut the stash and free myself to create.