Themed Products: A Minimalist Scrapbooker’s Worst Enemy?

This entry is part 5 of 37 in the series Minimalist Scrapbooking

Each Friday, I write a post about Minimalist Scrapbooking.

I think the number one rule to prevent being overwhelmed by scrapbooking supplies is to avoid themed products. They are tempting, especially for newbies to the craft. I’ve been scrapbooking since about 2002. I should know to stay away from the themed products, but I don’t. Or I didn’t.

See all my pet-themed items:

Pre-digital camera and pre-baby, my dog was photographed a lot. I had a tendency of buying any dog-themed items that appeared in the LSS I was working in, provided they did not use such sexist language like “man’s best friends.” Now, I rarely photograph my dog. I can’t even remember the last time I created a layout about my dog.

The problem with themed products is that I have a tendency of buying too many products for themes I scrapbook regularly. The real problem though is that you are incredibly limited as to how you can use these products. There is only so much you can do with the themed product to make it work on a layout that is unrelated to the theme. It is time to sort through these two themes and get rid of some of these products. Some themed items could be used in other ways. Because they are stored with other themed items, I never check these files unless I am actually scrapbooking the theme. Take this item, for example:
Yes, most of it is dog or pet focused. But look at the border rub-ons. Even the words can be used elsewhere. The birds and stars would be cute on layouts that are not pet-centered. I think it is time to break-up my themed items. I need to sort out the items that could be used in other ways. I suppose the moral of this story is that how you store your supplies influences how you use your supplies. For someone attempting to rely on my stash for awhile, how my supplies are stored matters.

What do you think? Do you buy themed products? What themes do you scrapbook? Do you end up with too many themed products? Are themed products a minimalist scrapbooker’s worst enemy?
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  • As  new scrapbooker, I was also drawn to themed products.  I bought a lot of wedding and dogged themed products when I first started.  While themed products may not be a minimalist scrappers worst enemy, we should try to limit our purchase of these items.  Just as you noted, this sheet can be used for other layouts.  

    One of the big thing that a minimalist scrapbooker can do is to purge supplies regualrly.  It is ok to get rid of items that you do not expect to use or no longer love.  I have donated items to a local YWCA.  I buy less themed items now and focus on purchasing qaulity general supplies such as Bazzil card stock and white Thickers.   

  • Once upon a time all we had was themed products! Thank goodness companies like Basic Grey and Chatterbox came along to shake the industry out of it. I used to have a pretty good selection of  themed stuff, but since I don’t scrapbook in themes, I never used any of it.

    Like you suggest, I went through and purged everything that was too theme-y, knowing I would never use it, then scattered everything else throughout my supplies in various ways. Some by color, some by mfg, others into “kits”. I agree that some things can be used in non-theme ways. And sometimes if you are creating a scene with sky, clouds, fence, etc… a cute dog or cat sticker or die cut could totally work!

  • Julieaj

     I have a themed school pack which is getting used slowly but has loads of stuff I can (and do) use for non-school LOs.  I have loads of travel and beach themed stash which is getting used in my holiday albums.  The Birthday, baby and wedding themes are not being used up.
    My daughter has started scrapbooking and she wants some dog themed stash.  If you are willing and can think I’ve something you want we could do a stash/craft swap?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t even have a lot of themed products, but it still surprised me how much stuff could be used in other ways. Now I need to clean out the other themed folders and do a bit of reorganization of the themed stuff. Thanks for commenting!

  • Stephanie Medley-Rath

    It’s so easy to want to hoard everything…it’s almost the nature of scrapbooking…hold onto that scrap or memorabilia or scrap of patterned paper because you might need it someday. Well, we have so much and supplies are readily available. You might wish you held onto something but you’ll most likely be able to find something else that works just as well. My problem now is do I donate my supplies to a worthy organization or donate to my daughter’s closet? I think I might do a mix. Thanks for commenting.

  • Stephanie Medley-Rath

    As I reorganize my themed stuff, I am coming across some items that I will probably giveaway, donate, or swap. I’ll keep you posted on doing a swap. Thanks for commenting.