Packing for a Crop – Step One: Gather and Purge

There’s nothing I anticipate with excitement, and dread, quite like a crop retreat away from home. There’s just something soul-enriching about attending an event with others who share the same love and passion I have for scrapbooking. Retreats allows me to focus on scrapbooking without thinking about my to-do list at home. When I’m away at a weekend retreat it’s all about scrapbooking and enjoying time with other croppers. 

This weekend, I’ll be cropping away (and also launching the newest in my scrapbooking mystery series Embellished to Death) at the Heavenly Scrapbook Retreats in Flatwoods, WV. The part I dread about going to a crop retreat is the packing. There are too many choices, too many must-haves, and limited space not only at the crop but in my vehicle. To make packing for the retreat not so overwhelming, I think of it as a three-step process. Today, I’ll show you step one of my process. Step two – Packing Totes — will appear on my blog on Wednesday, and Packing the Car on Friday. I won’t have a post about choosing/sorting through photos as I fortunately already had that done. (Secret time: I have that done because I’m still working on a Disney album so I sorted the photos out about a year ago)

Step One: Gather and Purge

After I do the gathering, I always want to quit and reconsider if I really, really want to go to a crop. I mean, I have everything right here in my house. Why would I want to leave? Then I remember it’s because I get more layouts done outside of the house and I enjoy spending time with other scrapbookers. So, after taking a few deep breaths and steeling my nerves, I once again stand in front of my must-bring items. Everything on the white table, and on the floor near the table, are what I intended to bring to the retreat. Problem — I own a Malibu not a U-haul. All of these items will not fit into my trunk.

After creation of "the pile" I always take a little sanity break.
After creation of “the pile” I always take a little sanity break.

And that brings me to the purge. I have to break some hearts, leaving some of my ‘beloveds’ at home. It’s hard to tell your supplies that they aren’t your first tier items. When narrowing down, I started with what I knew would be the easiest to decide between: my table lamps. I have two Ottlites, one is my sturdy, have-had-since-forever lamp that I bought back in early 2000 when I first started scrapbooking, and then my newer Ottlite which also doubles as my desk lamp.

A Tale of Two Lamps
A Tale of Two Lamps

This decision was almost instantaneous: my sturdy, have-had-since-forever lamp was coming to the retreat. One, I knew I needed my desk lamp this week as I had some crafting I wanted to do before I left, and my older Ottlite was sturdier for traveling. I worried that the sleek white lamp could get damaged in the car since the trunk is usually crammed.

After that I moved onto tools. I knew I needed my trimmer, corner rounder, Kiwi Design Templates, border punch so those all went to the side of the table for packing. At the retreat, each cropper gets a six-foot table and everything needs to fit on my table and within my “boundaries”. There was one item I wanted to bring but decided to get realistic about: my Cuttlebug and embossing folders.

Cuttlebug and supplies
Cuttlebug and supplies

I’ve had my Cuttlebug for about a year now and haven’t used it that much. I intended to when I bought, but it has mainly sat on the table with its neighbors: the embossing folders and the container of cardstock and pattern paper cut to fit the folders. I tried convincing myself that if I brought them, I’d have no choice but to use them. I’d feel obligated since I carted them all that way. The truth was I’d be more likely to either leave them in the car so as not to induce guilt, or just have it sitting on my table looking all cute and stylish with its matching and complementary container. So, Cuttlebug and it’s supplies remain at home.

The next item on my list, and to procrastinate some more on the decision I didn’t want to make, was the consumable supplies: cardstock, pattern paper, and embellishments. Since I’m working on a Disney Cruise album at the retreat, sorting through my consumables went smoothly. Everything that was Disney or cruise theme went into the pack pile, and everything else was placed in a basket to put away after I was done with my packing. I didn’t want to get distracted with my mission, or even worse find something I hadn’t “gathered” and decided it was now needed, so I’d return everything to its proper place when finished packing.

I was now on to the last decision. The hardest. The one I’ve been avoiding, yet also thinking about while sorting through all of my other items. Which electronic die-cutting joined me at the retreat, and which one stayed home? Cameo or Cricut?

Cameo or Cricut?
Cameo or Cricut?

There were pros and cons to both machines. I liked the ease of using cartridges with the Cricut, as the internet connection can be spotty at times, but that meant I’d have to take along my cartridges. I loved that with the Cameo, I’d have no cartridges but what happened if the internet connection went out, or if I had trouble logging in? My trouble-shooting expert (my husband Brian) wasn’t coming with me so I’d be left to my own devices. In the end, I decided on my Cameo because my husband advised me to take whichever one I’d have more fun with. And, that would be the Cameo as I’ve been “collecting” some cute files and haven’t had a chance to play with them yet. Now, this does mean I also have to bring a laptop along but I’m okay with bringing one extra item that would also allow me to review some episodes of Once Upon a Time before it returns to the Sunday TV line-up.

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