Alex commented, "Kelly: I need to do a studio clean and purge. How do you decide what to keep and what to donate. What are examples of donations you have made? Have you ever had regrets about what you have tossed and given away? Thanks for sharing more details on your strategy for lightening up your art supply stock."
Thanks, Alex, for commenting. I live in a small space (a one bedroom apartment) so I am limited with what I can keep and what must go. I've tried my hand at a variety of different things over the years. Several years ago I decided that paper and book arts were my passion so everything that wasn't related to paper and books had to go. I sold some things. I also have donated to public school teachers, a friend who does art journaling on skid row and friends in need.
I've given away and sold a lot of things over the years including two sewing machines, fabric, jewelry supplies, assemblage supplies, rubber stamps, paint, books, punches, etc... I give away or sell things that I don't have room for or haven't used in a really long time. Not having a lot of space makes it fairly easy.
The only thing that I ever got rid of that I have had regrets about was a portion of my alphabet rubber stamps. I needed money at the time and had no choice but to sell them. There are some of them that I wish I hadn't sold. That said, I still have so many alphabet rubber stamps that it doesn't really matter! There is always something else to use or substitute.
I'm cleaning my section of the living room again and it hasn't been done in awhile (the purge part of it) as my heart hasn't been into it since my Dad died. Well, now I'm looking at my part of the living room and I can't wait to get this stuff out of my home! I'm tired of having small piles of things everywhere.
I work primarily from my journal bag and I rotate my supplies like a parent rotates their kid's toys. When I have too much of something, I'm bored with it, I haven't used it or I just don't have the space for it, it needs to go.
I've also limited myself with what I am buying. I try to focus on what I need the most for my classes or my own personal art. I have been a much pickier consumer these past few years. I (like most folks) don't have the money to buy everything. I've also been doing this for so long that I know what I use most often and what I truly need for my work. I've never been a fan of the fad buying that this industry thrives on. I'm not speaking for everybody, just me. When I use something in my class or in my own artwork, I have to buy it with my own money and absolutely love it to recommend it. I don't get anything from anyone and if I do, I tell my students (and blog readers!) I work for my students, for me and for my family.
I hope that this helps to answer your question. If not, I'm here!