There are two things that I encounter repeatedly as an art teacher: folks who think that they need a lot of stuff to create and folks who are overwhelmed with the amount of art stuff that they have and don't know where to begin.
Now don't get me wrong, I like my art toys as much as the next person but when it comes down to it, I have my absolute bare bones essentials that I need to make something: glue stick (I like something permanent like coccoina yet you should use whatever you can find that you like), a very small selection of favorite collage ephemera (I am finding more and more that I love using found papers from books and magazines more than anything else) and a favorite pen (probably my black .35 Rapidosketch but use what works best for you. My bare bones, basic list of favorite pens is here.) I usually like to use a gluing surface (like a catalog or old magazine that I can toss into the recycle bin when I'm done) and a burnishing rag (like an old rag, paper towel or even a paper napkin when I'm traveling.)
Some of my most favorite pages have come from when I limit myself to using only the tools that I mentioned above.
When did we get to the point where we're overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that we have? I feel bad when I repeatedly hear folks say that they don't know where to begin because they have too much stuff. I gently suggest rotating their supplies and picking a few to put in a small box or basket and limiting them to whatever is there. Then when they get bored with it, they can select new things to use. I call it "shopping in my studio (which is also my living room.)"
I know a few folks who can't find anything because they spend more time buying than creating. All of that makes me sad. YES, I like my toys but I want to USE them and use what I have. When it boils down to it, I'd really rather spend my time MAKING than shopping. I save up and splurge a handful of times a year (usually when I travel to teach like Frenzy Stamper, Ink Pad, Northern CA, etc... where I know that I will usually find some things and that I should have a budget and some money saved in advance.) I do visit my favorite local used bookstores once a week with my family. It's our weekly family outing where we'll pick two or three bookstores to go to and rarely will I find something every week. I'm also very picky with finding collage materials in bookstores (it has to be dirt cheap and there has to be a lot of usable material for me to want to shell out a couple of bucks for it.) I rarely go art supply shopping unless I need something essential for classes and I can't substitute something else at home for it. (Those of you who think that I'm buying washi tape and pens/markers on a regular weekly basis are mistaken. I'd be living in a box on the street with my art supplies if that was the case.)
It's the same thing with collage materials. I know folks who spend hours trying to find the "perfect" focal image, having to sort through all of their stash trying to find THE PERFECT THING to use. That would make me nuts. It doesn't work for me. What works for me is working from ONE bag no matter where I am (some days that is my regular journal bag and other days when I am limited in what I can bring with me, it's a ziploc bag with what I mentioned above in it.) I rotate my stash like a little kid. I have my NOW bag that I work from and everything else is in a bag or a box in my studio. When I get bored with what I have, I rotate out or put stuff I don't want into my class collage bag where students will find new treasures.
This post isn't to knock anyone who loves to shop but to try to encourage folks to use what supplies they have instead of only collecting them. It's also to make those who think that they need a lot to make a journal page realize that they probably already have what they need somewhere in their home.
I live in a little apartment. When my stash seems to be too overwhelming, I sort through everything. I'll bring stuff to class for students to take. I also like to donate supplies to local places and public schools. Occasionally, I'll sell my excess stuff off. Purging my overflowing stash from time to time helps me also to sort through to see what I have, what I'm using and what I really don't need.
Any advice that you want to share with folks who think that they are lacking in the tools to make art or folks who are overwhelmed with their art supplies?