It's sooooo much easier to reach for those most recently purchased items or the most recent kit you have received and then root about looking for photos that go with those items.
Sometimes I think this may be a bit backwards. I do it too, but it is counter-intuitive as to how I usually scrap. I like to start with the photo and then go about choosing papers, etc. Always have, and it works, for me. Now scrapping the other way 'round works and anything that gets your photos out of a pile and onto a page is good with me.
But it doesn't shrink that stash, does it?
So this is how I do it.
I choose the photo(s) I want to work with and then go digging through a pile (or two) of papers and pull papers that may work. I typically pull more than what gets used, but I like to have options. Unless I am sitting down to scrap right then, I put the photo(s) and papers into a page planner (not even sure if Cropper Hopper still makes these or if Cropper Hopper even still exists!) A file or a 2 gallon zip lock bag will also hold everything.
Then I may pull some embellishments and letter stickers and stick them in the back pocket of the planner. I do not pull inks or sprays or sequins ahead of time. Too messy, too bulky, and using them is too iffy. I mean, I won't know if I want any of those items until the page is pretty much done.
Then I may just go ahead and punch smaller scraps of the pulled papers or if I have a preconceived idea of what design the page will have, I will cut banners or strips from the smaller pieces too.
For this page, I thought I would do a whole line of banners and string this straight across the entire page (having seen a similar design--thinking I would scraplift the idea). But, as it often works out, this just didn't look right with these papers and my photo. So it took on a life of its' own (and that's ok with me too!).
The whole string of banners became a smaller, layered string and the page took on a more linear, down the center design, instead of being spread across the page. I didn't use the wood veneer stars or the beige-y alpha stickers or the yellow background piece. I did use a few wood veneer hearts, and I did have to dig about and find a scrap of dark red paper to punch a couple more little hearts from (just to repeat that bit of red about the photo, creating a visual triangle).
The colors repeat colors in the photos, the title echoes the hand cut banners and little hearts, well, come on, they're little hearts! Who doesn't like little hearts?!
When the paper is older, I am not nearly so cautious about cutting it up. Something freeing about that. You can use it at will, because that's the goal, to use it up. There's also something quite satisfying about NOT returning papers to the stash. (You have just freed up space that may allow you to purchase something newer without guilt!)