on becoming minimalist (when you are a craft supplies hoarder)

on being minimalist and creative

A month ago, we packed our bags, and spent four weeks living in a camper trailer. Not a caravan, but a tent on wheels. Storage was a delicately negotiated compromise. We had one bag each. A bag for towels. A reusable shopping bag for the kids toys. The same for my craft gear. As far as personal possessions go, you could add in my camera and that would be the extent of it. Coming home to a four-bedroom-plus-craft-room house, I felt like I was drowning – too much stuff, too much space, too many activities. Too much everything and not enough at the same time. Too much “extra” and not enough of the things that make our hearts and lives full and worthwhile. Three days after getting home, I embarked on a decluttering challenge I found via The Minimalists – a 30 Day Minimalism Game. I shared a bit about some of my thoughts when it comes to decluttering craft items over at And Sew We Craft earlier in the month – in the end I decided to keep the hooks, but frog the project. My craft room I have slowling been tackling, and now I am at day 25, I need to go harder. I have gotten rid of a large box of scrapbooking stuff I haven’t used for year. Next up is the multiple boxes on bookshelves storing goodness-knows-what.

It’s been a constant battle, keeping this room tidy, storing stuff, moving it around. It’s sapping my energy & creative mojo – who wants to work in a room you have to trip over three piles of papers to get to the worktable? So I’m going hard on the supplies cull. Paint tube more binding agent than pigment? It’s too old, turf it. Stickers I haven’t looked at in 8 years? Yeah, there’s not going to a project that those would be the perfect “just in case” for, bye bye now. Semi-hard paint brushes, broken pastels, bits & pieces for “repurposing”, ugly yarn, gone gone gone. Packs of paper I used three sheets for for invitations, sold. Notepads with an old phone number, out the door. It’s time to leave my “you never know, maybe I’ll use it, better keep it” mind-set behind. I’m not saying I will never get sucked into “ohhh shiny new craft yes please and thank you here is my wallet take what you need”, because I know it will happen, and I love the playfulness that my creative restlessness brings. I would not want to put a moratorium on experimenting, but on clutter. On hanging onto those experiments for longer than they bring joy to my craft room.

Along with joining Car for No Spend August, I feel like I have managed the reset I yearned for. I am considering more if things are something that I need, or could I make something else with what I have on hand. I am focusing on finishing the 7839 projects in my studio. I’m finding the declutter is bringing my mojo back to life – clearer headspace means I have a better handle on what I have and what I need to do. I am also instituting a “shop my stash first” policy, and one-in-one-out – the only exception is paper stock & packaging for my shop. And hopefully less stuff will equal less mess will equal more craft time. I will happily dump a box of rub-ons for a pay-off like that.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Oh yes! Lovely post! I have just minimalist’d every room in my house… except my sewing room. And it’s beginning to feel suffocating. I’m thinking about taking some pictures of my fabric boxes, putting them on IG and saying ‘FQ $4 pp’ and seeing what goes. But then what if I need it? Oh my. Fabric anxiety. :)

    • admin says

      big deep breaths! I was like that for a long time, but then I thought “I have had this sitting in my stash for X years, and for Y projects. If I was going to use it, I would have used it”. In the end I found it easier to chuck everything in a box and say “bundle of scrapbooking stuff, $15″ and call it close enough, the time to destash individual items was killing me!

  2. says

    I need to start thinking about some serious culling too. Being a “multi-crafter” means that I have lots of different supplies for lots of different crafts – plus the extra stuff for maybe having a go at things. It is out of control and I have been ignoring it for ages. The task is overwhelming! But your post might just inspire me to start somewhere…

    • admin says

      I’ve found it has been just a matter of switching my mindset – and honestly, doing the rest of the house first was much easier, and then when I hit the studio I was all “TURF ALL THE THINGS”!!

  3. says

    Day 13 and Im still tooing and froing on certain mindset “but I MAY need this for my art journalling” however yesterday I cleared 2 drawers in my cupboard space and feel lightened since it was just crap…

    Im bookmarking your post to keep me motivated ?

    • admin says

      If you start thinking about it too much, move on to something easier and come back. I found around day 15/16 was my real turning point. And be honest – how long have you had it for? If you haven’t used it in the last five years, are you really going to use it at all?

  4. Janet Northgate says

    Don’t worry!
    It only takes a week after you’ve parted with stuff that you’ll find out why you’d kept it all those years!!

  5. Beth says

    So after 3 months of decluttering everything but, I’m finally at the dreaded craft room. I am able to say goodbye to about 1/3 of the scrapbooking & stamping stuff for my first go-round, but my question is.. who to donate the useable stuff to? And where to sell the more valuable stuff, like the rubber stamps? Haven’t begun to tackle the knitting yet, but I have the same question with that. What do you suggest?

    • admin says

      Go you!! That’s a great effort – the craft room is always the hardest! I have sold stuff on Instagram, and the stuff I can’t be bothered selling, I gave to my preschool for their craft box! Same with my yarn, they got a heap of little bits left of skeins. I know op-shops often have big tins of knitting needles and patterns etc. There are also buy swap sell groups on Facebook for stamps etc.

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