The Handcrafted Wardrobe: Decluttering Craft Areas

A little update on the 2017 decluttering challenge: I’ve been at it for just about four weeks now and so far I’ve rid our home of 741 items.  I am serious about this.  Conversely in that same time I did come home with a couple of new things.  Circumstances considered, I was very well behaved.  The first series of temptations came during an outing to a rare and used bookstore where everything was being sold for next to nothing.  The second was a craft swap where everything was available for literally nothing.  Books and craft supplies.   My kryptonite.

A hundred and six year old first edition copy of a book that I thought might make a pleasant family read aloud, two children’s magazines from 1937 and 1944 respectively, that have the sweetest illustrations and which I intend to tuck into Mairi’s Easter basket and two old knitting magazines.  Including the six or so books that Mairi, Galen, and Seraphina picked out, we spent $12.

I came home with a few things from the sewing and knitting exchange as well.  There was an entire room full of free sewing and knitting supplies people!  I’m only human.  Still, I dropped off three boxes worth of donations and everything I came home with fit in my handbag.  Not such a bad exchange.

The two designs above are from Bear Brand Campus Knits Vol. 335, cira 1947.  The patterns have rather humorous names such as “Beau Catcher” (Steve checked it out and found the bait inferior).  These two above are “Art Appreciation” and “Collegiate” and I can’t decide which I’d rather grace my needles.

I started sifting through craft supplies before I was truly ready because of the swap.  It’s really an emotional process, much like sorting through sentimental items.  I’m afraid this is one area where I’m guilty of keeping every last thing, just in case.  It’s comforting to me to feel that in lean times I could make whatever might be needed.  But I want to live with more freedom now, not stockpiling for a future which may or may not come.  I’ve started looking at certain fabrics and telling myself that I’ve made my dress or blouse or whatever from it and now I can let what’s left move on to someone else.  It has already served it’s purpose for me.  I don’t have to use up every last scrap.  I’m trying to think less in terms of what I could use, as just about everything falls into that category, and more what I genuinely think I will use.  And perhaps more importantly, what I want to use.

What about you?  Do you have experience with decluttering craft supplies or trying to keep a more minimalist craft set up?

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3 thoughts on “The Handcrafted Wardrobe: Decluttering Craft Areas

  1. susan

    Oh man, I wish I could find a good place to donate my craft supplies to. I have zoo much, especially fabric that I’m never going to use. I’m only one person, and I’m a slow crafter. Decisions have to be made and it would be easier if I knew they were going someplace they would be appreciated and used. I admire your restraint in bringing the new into your house.

  2. Johanna

    I don’t think I have all that many craft supplies (there are tons of things I’d love to get, but I’m not very good at treating myself). My “stash” consists of yarn for the next few projects I have planned out and leftovers from previous projects. I usually use it to make dolls. I have a lot of needles (I keep losing one needles from a set and having to get new ones), two tape measures, two knitting gauges (one for my purse, one for my basket), a tapestry needle, a couple of Ziploc baggies full of buttons, 5 or 6 knitting books, and a dozen or so magazines. In a pinch I could fit everything but the books in a mid-size vintage suitcase. My clutter issue is bits of paper (I have trouble throwing away anything with writing on it, and I’m a list maker).

  3. Emily

    I have a lot going on in my tiny house, so I’m a bit extreme when it comes to getting rid of things – I’m a trash picker and receiver of lots of hand-me-downs, but I also bring weekly bags to Goodwill all year. I’m always trying to make life function more smoothly in this little house. However, craft supplies are my downfall! Especially since most of them came out of the trash. As time goes on in my crafting life, I learn to make more and more things out of recycled fabric that I will use. A couple years ago, I went through my GIANT bag of felted sweaters – they take up a lot of room, and I couldn’t store them all. And, a lot of it was scraps. Yet now I’m onto a hat-and-mitten kick for which it would have been lots of fun to have all those scraps I gave away…. sigh. We have to let go of these things! In reality, I still have WAY more projects on my list than I will ever have time to do. It’s not like I’m sitting around wanting to craft and have nothing to use. With all stuff, I try to have the outlook that if I need something, God will provide. I do hold onto things that I plan specifically to use, but I can’t let those piles rule my life. And we live in a crazy time where perfectly good, free STUFF is everywhere. There’s too much of it, rather than not enough – we need to let go!
    Good luck with your further decluttering; I salute you for your efforts!

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