I had several requests for the topic of Crafts and Craft Rooms. One reader even ask that I NOT suggest California Closets or other expensive storage designs. No problem! If you haven’t read my story, below is an excerpt or you can read the rest HERE.
We installed cabinets that neatly hid my clutter. Many of these same cabinets are now empty. I purchased furniture and fixtures that I’d rather donate than dust. In this former life of acquiring stuff, my weekends were spent purchasing, organizing and cleaning. I am now ruthless in my efforts to donate and sell unnecessary items. I’ve learned that the clutter does not add value but in reality it detracts from the life I want to lead.
Reading my story, you know that adding more storage is never the answer. That said, crafts create a lot of clutter. So, how do we get a handle on them? In the past, I enjoyed many different crafts including:
- Card Making
- Jewelry Making
- Photo Gift Creating
- Picture Frame Decorating
- Paper and Digital Scrapbooking
- Christmas Ornament Making – Glass, wood and ceramic
- Christmas Gift Wrapping – I made this into an Olympic sport!
- Embellishments, ribbons, bows, paper, buttons and stickers for every occasion.
Embellishments is just a fancy word for craft clutter. And I had a LOT of it; all very well organized too. Things are different now and I’m happy to share how.
First, I had to come to terms with the fact that my crafting was creating more stuff to take care of. Much like my basket-collecting problem, my tastes had changed. Many of the decorative creations were reduced to dust collectors.
Second, I realized that crafting (and dusting) took time away from other things. It was just another task on a never-ending-to-do-list. Instead of feeling a sense of joy when I entered my craft room, I felt overwhelmed because the drawers and cabinets were full of stuff. I lost all motivation and my creativity stalled.
I realized that “the idea” of a craft room was very different than actually having one. In reality, I don’t need a room to enjoy crafts. I need to be honest about what I enjoy and focus on that. As a result, my current craft list is increasingly smaller. Here’s how:
- Paper Scrapbooking – I’m working on my last paper scrapbook which covers my son’s preschool/elementary school years. There’s a lot of artwork but I pared it down to a single two-inch binder. He finishes elementary school this year so my goal is to complete it by May. Afterwards, I will sell the remaining supplies which are reduced to a small bag already. I kept items to help finish this project. Paper scrapbooking takes up so much space for the finished books, let alone the supplies. I have an entire cabinet of books and for us, it’s not sustainable and doesn’t align with my priorities. Many scrapbookers find paper crafting to be cathartic and relaxing. If you have a system that works and you enjoy, please keep doing it. Know yourself.
- Photo Cards and Calendars – I create a yearly photo card and calendar that serve as our family scrapbook. I have friends who do a year-in-review photo book. Digital photo books are much thinner when printed. If you choose this approach, consider the book size and limit the pages. Eventually, you will still need space for at least 18 of these books? Or more?
- Gift Tag Making – I have a few stamps to make gift tags inexpensively. It’s a great way to use card stock inventory too. I still enjoy this craft, so I downsized the stamps and ink pads to only those for gift tags.
- Simple Gift Wrapping – I have craft-paper gift bags, tissue paper and one or two rolls of ribbon/raffia. I buy wrapping supplies on demand and stock less to ensure less waste. Buying large bags of bows and ribbon may be cheaper but they are more prone to damage which erases any cost savings. Here’s a handy space for wrapping paper in my storage closet. I secured cardboard over the studs. It’s a great use of wall space with a boundary and prevents damage to the paper. Less gifts means less paper and less waste too.
- Sewing Machine – We use this mainly for repairs. Mending has become a lost art in the era of fast-fashion. High quality clothing can be repaired and maintained. Less waste, fewer purchases and better for the environment. I have a small sewing box and reduced the button collection from 250 to 20 basic replacement buttons.
- Basic Supplies – Keep what you use often. For me: Paper hole punch, paper cutter, small glue gun, wood glue, colored pencils, markers and high quality scissors.
Your list may look very different. That’s ok. Today’s challenge will help you figure it out.
Decluttering Challenge Day 29
Make a List
What craft supplies do you have? Write down a general list. Use broad categories like sewing, stamping etc. Circle 3 craft projects you really LOVE. Draw a line through the ones you feel obligated to do because you purchased the supplies. By saying NO to these obligations, you can say YES to what you enjoy. Pass on any supplies, you do not need or love.
Set a Deadline
If you’re struggling with some of the obligatory crafts or worried about the waste, set a deadline. Label each project with a date. No more than 1-2 months. If you have not completed the project by that date, donate or sell it. Girl Scout troops, churches and preschools are often grateful recipients.
You do not need to install a bunch of cabinets or buy storage containers. Assess your space. Can you repurpose a cabinet, bin, box or suitcase? Consider where you like to do your crafts? Do you prefer to be in front of the TV or near your family? If so, then the basement might be a poor choice for a crafting. Use a collapsable table to work wherever you want. Fold it up when you are done but leave it out to complete a long term project. Keep your kitchen table clear for family meals. Paring down supplies and making them more portable allowed me to enjoy crafting again. I felt accomplished with the finished product and enjoy the process.
Reduce the Volume
Most craft organization issues are volume. Now that you’ve made a list, remove anything that doesn’t support your 3 favorite craft projects. Go through paper, stickers etc. Have your tastes changed since you bought these supplies? Be ruthless about reducing items you no longer like. This will allow you to easily find what you want. Try all the markers and pens. Throw away the ones that do not work well or are dried out. Keep a core set of colors (not 15 shades of indigo) and use high quality pens.
Like Things Together
As you reduce supplies, group the remaining items by project. (Scrapbooking, sewing, stamping etc.) Don’t overthink this. The goal is to sort the items so that you can spend more time crafting and less time searching. Repurpose baskets and bins, plastic containers, zip-top bags and whatever you have on hand to aggregate the supplies. There are websites and Pinterest boards dedicated to these ideas. But I would stay way from them until the volume is manageable.
What craft project are you looking forward to doing again? Still overwhelmed with craft clutter and not sure where to start? Let me know how I can help!