Are You Buried in Craft Supplies?

craft supplies
© 2014 Christy King
“SABLE: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. Refers to the tendency of knitters to acquire more yarn than they could possibly knit during this lifetime.”
Urban Dictionary

 

Many crafters find they buy a lot more craft supplies than they’re actually using. I’m a knitter, so in my case, that’s yarn. Once I began decluttering, I went through my stash and donated all the yarn I decided I didn’t like that much after all. Then I resolved not to buy any more yarn.

The amazing part is my stash is way smaller than that of most knitters I know, yet I’ve been knitting exclusively from my stash, without buying anything new, for about a year and half now and still have plenty left.

“Sometimes it feels like my house is being completely overrun by all those craft supplies.”
– Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less

 
Obviously, depending on your hobbies, the craft supplies you collect will vary. You may have yarn, fabric, beads, scrapbook papers, embroidery thread, or any number of other types of supplies.

Stores sell all kinds of containers in pretty colors to corral this stuff, but odds are good that you need to declutter more than you need to organize.

Do you even do this craft anymore?

 
Many people have supplies for crafts they don’t even do anymore. I finally got rid of the flower press I’d bought many years ago to use with the kids.

They never got into it, but I kept it, thinking someday I’d make pretty paper with embedded flowers. Oh yeah…the papermaking kit that just sat there needed to go too.

The first step in getting control of your craft supplies is to get rid of all the stuff associated with crafts you thought you wanted to do, but you don’t. I’d like to be the kind of person who makes homemade paper, but it turns out I’m not.

You need to be honest with yourself, too, about what crafts you’re really going to engage in. If you’re not going to do a particular craft, give your supplies and equipment to a friend or donate it to a school or charity.

What if you enjoy the craft but just have too much stuff?

 
What if your stash of craft supplies exceeds your life expectancy? Or even the foreseeable future?

First, look through all your supplies. Are there any items you never particularly liked, but you got them as a gift or bought them on clearance? You don’t need to keep those anymore.

What about stuff you loved when you bought it, but now that you’re a more experienced crafter, don’t like so much? That should go too.

Hopefully by gifting or donating these items, you’ll have dramatically reduced your stash of craft supplies to something you could use in no more than a few years. If not, you’ll need to be more ruthless.

Craft supplies still out of control?

 
In that case, save only items you actually have a plan for. I’ll use knitting as an example, since that’s my addiction, er, hobby. There are yarns I’ve bought planning to make a sweater or a hat. There are others I bought only because they’re pretty. Or soft. Or have sparkles.

I actually kept those, because after donating what I won’t use, my stash fits in a small cupboard in the laundry room. But if I needed to dispose of more, I’d keep the yarns that I have a set plan for and donate those that I currently have no idea what I want to do with.

The most important thing is to stop shopping.

 

Now that you’ve gotten your stash of supplies down to a more reasonable size, you’re still not done. You need to shop from your stash, not at the store.

I’ll bet you’re thinking something along the lines of “but I really need to buy some blue fabric to add to this green cotton.” And that may be true. So don’t use the green cotton yet.

First use up supplies that don’t need any additional purchases to make a completed project. Once your stash level has decreased to the point you can’t make any projects without buying more supplies, then you can add the extra materials you need.

If not shopping is hard for you, try to stay away from stores that sell the type of craft supplies you use. I decided not to attend any fiber festivals the last couple of years so I wouldn’t be tempted. I know myself well enough to know that, if I went, I’d find an excuse to buy “just one skein.”

What’s your most difficult issue in decluttering craft supplies?

 

7 thoughts on “Are You Buried in Craft Supplies?

  1. I actually work at JoAnn Fabric store. Talk about the perverbiale kid in the candy store!
    As employees we often catch “the deals” before anyone else, just because it’s there, you can’t help that. I have worked there fore 2 1/2 years and I’ve learned how to hold back and really sort through the temptation. I’m interested in a great variety of crafts so it’s not easy, but your advice is the best, bar none, just use what you have. No matter your craft, you can do it.

  2. I don’t often sew but I still have a lot of fabric from a thrift store buy. I need to either use it up or give up on the idea of taking up sewing. As for floss, I have 5 cases of floss but I cross stitch regularly and it’s easier to have a wide assortment than schedule a trip into the city for a particular color. They don’t take up much room as they slide under my bed along the wall so aren’t even noticeable. As for yarn, I only buy what I need for a project and yarn is pretty easy to come by even in my small town or online.

    • Sounds like you’re doing well at keeping your crafting supplies to a minimum except for the fabric – perhaps you could teach the grandkids to sew and give it to them? My son got a kick out of sewing for awhile, though he’s no longer interested.

      • That’s one plan. I’ve already taught the oldest granddaughter how to sew and she’s even made a Barbie tent and other little things with fabric scraps so I hate to offer it on freecycle.

  3. We stopped model railroading about 2007. We still have many boxes of model railroad stuff. Hubby won’t donate it because it is worth too much money. But he never quite gets around to selling it either. Aargh!

    • Frustrating! Not that I want to put you in the position of having to do his job, but maybe if you offered to show him how easy Craigslist is to use….?

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.