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Creativity + Minimalism (Decluttering Craft Supplies)

Craft supplies can be hard to let go of, because they’re the sorts of things we tend to collect for the day that we will finally decide we want to use them in a project. But most of it ends up sitting unused for years at a time, and we might even forget we have it by the time that day comes along.

I used to think that my dream craft room would be filled with all sorts of supplies, so that I could create anything I wanted on a whim. On the surface, this seems to make sense, since creativity is rather unpredictable. But as I have been delving into the world of minimalism and decluttering this year, I’m starting to re-think that philosophy.

Just to be clear, so you don’t think I’m talking about stark white rooms and counting your belongings to try to get down to a ridiculous number, for me minimalism is simply about only owning the things that are important to you, and so it looks different for everyone. This quote pretty much sums up what minimalism is for me:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. – William Morris

Now, on to why I no longer want a craft room overflowing with all sorts of art and craft supplies:

For one thing, too much can be overwhelming. Sometimes I look at all these different sorts of supplies around me, and just don’t know where to start. With so many options competing for my attention, it can be hard to pick one to focus on, and sometimes I just give up because I can’t decide what I want to work on.

On the other hand, the idea of surrounding myself with a carefully edited collection of craft supplies that I enjoy using feels very freeing. I like the idea of knowing exactly what I have and that I like using all of it, so that I can focus on actually using it to do the things I like doing. Letting go of all of the abandoned projects and extra pieces that I’ll probably never use again means that I don’t have to dig through all of that extra stuff to get to what is actually meaningful to me, and what will actually spark my creativity now. And letting go of the objects is also a great way to let go of the guilt from abandoning those old projects in the first place. As we change and grow, so does our creativity, often including the creative outlets we choose to express ourselves.

Of course, we can’t forget that limitation fosters creativity. Not having exactly the right materials is often the catalyst for the most creative solutions.

As for the actual decluttering, I do think it is helpful to spread everything out so you can see it, and touch every object as you sort through. These are the questions I typically ask myself:

• Do I love this? Or, do I find it beautiful? Or, does it spark joy*? Does it add value to my life?

• Do I actually use this? When was the last time I used it? Or, do I really see myself using this in the near future?

Watch these ideas in action in today’s decluttering video, where I go through some of my craft supplies, and mention some of the other miscellaneous items I have been decluttering lately:

*The idea of keeping only objects that spark joy comes from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. This is a great resource for decluttering, but I find that varying the language can be more helpful for different objects.


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