My craft supplies and feelings represented fear and pain for me.
I thought for a long time about why I was so upset about crafting during this time. I realized that seeing the piles of stuff I still owned reminded me of the tough time we had just gone through. I realized that I don't want to be a prisoner of debt and of my belongings. I don't want to use any craft supplies unless I absolutely love them. I don't want to store and sort and organize a bunch of craft supplies unless I have an amazing and brilliant plan for them. I don't want to buy any crafts supplies (or anything else for that matter) unless I totally love it. I mean LOVE it. Last week I told you about my “review time” at the checkout counter in stores. I do that every single time. EVERY TIME. I always leave with 25% of the stuff I went to the counter with in the first place. I save receipts so that if I get home and don't still love something, I can take it back quickly and easily.
This week my daughter spent some time at some friends' homes for Spring Break. She came home one of the days and said, “You know, Mom, our house is really clean compared to most people. They have piles everywhere, the kitchen is dirty, and there are bills and mail all over the place.” This made me feel great. I don't have the nicest house but at least I have a clean and less cluttered house. I still have clutter sometimes but I am working on it all the time. (I have to laugh because one of the mean girls who kicked me when I was down was spreading rumors about how my house was really filthy and dirty. Ha! It's pretty funny…)
I had to find a place where I could still create and share my creations but in my own way.
I stopped thinking about what I don't want. I mean, I still think about it but I don't make it my focus,. My focus is that I want to be happy. I want to have fun creating. I want to make things because I like them. I want to make things that make me feel good because they are practical AND beautiful AND useful. All of that comes from me being mindful about purchases, mindful about what I keep, mindful of what I create and why, and mindful of how I keep my space and home.
I made these big mushrooms out of felt to make a centerpiece for my dining room table. I have liked the look of fairy gardens but what the heck am I gonna do with all that clutter and where would I put it so the dog won't chew it? I also have a dining room table that I love and I got for an AMAZING deal but I use it as a place to sort papers and do my accounting. As I made the mushrooms, I thought I could combine the idea with a fairy garden to make a fun centerpiece. I used supplies I had for the bulk of the project; felt from a design team, hot glue, batting from the inside of a worn out bed pillow, wood rounds I had for an upcoming project. Then I went to Joann's and bought some special little things to put in my fairy garden. I joked with Katie for her to stop me if I try to give this stuff away in 6 weeks. I know this is going to be something I will have to store in the off-season. I am okay with that. Xaver came home and laughed at my display. He said it was silly because the mushrooms are huge and that it looked like it came out of Mario Bros. He wasn't being mean. That is what he thought. He said he really liked it. Well, maybe other people think that too. I don't care. I am enjoying my fun fake fairy garden on my dining room table, which I can now use to dine on since I cleaned it off to put the centerpiece in the middle. I get to enjoy the table I HAD TO HAVE eight years ago and I get to look at my fun mushrooms and fairy garden all day from my desk. If nobody on the internet ever saw my mushrooms or said they were cute or ugly, I wouldn't care. I'm enjoying the things I have and making an effort to make something, enjoy it, buy more supplies if I need to for the next project, and repeat.
Click the NEXT button to continue reading…
Margot Potter says
Love this post and I am right there with you. It’s hard finding a balance, but we’ve moved so many times in the past so many years and my craft supplies have been the bulk of the boxes. I had to make some painful decisions last year when we moved again. It felt really good to let go of stuff and honestly, I’d like to let go of more. It’s hard because we make things for a living, so we have to have stuff with which to make the things. The stuff we use has to be obtainable by the masses, so we end up needing to buy the new things. I keep thinking about moving back to the thrift shop craft focus, because it is more sustainable, but even that can be a trap because you end up buying stuff you don’t need that again sits in boxes. I like the mantra, and I like the mushrooms! Our new house is fairly clutter free, but what is out is an eclectic array of funky thrift shop finds and my weird DIY projects. We like it, and that’s what matters most. Keep on crafting in the free world! Cheers, Madge
[email protected] says
Thanks so much Margot! It totally is a balancing act. I did the same thing – hoarded the thrifted items too. I wish I had spent a little more time on this post writing it better – I may go back in an edit. I forgot to include that I do buy with a specific purpose. Like I wanted these super cute stamps from Sweet Stamp Shoppe and I have no real use for them but I do plan to make a bunch of cards with them so that is a good thing I think. Okay to buy 😉 Let’s both keep on keeping on!
Visiting from your Facebook page! I am using my phone so please excuse any spelling or wording errors. I can definitely relate to your journey. I use to tell people that my hobby was collecting craft items. I enjoyed vuyng things but rarely used them because I was either too afsid my project wouldn’t turn out well and I would waste craft materials and there for money or I didn’t know what I would do with the finished piece and didn’t want to store it. This year I am trying to craft more to use up my stores. I am still buying things without a plan but a lot less. Thanks for the encouragement to continue to use up what I have and to buy with a purpose. I also get tour making maters email. Your tip on using your crafting tools in a different way was really useful. Made me reevaluate some of my stash. Now I just need to workup the courage to purge things that I don’t use/frustrate MW to use because it doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to. Good luck on your new journey and thank you for your encouragenent and perspective. It is very refreshing!
Lain Ehmann says
I’ve always felt that I didn’t quite fit in the “industry” because I wasn’t willing to get on the “buy buy buy” gravy train. I have always taught my students and followers to use what you have, buy less, and don’t stress. I get overwhelmed with too much stuff – which is a challenge right now! I like so
many different crafts that I have a little of everything.
Where did you sell your supplies?
[email protected] says
Thanks Lain. It is a hard road to travel in an industry built on constantly encouraging customers to buy more things than they possibly have hours in the day to use. I’m glad I am not alone. You are amazingly thoughtful and authentic in what you do and I think that is why people connect with you.
I sold in a combination of ways.
1. 70% off sale in my etsy shop
2. Yard Sales that I promoted in local area facebook groups and local craft groups. Probably did 10 garage sales over 2 years.
3. Mystery Boxes on Facebook, my blog, and etsy at various times over 18 months.
4. Posting sets of stuff on my personal FB and offering them for sale, 5 or 6 sets at a time.
4. Taking stuff to crops and other crafty events and selling it.
5. Donating to Charity Wings and letting them sell it, taking the write off.
I should probably do a blog post about this 🙂
Yes please help me??? please write a blog on how you did “the getting rid of” part. I just keep buying buying, not really craft stuff, just beautiful things. Please help!!!
Jennifer Priest says
Please join my email list!!! I am working on a whole series about craft hoarding etc this year. You can also start at this post for some ideas: http://www.jenniferppriest.com/17-places-to-sell-your-craft-stash/
Thanks! I too have way too many Quick Kutz I just had to have; many never used!!
Jennifer Priest says
I hear ya – I sold my entire QK collection and all the tools for $800 about 5 years ago.
Best personal story on decluttering that I’ve read. Thank you for being honest rather than light about the topic. I am in the process of moving and so am also looking at stashes of crafting equipment thati have never used and feeling guilty about the wastefulness of it all. Right now I am also experiencing hate at crafting and wondering about getting a real job. It all worked out for you in the end and so I’m hoping I get a good ending to. God Bless.
Jennifer Priest says
You will get through it 🙂 You will!!
You are not alone! I have had my struggles. At this very moment I have a box of things to donate, a messy craft area that I’m trying to figure out how to clean, and 28 5.4 inch wide die cut words drying on my table. I used distress reinker with extra glycerin mixed in to ink the words before using perfect pearls on them. I’m being weird and specific for a reason. I have felt a lot of guilt about buying the scan n cut 2. It came on the 3rd of this month. I have used my paper stash to cut out 80 words. Those will be used on note cards. My mother is looking forward to getting a few hundred note cards. She uses them for church and gives them away. I know that when she has them out at church activities women ask for them AND USE THEM. I’m not the most talented crafter. I have cerebral palsy and see on an angle. I feel guilty over how much stuff I have. I also make 600 to 1000 cards a year. The USO sent me a receipt to use for my taxes. This series has actually made me morw comfortable with my stuff.
I had to get rid of random clearance stuff I bought. I have kicked myself over some of my purchases. I have 3 sets of spectrum noir alcohal markers. I’m horrible with them! That was $24 NOT well spent. I haven’t used my full size Xyron in many years. Its in the donate box. There have been a lot of things that I had to get rid of.
I’m quite picky now, but I do use what I buy. Storage. …. organization…. ugh! I have NEVER been good with that. Its mentally and emotionally draining. I beat myself up over it.
This series of blog posts gave me some peace. I have faith that you will have your happy ending. I have less faith that I will figure out how to clean and organize my stuff. I don’t have a craft room.
I have about 80 cards that are finished for Mom. I have about 130 in progress. Deadline is March 12th. I have 60 cards done for the USO and another 30 or so in progress. Deadline is Thanksgiving. My space is a mess! I tend to mass produce parts of cards and then sit and glue the parts on. I have been so anti spending on anything but the scan n cut that I will be out of glue in a day or 2. 6 to 10 days for my Tombow order to come in. Don’t be as stupid as I was!!!!!!
Thoughts are with you on your journey!
Thanks for the really well-written and touching post. While I’m not anywhere near to sure a dire financial situation as you were, I can connect to some of what you write. We also moved last summer and I’ve been reconsidering all the stuff we have. I looked at pictures of my sister’s house and other friends and the houses that I like are that way, because these people only keep things that they really really like and not because they are simply useful. I’ve decided to try and use up my craft stores this year, finish up projects (or throw them away if I don’t feel happy while doing them) and ask myself about every book and bowl in this house: do I really like it?
The only thing I’m finding difficult is to immediately throw things away. I need to go bring it to the flea market once the weather gets better. Just throwing it in the trash seems incredibly wasteful, but for now the things are still piling up in a corner, which kind of drives me even crazier.
I wish you the best on your continued journey!
Jennifer Priest says
Thanks for your comment. Thankfully I am no longer in that situation – that was 3 years ago 😉 Best of luck controlling your overflow!
Renate Olsen says
Awesome story!! I have read all 3 posts all at one. Love the way you write and you are really getting to me. I can totally relate, and can imagine it is even harder for you that works in the industry for a living! I want to make it my living some day. Just don’t know how. But, I too have a LOT of stuff, in a very small space. And my family is very frustrated in how the stuff is growing Mor and more out towards the kitchen….. I have a day-job that has drained me for energy and inspiration, and have had two children with a lot of illness and allergies and medication that took a lot of energy as well….. So the aim of that is way less creating, but my kit-supplies keeps coming, and when we travel up the country during summer I just HAVE to have a haul inside one of the biggest scrapbook stores in the country along the way. And it usually isn’t cheap….. And now after the Christmas and all, the money isn’t exactly in overflow….. So I feel pretty guilty every time I can’t resist the temptation and have to have the new arrivals…… In addition to the kit supplies….. And not to mention the big moving-boxes around the house with old supplies that I should have sold…. But which feels so overwhelming as a process. Not because of the feelings, but because of the work I have to do sorting, taking pictures, publishing and packing it for the mail office…… So I totally are taking your honesty with me in my heart and process of being a better person in this department…….
Jennifer Priest says
Thank you 🙂 Sounds like maybe it is time to cancel that kit from coming every month. It’s hard but feeling guilty for years on end is worse. HTH
Therese H says
As I sat here, contemplating a new crafting table and storage system from Ikea, because the one I have doesn’t work for me any longer, I read your blog. It makes me want to cry. The things I have done to myself because I have to have the next best thing, the newest things, more stuff, never sastified. How often do I not use what I have because then I wouldn’t have it any more. I want to scrapbook simple pages, simple stories. So why, I ask myself, am I buying card making supplies that I have no one to give to. I feel like a fog has lifted in my brain and I can finally see what I have been doing, buy, buy, buy, and what it is I need to do to find my joy again. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it was hard to put into words for us all to read and judge, but know that you are reaching many of us who have lost our way and need to understand where the joy has gone and how to get it back.
Jennifer Priest says
So sorry you feel that way right now. But I am so glad you shared – now the only way to go is up!
I have a pInterest addiction…more specifically ideas for my craftroom…..and collecting the cute /pretty boxes,bowls,tins,baskets and what not from the charity shops has become my hobby (obsession really ) rather than actually crafting and creating!!!!!! I’ve read soooooooooo many blogs on decluttering as well but this is the first time that I have been so moved to leave a comment. I applaude you for your honesty and frankness in sharing your journey -particularly your comments about loving and appreciating the stuff you have and making things with the stuff you love to use. We live in a tiny house and over the last 12 years my crockery collection and craft stash has grown and grown as I’ve bought fabric/yarn/beads/buttons/ sewing supplies and gazillion craftbooks (it is so easy to buy books online and to just put them on the cc) – the craft stash spills all over the house and follows me when ever I’m in the middle of a project – I’m actually sitting in the living room amidst my knitting basket, not very pretty tapestry yarns that were so cheap!!!! box of unfinished projects that I’m trying to get enthused about, library books on vintage house decor and enormous collection of patterns and inspiring “ideas” that I need to sort thru…..I too feel extremely guilty about the money spent and the strssy effect that all my craft stuff has on the family -and the fact that I’m beginning to realise that I buy crafty things because A) boredom B)the thrill of the chase C)because it doesn’t back chat me D)I have way too many craft aspirations that are actually doable…. Anyway thank you for the posts – perfect timing for me because I am getting a designated craft shed soon and know that I have tooo much stash to comfortably fit into the new space and so am attempting to be honest with myself about who I am now and confront all those uncomfortable emotions attached to not realising dreams that linger whilst the stuff lingers………….Like many people I so want the “perfect” craft space – I want to be Pinterest worthy…. I want other people to enjoy my creations, but most importantly I want a happy household…
Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve been working on getting rid of my extra things. The craft part does feel harder than clothes or household items. I’m trying not to hold onto things just because I might need them someday. I like your idea of the mystery boxes or finding a charity that will take some of it.
Suzanna Stephens says
I just finished reading your three-part series on purging your life of too much stuff. I think you’re very brave for being so honest and very insightful after making it through. I’m in the process of revamping an extra bedroom as my sewing room, and am struggling to make all related supplies fit in an organized manner. I’ve been inspired by you to let a lot of it go! There may well be someone who will receive it and make good use of it. Letting it lie on a shelf for years is not making good use of it. Cheers!
Jennifer Priest says
This is exactly what I hoped would happen when I shared this story. Thank you! And good luck 🙂
Georgette Pearce says
Wow! I read all three parts at once and felt like parts of it could be describing my crafting experience. I have always worked full-time outside the home, dreamed of doing all the crafts out there because creating something beautiful part of who I am, but there needs to be boundaries, but found little time to work on those projects due to various circumstances. I have been working on those boundaries, but this series has given me new incentive. You were brave and selfless to be so open and honest. It will probably help many of us. Bless you!
Jennifer Priest says
I am so glad to hear this Georgette!! Thank you for reading and sharing. 🙂
I have just read all three parts of your post, and, boy, do I empathise with you. I moved house nearly two years ago, am still buying craft supplies and still haven’t even unpacked the boxes I brought from the old house! I make things ‘in my head’ rather then in ‘real life’. I have loads of ideas but very little energy. Buying pretty things makes me happy for a (short) while. I keep thinking -oh, if I have some energy tomorrow I will already have the stuff here to make something straightaway. But it doesn’t work like that. Reading this has made me realise I MUST focus and de clutter. Lets hope I have the energy!
Jennifer Priest says
I’m glad to hear that the story had an impact 🙂 It’s hard to see what we are doing because we are IN IT, right! Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Thanks for your story. I need to get my head around your new mantra…create, enjoy, buy. But I need to shop at HOME first. In addition to paper craft ,I like to sew and knit and bead. I had 2 rooms full of fair, yarn, beads, paper and related tools and notions. I need major downsizing to make our move to a small house we bought for our retirement. I thought I needed to buy everything while I was still working cuz I knew I wouldn’t want to buy stuff when I’m on a fixed income. WRONG, wrong wrong! Styles, colors, etc.change. What was trendy when I bought it is now OLD style. Now I just want to get rid of it…do t even want to deal with selling or donating my old stuff. What a waste! I hope to make my move by end of next year. I’m hoping my Sunday school can use some of my stuff.
Jennifer Priest says
Good luck and thank you for sharing. Yes, it is hard to use all the old things!!
Susan Wilcox says
I am a craft supply hoarder . Saying it out loud is the first step. Thank you for sharing your story. At least now I know I am not alone. I am going to attempt to deal with my craft room! I will follow up with before and after photos if I am able to find my way out of the room after entering it.
Jennifer Priest says
Yes I want to see the results!! Just know it is an ongoing process 🙂 Keep up the good work 🙂
Your story made the bells go off in my head. I have been sewing and collecting fabric since I was nine years old. I also did embroidery,cross stitch, painted wood, dolls, appliqued embroidery hoops. In the seventies I started quilting, which encouraged me to buy more fabric and patterns and books and everything that goes with that. For a number of years I made and sold at craft fairs, wall quilts, country dolls, and painted wood items. I would always spend my profits on more supplies. In 1990 my husband and I moved from our first home to a smaller one away from our two girls, who were both in college, for his job. I realized that the contents of my home, which included all my collecting of craft supplies, etc. had grown so large that we needed a full semi to move it. In 1994 I opened my own quilting supply retail store. I had wanted to own my own business since I was a teenager. I loved every part of running a store, teaching classes, and publishing a newsletter. I won a few ribbons and had three quilts published in quilt magazines.I was finally living my dream. The downside to that was I collected more and more supplies
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. After 27 yrs my husband decided to leave and I had to work full time to support myself and have medical insurance. I tried keeping my business going but my heart wasn’t in it anymore. Now almost 20 yrs later I’m moving from my condo to a smaller condo. I have come to the point where it is getting easier to let go of things. Getting older you realize what is important and what you can let go of. Someone else will enjoy the things that I let go of. I have faith in that. So my crafting friends there is hope for all of us. You CAN move forward one step at a time and…………DON’T look back
Thanks for sharing your story. It is an inspiration.
I got to your story from the quote on Pintrest about physical clutter, unmade decisions, and procrastination. I was on there looking for quotes for a project I’m working on, but really procrastinating by copying down lots of quotes into my notebook, because I’m nervous about the project because it’s a commission and I don’t know that I have a good read on the customer. No, because I can’t make a decision if I don’t think it’s the best one. I have to let go of that perfectionism. I can when I’m in the flow, but surrounded by piles of supplies I feel stagnant. I understand you wanting to just throw it all out. I have so many choices it just makes being creative more difficult. Too many options to consider! My now ex-husband moved out a year ago the first of this month. When the anniversary came and I realized the house was still cluttered with my hoard of art supplies I was devastated. I found a piece of paper where I had made a plan to have the house ready to be shown to sell May 2015! I am on disability and always have more ideas than energy. Like you I have projects I was so excited about that I bought materials for and never started or started and abandoned when a new idea demanded more attention or the season changed. I also have pages and pages of ideas. What do I do with those? Some are still good, but I’m bombarded by more every day. I have given a lot away over the years, but I’m in a bad financial situation now. I need to get some money for my stuff if I can, but that takes time and energy I could use on my art. I also have a big problem now with “stuff” and consumerism and long for a simple life. I make money now by selling my art in a gallery. I have an idea to help other women that can’t work traditional jobs by teaching them and helping them make some things I’ve designed, but that will take time and energy too. I’m really overwhelmed and stuck in my stuff. I need a way out. I just don’t know how to focus my time and the best way to get rid of my stuff. I don’t have the latest and greatest, any really big ticket items. I have the original cricut and sizzix, lots of picture frames and canvases, “organizing solutions,” and scrapbook paper to rival Hobby Lobby, plus four scrapbook paper racks, two double 12″x12″ hanging files, ribbon and fibers to reach to the moon, brads, eyelets, grommets, snaps, and fabric, vintage fabric, pounds of buttons, found objects, birds nests, moss, computer parts, rusty stuff, keys, jewelry parts, vintage jewelry, sheet music, old text books, dictionaries, cabinets doors, you name it. I was feeling hopeful after reading your posts but now after thinking of all my stuff I feel depressed. And I won’t have a sample to show the gallery tomorrow. If you have an encouraging word, I would appreciate it. I’m going to read more of your blog tomorrow.
Jennifer Priest says
So sorry I was out of the country when this came in and I am just now seeing it. I hope you got your project done! Just start small with the purging. Giving to others who can use it seemed to help me – maybe donate some to a school or women’s shelter or church in your area. Thank you for stopping by!
Love your story! Your honesty is refreshing and it is so once to relate to. I have been purging and organizing our house since the New Year (yes I know only a week now) but it is feeling great. My craft room is coming up and I was dreading it because of all the time and money spent on it. I want to approach it with the “Kon Mari” attitude and just keep what I am going to use. And stop buying! The only thing I am going to allow myself is glue! I’ll let you know if I keep my new attitude! Thanks again for sharing your story.
Jennifer Priest says
Yes, I would love to hear your updates! Thank you for sharing, Wanda 🙂
This series is the most honest and influential one I have read on the topic.
I’m newly retired and in preparation had laid in all the art supplies I thought I could use for this leisurely time of my life. I’m good at drawing, painting, photography and all the fiber crafts – spinning, knitting, sewing. In an odd sense it is frustrating to be good at them because it feeds the need to hoard up the supplies and be able to justify the increasing expense of high quality supplies.
Case in point: I taught myself to use oil pastels with a small inexpensive set and swore not to ‘upgrade’ until I had used them up. It was wonderful to have the limitation and really get to know the product. I used them up and that lead to an unrestrained buying spree. Today, I have complete sets of all the high-end oil pastels, soft pastels and hard pastels. I don’t want to add up the cost.
This scenario repeated itself for my cameras/lenses/filters/tripods/software, watercolors/oils/ink supplies, 9 artist easels/pochard boxes… spinning wheel, drum carder, fibers/fleeces, dyes and 3 specialty sewing machines, 2 weaving looms and so forth.
I am not listing these to show off…. I am forcing myself to list these items because it hurts to admit the level of consumption and absurdness. Putting it into words is a jolt to my system. I’m not going to live long enough to use these supplies and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life making stuff.
It is so out of control. Truthfully, I’m happiest with a small selection of colors, a simple sewing pattern and a point/shoot.
Your 3 part post is just what I needed to read today. I thank you – it has made me genuinely assess my collections and the underlying reasons for it. Ironically, all other aspects of my life are on a minimalist mode. I don’t like this part of me – hoarding art supplies.
I wish you and your other readers the best. you have a new reader and fan. I hope you keep writing about this topic – though the craft/art stores will not appreciate it. 🙂
Jennifer Priest says
Oh my gosh, I loved reading your comment 🙂 Thank you so much! Yeah, I am surprised no stores have complained to me 🙂
I came across your 3 part series (and related comments) quite by accident, and it’s really been an eye-opener. I have a lot of stuff, nowhere near what you and others have mentioned, due to me being extremely frugal. But like someone else said, I’m probably not going to live long enough to use up all these supplies. Sorting through my mom’s house after she died has made me ask myself what my kids will do with all my junk after I’m gone. I’m only 68 and in good health, so I don’t plan to go anytime soon, but there’s unfinished projects and ideas galore which would leave them wondering what on earth was I going to do with those supplies! Or worse yet, why did she never use this? I also need to shop my stash more, and not start anything new until I’ve finished all the UFOs. Lots of food for thought. Thank you for your thoughts
I just finished reading your 3 part story. WOW! Thank you so much for your honesty and for sharing your journey. If you can do it so can I.
I’m going to be moving in the near future. I have a garden shed full of boxes of stuff that I moved in 2014 that I haven’t looked at in a couple of years now. I’d like to just take it all to the dump but there are some heirlooms of my grandparents I would like to retrieve. I also packed my yarn “collection” yesterday and I was shocked by how much I have. I’m planning on selling at least half if not 3/4’s of it once I get moved. I bought most of it second hand, but I still spent money on it. I will sell it on Varagesale, which is where I bought most of it.
I have been very disorganized and overrun by clutter every place I have ever lived. I have learned to live less cluttered over the last 2 years but I still need to work on it. You have given me the determination I need to know that I can overcome this. Thank you so much!
Jennifer Priest says
It sounds like you have a great plan going forward. Good luck in your move. Send me an update when you get settled in!
I enjoyed reading your articles. I am annoyed by the stamp manufacturers who have monthly releases. There is no way that I could possibly keep up. So although I buy plenty, (more than my fair share) I can’t ever keep up with what is current in the market. I do not like that the design teams are sent the merchandise for free. I know it’s a marketing tool for the companies, but for me it has changed how I feel about watching the videos from these card makers. It’s all about the selling, in an underhand way. You are right, we see these people as craft geniuses that have perfect lives. I have an extremely long list of stamp sets and other crafty goodness that I still want. I’m about to explode out of my organized craft room. I do not and will not get into debt buying supplies. I am a true bargain shopper so I don’t get most things unless I get a good deal. So, as you can tell I’m on both ends of the spectrum, I buy, want, use, craft, organize and enjoy my craft supplies. But I am disgusted with the industry pushing so much so fast.
Jennifer Priest says
The industry will adjust if people stop buying. The put out as much product as their forecasts say people will buy. Sending design teams product for free is a whole ‘nother issue. It’s actually taking advantage of these people who want to “design” for companies – they should be paid. They need the product to make the project but they also should be paid for their time and effort. As I started to look for ways to have less in my life, I struggled with my role in the craft industry. In the past I was very excited about “limited edition” items and helped companies drive sales for those things because I didn’t want anyone to miss out. But now I approach craft products from a place of USEFULNESS – if it’s a good deal and a color you like and a product that you can use in more than one way, then yeah, I’m gonna share about it! But I put the product in the context I want to share it – I don’t let a company tell me how I am going to share about their product.
And if someone is working with a company, even if they are required to disclose that relationship according to the FTC. Even if they get free product, they need to say so because when people like you watch their videos, you need to know they got the item for free or were paid to talk about it. Unfortunately, there are alot of uninformed designers and companies out there.
You do know that the Design Team members rarely get paid for any of their work…….it’s hard to buy groceries with “product” from companies.
Jennifer Priest says
Well, design team members can choose not to take that kind of work. If people stopped working for product only, then companies would pay more. It’s like why buy the whole cow if you can get the milk for free? People who join design teams need to be responsible for their choices.
Michele Emerson-Roberts says
Hey JP……..WONDERFUL and refreshing articles. As you know I have been in this industry since mid 1970s……..creating, teaching, designing and publishing. It is delightful to hear someone else echo my thoughts…….I have been sorting and purging for years……..there is always a Women’s shelter, church group, Boys & Girls Club etc. that can use the supplies…….I also try to give them written ideas and instructions on what to do with the supplies or even teach them what to do……..my gift back to the world. I am also a hand made papermaker/caster and book maker……so the supplies are limitless.
Thank you for sharing your story…..and shame on those “mean girls”.
You are an inspiration to many people…..keep it up sweetie! LOve and light,
Victoria Banaszak says
I just wanted you to know I am so there with you. I read through all the posts. Here is my story. In My friend and I lost our house about 8 years ago, so I know how that goes. It was even harder on her because she bought it from her dad and had grown up there. She had had 6 heart attacks and we couldn’t keep up. I worked at Michael’s at the time and right after I got awarded my disability they fired me. Then we moved to a 2 bedroom apt. She got her disability much faster than I did because of her heart attacks. We were paying as much there as we were on the house. Next we moved into low income housing. I loved that apt. Hers was on the 7th floor with a wonderful view of the river and downtown. You could watch the eagles flying around from there. You couldn’t hear your neighbors. The floors were thick concrete and they had 2 elevators to get to your floors. My apt was on the 3rd floor. I couldn’t see downtown from there but I overlooked the garden area and the trees were lovely.Our rent for both apartments was way less than our rent at the other place. Then a few years ago her daughter moved out of town and we wanted to be close to her and the grand kids, so we looked for a place that would go on our income. We found a place about 5 blocks away from them. Well, lets just say this place needs work. The floors upstairs are only held up by the carpet in some spots. They definitely aren’t concrete floors and sometimes the people downstairs will complain of noise. The only elevator(it’s only 2 floors) makes loud banging noises when you get in. Last summer they were supposed to fix the floor up here and they decided it would look nicer to do the downstairs first. So they ripped the carpet off of the concrete and put in wood laminate flooring. Yes, it looks nice, but for goodness sake, the floors up here are caving in. The only thing I really like about my apt. Is I have a balcony with a tree next to it overlooking the beautiful parking lot. So, to make a short story long, LOL, I said to my friend, what are we doing here. What do we want in life. Why not get an RV and travel. Now, I am the one with tons of crafting supplies and for me to be willing to let go of most of it and move into a trailer is huge. It took a few days for it to sink in and then she got excited about it. Now she is more excited than I am. Unfortunately the sell off is going slow right now and I am having a slow down of energy and of course a bit of doubt that this is a good idea. I know I want to take watercolors and acrylic paints, colored pencils maybe a half million stamps and some paper. If we didn’t need the money to get the RV I would totally donate all of it just to make things go quicker. We want to be out of here in 1 year. Every so often we go look at RV’s even though we don’t have money yet because it gets the juices flowing. We have a list of things we want and need and what can wait. When the camping gear was on sale at Aldi’s I bought a few item from our list. That is where we are right now. The push is on. Thanks for sharing your story.
Your story is my story. Except I haven’t done the big purge. I’ve been clutter blind for years and have recently realized how bad it is. I’m in the midst of organizing my craft spaces (yes, plural). But I’m just organizing, once again, without parting with anything. All the dreams, all the longing, ALL THE MONEY! How can I toss ANYTHING?
Then, my husband and I have had various errands the past few Sundays, during Seahawks games—I love football so my DH and I stopped at several casinos to watch the games. Gosh, all those people shoving money down those slots, most of them spending money on cigarettes, too! Nothing to show for it! Well, it’s their hobby. Mine is collecting and organizing. My MIL spends $60k on a new car every few years. I’m thinking “OMG! That’s like 6 embroidery machines (the ones I’d buy). I’m happy with a beater that gets me from point A to point B.
Three of my sisters have time-shares. I’d never pay that kind of money for a vacation spot. I’m a Motel 6 type of girl.
We all have some sort of vice. Not an excuse, but at least assuages my guilt. The money I spent was my vacay, my “jewelry”, my new clothes and car. Ok, so now I have no room and it’s all so confusing seeing all my crap. And I’m tired of rearranging and organizing and hiding all the boxes during the holidays only to have them reappear the first of the year. And making a vow that NEXT YEAR will be different. Thanks for your honesty and sharing. I’m not the only one and i WILL downsize!
Jennifer Priest says
Sheree!!! I hear you. I am glad you found this article. Did you join the group? We’re working on some challenges that will help us all tackle the clutter and make a space we love 🙂
I came across your blog on Pinterest and have read all 3 at once. I admire your story and how you came to terms with your crafting overload. So easy to overload. I’m both a collector of sorts and crafter. I have lots of mini collections where I thought I’d collect something (like Simpsons gear) and then after a certain time, abandoned it. My crafts tend toward the needle–needlepoint, crochet, knitting, sewing, cross-stitch, etc. My usual is crochet & knitting so I’m a ‘yarnaholic’. I love to look at them, admire their colors, touch them, sometimes I have to have them. I have curbed that more or less and am mostly working with yarns I already own. Fortunately for me, Michael’s is some distance. I have also inherited a relation’s knitting & crochet books that go back decades, now considered classic designs. It’s hard to part with those. I spent a year going over every one, copying patterns at Staples and tossing the most damaged, but still own many patterns & books. I will get back to them, but only after I part with more primary &, untouched as yet, items & collections. I just inherited bolts of fabrics last year for quilting (still to learn!) and am thinking of measuring out so many yards to keep before letting the balance go. Fact is, we can’t keep it all, and I do like to be in a tidy atmosphere. Less time spent in anxiety, less time spent in care-taking. Thanks for writing, I found you emotionally honest & inspirational.
Sherry Bradford says
Just came across this series and read every word. I went through a purge last year – but I am still struggling. I love being a creative person and every time I try something I seem to feel that I MUST turn it into a business or somehow I cannot justify enjoying doing it. So I have not only an over abundance of crafts – but of small businesses – NONE of which have made me a dime over the years. Instead, I was working full+ time at very stressful jobs, going to school as an adult so I could improve our income and then working at even more stressful jobs. I’m 65. I don’t know how this story will end – but the final chapters are in progress and that makes me feel even more afraid. Thank you for your honesty and congratulations to you on finding your way forward.
Jennifer Priest says
Thank you Sherry! Yes, I was in that trap of justifying purchases too … looking forward to hearing more about your journey 🙂
Fran Watson says
Thank you for sharing your story. I once bought about $600 of cotton as the store was going out of business. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy any, but… and now I have given most of it away as I never did find the time to quilt. I still have some of it, but eventually I may give that away to another church group. And yarn….so much yarn. I do try to get knitting in the winter. Your stories have made me take a look at the clutter that surrounds me that I need to deal with. Thanks again.