Craft Consultant! Episode 4: How Long to Hoard Craft Materials

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have already seen this series! If not then it's pretty simple, you submit your burning craft questions right here at emilymakesstuff.com using the contact form and then I answer it on Sundays in an IGTV video! What kind of questions? Literally anything related to crafts. Whats my favorite material, what was the hardest project I've worked on, what type of glue is the best, where do I shop for fabrics, etc. It's kind of like that episode of Parks and Rec where Ron goes on Joan's show and he's supposed to be answering questions about the park but then he's like ask me about any of my hobbies: woodworking, fishing. It's like that! Ask me about crafts, wholesale, lines sheets, retail, house plants, dogs, New Orleans, whatever!

What started as a fun IGTV project is now something I'm sharing on YouTube & now on my website so you can find it on whatever platform you like best!

Do you have recommendations on how long to hoard craft materials before you donate or toss them?

Oof what a tough question! I honestly do not have a hard set answer for this. There is no "wait 3 months and then toss it." It's much more complicated and very much depends on each persons space and how often they use things. What I will address is why this question came up and offer what I think are some solutions to the root cause. So why would we want to declutter our space? In my experience it's because I've collected so much stuff that I can't find what I need to work on a project or I don't know where anything is and I'm completely overwhelmed. Starting from there I would approach it by doing a couple of different things.

  1. Get some outside perspective. You can absolutely go the route of getting a professional cleaning/decluttering/organizing service to come to your house and help you tackle the room. But because I'm a DIY gal on a budget I would literally phone a friend and have them come in to help. You can work this as a trade where maybe you both have rooms that need decluttering and you can each help each other with spaces or you could treat them to a nice dinner as payment or maybe they're just really fucking nice and will donate their opinions and time to you for free. Either way having a fresh set of eyes to look at your space will do wonders! Especially if you've lived in your home for a while then we tend to overlook certain areas or get really stuck thinking that furniture or spaces or whatever needs to be used the same way it always has. The goal of decluttering is yes to get rid of things but mostly to have a space you want to be in! A place that is inspiring and brings you joy instead of making you feel like you're on the verge of an anxiety attack. Really think of how the space could make you happy and function better. Having a good foundation and a designated place or system for storing projects, tools, and miscellaneous supplies can be the solution to feeling overwhelmed. This is usually how I start any decluttering session is to organize my studio into project boxes and then assess what materials I need for projects and what it doesn't look like I'll be using and I feel good about parting ways with. 
  2. The other way I will declutter is starting from where or who I'm donating to. A huge reason I hoard things is I see the potential in that item and I don't want it to go in a landfill. It feels incredibly wasteful to throw anything that still has life left in it. Donating is obviously the better option but then I'm afraid they'll be confused by obscure craft supplies or no one will want it. My solution is instead of donating to Goodwill or Salvation Army I will opt to "donate" it to specific artists or makers who I think it will benefit. Someone actually did this to me and it was so helpful!! When I started doing some headpieces and hair accessories for my line of handmade products a fellow maker asked for my address and sent me a whole box of supplies they no longer needed. When I started making a lot of pom poms so many people gave me loads of yarn. It was so huge and beneficial to have all these materials to work with when money was tight. With this logic I almost work backwards to declutter. Who do I know and what do they need? Teachers can always use crayons, markers, construction paper, glue, pencils, pens. Maybe if they teach young children or kids camps or daycares could use more craft supplies like pipe cleaners, googly eyes, popsicle sticks. Specific artists or makers you follow on social media may work in a medium you have an overwhelming amount of like yarn or fabric or jewelry making supplies. This is directly helping your community and clearing out items in your home. I'm also part of a barter and trade group for my area which is a great way to pass items along and trade them in for something I will use right away. Both of these sources are big motivators for me to purge items in my craft stash.  

I know this wasn't a straightforward answer to the question at hand but hopefully it gave you a new perspective and helped you think of your craft area a little differently! 

What's your secret to purging craft supplies?? Drop your tips in the comment section! And if you have a burning craft question you'd like me to answer in this series please send it in using the contact form in the main menu. 

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