How to get rid of crafting clutter

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Every year I have tons of projects I want to knock out during my summer break.  Currently the clutter in my house is public enemy number one.

In general I am not a clutter hoarder.  I weed the clothes I no longer wear out my closet every couple of months.  I take books to the used book store constantly.  I love to get rid of stuff I no longer need.  However, I do have a clutter Achilles’ heel – craft supplies and DIY projects.

art room clutter 2

And this scary, scary room is the biggest clutter problem of all – my craft/work room.  Which is supposed to be becoming the baby’s room in a few months.

art room clutter 3

Yeah, it is a disaster.  Because even though I am great at not holding onto mounds clothes or papers that I no longer need, I can’t seem to let go of little scraps of ribbon and random clock parts that I just know I could make into something amazing – someday.

art room clutter 1

So I turned to a favorite quote to help guide my decluttering.
I love this quote and feel like it is a great way to measure what things belong in your home.  But I have realized it just doesn’t always work for a DIYer.  I started cleaning out my craft supplies and unfinished projects, determined to keep only those things that are useful or beautiful.  But I quickly found that I was getting nowhere fast.

The problem is I have piles and piles of stuff that I am sure I can make beautiful.  And there are so many things I know I can repurpose to be useful.  Which leaves me with just what I started with – piles and piles of stuff.

So I made my own list of criteria to help me declutter.

Decluttering general stuff

  • Do I use this?  How often?
  • Do I love this?
  • Would I miss it if it were gone?

Decluttering craft supplies

  • Have I used this in the last six months?
  • Do I have something specific in mind to use it for?
  • Do I enjoy using this type of craft material?
  • Do I have more than I need?

Decluttering yard sale rescues

  • How long have I had this?
  • Do I have a great idea for it?
  • Will I be using/finishing it in the next six months?
  • How much time/work is it realistically going to take to finish?

And through it all I am reminding myself of two things.

  1. Someone else can really make something great with this stuff.  (Unlike me who has had it waiting on a shelf for a year).
  2. I have to get rid of stuff – I need the space.

I am far from done, but I am finally making progress!  I hope to be back next week to show off my newly cleaned out room.
Anyone else have a problem with hoarding projects and supplies?  How do you deal with it?

Be sure to check out some more tips along with the results of my massive purge here.

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Comments

  1. says

    I totally relate! I also clean my closet, books and office space regularly but my crafting stuff has a life of it’s own. Lol. Good luck finishing up there so your room can become something fabulous for a precious little one!

  2. says

    Just so you know, you have just described me! Clothes, stuff around the house – not a problem. In fact friends often call on me to help declutter, yet I have a secret. I cannot get rid of ‘projects’ and craft stuff – it is serious. We can hardly get into our cellar as it is overloaded with furniture waiting for me to transform it! You are not alone.

  3. says

    Yup…me too! It’s good to know that there are other crafters/artists who struggle with this. If I didn’t buy another crafting item for the rest of my life, I still wouldn’t be able to use all of what I have! I love the joy of collecting fun art stuff almost as much as creating with them. Thank you for the inspiration – I’m going to use your list, and hope it will help me.

    I wonder if there are any 12-step programs for this :)

  4. Wayne says

    I would say, based on your thoughtful choice of organizing items (baskets, filing cabinets, boxes etc.), you are already well organized. Perhaps with just a bit more filing and organizing — you’ll be able to accommodate most things you wish to keep. At any rate, compared to me — you are supremely well organized.

  5. Barbara Guffey says

    Wow!!! Thanks so much for your site! It is so comforting to know that others suffer along the same “collection” condition. I welcome your list as my litmus test for my items. Writing the following paragraph to you and others has been very beneficial for me !!!
    My conclusion is:
    1) Follow your list to purge.
    2) Create ‘one” Pandora’ box from left overs.
    3) Can only add to Pandora box when something has been used or discarded.
    Read below for my writing to my conclusion if you aren’t bored already!!!
    My mother was so talented in everything she undertook. I have the drive, but lack the beautiful technique of creating. So, I collect, and collect, and collect. Another fact is that I am a retired school teacher. Teachers make lesson needs, bulletin board, and classroom needs from throw away things -so I still collect. My thinking is more, “I might need/can/should use this.” Now I am collecting recipes I never fix!!! Pins from “Pinterest”, I never do!!! Even if I needed to use what I collected, I could not find it before getting so distracted I would be pulling other things for ‘other’ projects. Sounds like ADA doesn’t it I wonder if there is a diagnosis for such a condition as “Crafter’s ADA”?

    • Carrie says

      Barbara, Thanks for the comment – there should definitely be crafter’s ADD! I’m pretty sure I have decorator’s ADD – that’s why every room in my house is 50% finished but I can never seem to stick with one long enough to actually finish! I like the idea of the ones in/one out rule – always a good idea to control clutter. And I love how you pointed out that Pinterest is really just another form of collecting stuff most of us won’t end up using!

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