Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Can you be a Minimalist and a Creative?

Minimalism and crafting are two activities that seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Minimalists dream of empty clutter free spaces while crafters yearn for a room full of every crafting supply they could possibly want. It would seem that crafters can't be minimalists and that minimalists would have to give up creative hobbies but that is not so!

Today I want to share with you a few tips on how to have a minimalist attitude towards your creative endeavors without having to give them up completely.

Keep only what you love (and will realistically use)

The first thing to do is a good old fashion declutter. If you are like me, you can't even remember all of your supplies let alone love them all! When you have been crafting for years or even decades, your tastes change and you won't love everything in your stash. Get rid of everything that doesn't spark joy even if you got it on super sale or might use it one day. If you don't love it, you aren't going to use it. Consider gifting your unneeded supplies to a friend or donating them to a school or church children's ministry.

When you are going through your supplies, also keep in mind how many projects you can realistically do in your life. Many of us have more than we can finish in a life time and we still feel like we need more! Those unused supplies can sit around making you feel guilty so let them go. If you have enough supplies to last you for years, you are in the danger zone.

Shop your stash

Which brings me to my next point, shop your stash. Now that you've decluttered and have a better idea of what is actually in your stash, use it! Don't buy new unless you absolutely need too. You'll be surprised at how creative you are when you are limited to using the supplies you already have on hand.

Set limits

To keep your now decluttered stash under control it is important to set limits and stick to them. You can limit your supplies to a certain volume such as one bin or basket, to a certain finite number to have on hand and or to a certain budget per month. I use all of these in my stash and it definitely makes me think harder about purchases when I go to the craft store. If you need to, find a friend to keep you accountable.

One in, One out

Stick with the one in, one out rule. When one new crafting supply comes in, an old one goes out. Don't buy a replacement until the old one has actually run out. I do this with my wardrobe and it has cut out abut 99% of my impulse purchases. Decide while you are still in the store what item is leaving when you make a new purchase and remove the old item immediately so there is no chance of forgetting.

Set an expiration date

Unlike food, most crafting supplies don't go bad or expire for a loooooong time. So we never feel like we need to get rid of them because they are no longer good. It's up to us to set our own expiration dates. This is great for UFOs and those supplies that you think you might use. Label them with an actual date and if you haven't used them by then, let them go.

You don't have to keep everything

Often, we feel like we have to keep everything we made but that is not true. Release yourself from the need to keep everything. Let's face it, not everything we make comes out that great. Let go of those beginner and dud projects. For those projects that are good but you don't want to keep, consider gifting them or selling them on Etsy. When you go to start a new project, consider it's final destination. Will it be a gift or a learning project? Try not to make too many things without a purpose and let go of the ones that don't come out quite right.

Combat multihobby insanity

When you are like me and have multiple creative hobbies, the craziness increases exponentially. If you have multihobby insanity, try applying these principles to entire hobbies and not just to the supplies themselves. Declutter your hobbies and let go of those you don't really enjoy any more. Set limits on the number of hobbies and WIPs you have going at any one time. Try the one in, one out rule. When you start a new crafting hobby, consider letting one go. I recently decided to let knitting go and focus instead on Bible journaling. Set an expiration date on hobbies you haven't done in a while. If you don't reach for them in the next 6 months to a year, consider letting them go.

So what should you do if there is a hobby you haven't done in a while, but you can't quite bring yourself to completely let it go and think you might come back to? Let go of one time use supplies and keep the reusable tools. There are a few reasons for this. Supplies are definitely a place where tastes can change and you may not even like the supplies you have when you get back to that hobby! They also tend to be a lower dollar investment. Keep those tools that you spent a lot of money on and that you know you'll use again if you pick the hobby again.


  1. I´m a minimalist of sorts - I only buy and have what I use. I dont hoard fabrics or patterns, I purge and sort all the time.
    A lot of people wrongfully think I need more stuff so they bring over boxes and bags of free stuff, which I just give to new homes.
    Its about perspective for me. Yes new stuff and shopping is great but its not for me. We try to only buy second hand stuff and most is free. We have time and money to spent as a family, exploring and doing things together.
    I would rather create the things we need then buy the, its not a hobby - its a way of life.

  2. Fantastic advice! I love the term "multi-hobby insanity". I think most of us creative folks have been guilty of that at least once or twice in our lifetimes (goodness knows, I have). Thank you so much for this informative, wonderful post.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I think these are all great points - I definitely tend to be a hoarder of a major proportions, and these tips - though they won't get me quite to the minimalist state will help me keep up under control... Hehee! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  4. I would love to do that with my sewing/hobby supplies but when your into 18th century and Italian Renaissance costuming its hard to keep a minimal amount of supplies because dress making requires big amount of fabric, so if I threw away alot of my stash of fabric I wouldn't have enough to make a dress, in fact recently I wanted to make a dress but just barely had enough fabric to make a complete dress :/ I would say its easier for 20th century sewers to have less of a stash because anything 19th century and older requires alot of fabric and supplies since dresses were huge prior to the modern era.

    1. Yes! Doing historical costuming does make it harder to have a smaller stash. I do Italian Renaissance also and I try not to build up a lot of stash by only buying what I need for each project and not buying a lot of stuff just because. But if you enjoy having a larger stash, then do it. :)