I feel guilty for buying way more than I could ever use – Destashing Your Crafting Inventory

Too much crafting stuff is overwhelming me! I feel guilty for buying way more than I need or could ever use. I was thinking… if I could start this card making hobby all over with what I know now… but that ship has already sailed… and getting started is a topic for a different blog post.

First and foremost, do not feel guilty! Crafting should be a relaxing and fun activity. Do not let the burden of accumulation take over. No sense in beating ourselves up about it. Think about how much fun it was to buy everything. As we sort and let go of the things that are not used, we will really love what we are left with. Also, donating our unwanted stuff will make someone else’s day!

I started off, when new to card making, by buying lots of colored and patterned paper as well as random stamps and dies with no structure or purpose for what I was going to do with them. Now, a few years later, I have evolved my style and I have a room full of soooo much crafting stuff.

I am finding it difficult (and a bit overwhelming) to even start to whittle my stash down to just the stuff that “sparks joy”. I have trouble getting rid of anything because I have hoarding tendencies where I’m afraid I might need it some day. The list below has helped me get motivated to start a cleansing purge.

Many factors have contributed to my room full of crafting stuff, some of which has never been nor ever will be used.

The first factor, as noted above, was not knowing what I didn’t know when first starting this hobby. I wish I knew now what I… ah, but it’s too late to start over now. I wish someone had guided me to slow down when I first started out and to just get the very basics, including only a few ink pads and a couple of stamps and dies. It is best to start out slow and spend time (at least a couple of months) understanding our own style (which themes and techniques spark joy for us), developing our skills, and learning what type of cards we like making.

An ongoing contributing factor is making impulse purchases or buying “one time use” items. I find the anticipation of having/using an object is far greater than the actual utilization of it. Think first before hitting the buy button. Don’t get caught up buying the next latest/greatest “shiny new thing” based on something we see in a crafter blog. Many craft bloggers only review new products (which can certainly be helpful and that is their paying job), but we may already have something similar in our stash that would work just as well. Our creativity is within us, not in some product.

Ideas for managing and destashing your crafting inventory

Credit: The list includes some items posted by “Beth aka bjeans” on a forum that I follow.

Buying Tips

  • Keep an inventory of what you have; this will help to prevent buying duplicates (yup, been there, done that, more than once) – see my other blog post about keeping an electronic inventory using Evernote
  • When it comes to consumable/renewable items, such as paper and embellishments, use up what you have before you buy more – the exception being if there is a terrific sale you can take advantage of to stock up on frequently used consumables, such as paper, but don’t buy too much
  • Re-discover your stuff; go “shopping” in your own stash and look for new ways to use the stuff you already have
  • Adopt a policy of 1-in/2-out; for every new item purchased, use up or get rid of two items
  • Prevent impulse purchases – leave it in the shopping cart for a couple of weeks and then do a “do I really NEED it” self-check before making the new purchase: is it worth the cost to buy, do I remember why I wanted it, do I already have something similar, do I have room to store it, will I use it in the next week/month, is it versatile and multi-use or just a “one-off” item that I will only use once

Purging Tips

  • Make a goal to use “everything” over the next year and see how you do; if you haven’t used something by the end of the year, then that item is a strong candidate for the purge bucket; it is important to move past the sentimental, guilt, or whatever feelings we have about an item that holds us back from getting rid of it.
  • Schedule a set time and duration to go through your items for purge candidates. Set a schedule for reviewing your stash, such as once a day, every other day, or once a week. Each day, set a timer for 30 minutes – or 20 or 10. Having fixed time windows will give you a feeling of success at the end of each purge review session.
  • Make purging fun. Play the week/two week/month-long game that’s been getting chatter. On day 1 put one item to get rid of in a box. On day 2, put two items in the box. On day 3, yes, three items, until day 30, where you’re up to 30 items. Yes, a single piece of paper counts as one item (at least for me it does). I don’t do math but apparently it’s just under 500 purged items if you continue the full 30 days.
  • Reap the benefit of going through only one category at a time. This will help you focus on just those like items and you can go through a huge amount in a short time. For example, go through all your colored paper and patterned paper pads. Look through each pattered paper pad and pull out the ones that you will probably never use. Besides pulling a stack of paper inches high to give away, you may discover wonderful papers you did not know you had. 
  • Not everyone’s cup of tea, and it costs $$, but you can enroll in a decluttering program called SimpLESSity. Besides videos, written material, very personal email support, it comes with some weekly hour-long group phone calls. After the call everyone (who wants to) is paired with an accountability partner to do an exercise for 20 minutes: decluttering or any task. Listening to people from all over the U.S. and beyond (a man from Spain often calls in) is inspiring and helps with the aloneness of clutter. The calls are well designed with everyone on mute except the person who is called on.

Distribution Tips

  • Swap (or gift) items with your crafty friends or take them to a crop group/event and pass them around for others to pick through; one person’s destash is another person’s treasure.
  • Pay it forward, it feels good; pack up a Priority mail box for a someone who is on a strict/limited budget. If you don’t know someone, write a post in a crafting forum, for example, asking for a response via PM (private message) to protect their identity – Tip: 12×12 paper cut to 11×11 fits one of the Priority mail boxes.
  • Ask around in your local community for places that could use your unwanted items, such as senior care facilities, schools, community centers, or churches. Donate your items to a non-profit thrift shop or charitable organization that supports a cause you believe in. There are many blog posts out there that list the types of organizations to which people can donate.
  • Sell your items, but only if it won’t add to the overwhelming feeling.

Does your crafting inventory overwhelm you? Have you gone through a destash of your own crafting inventory? Do you have ideas for how to purge or distribute unwanted items? Please comment below with your feedback. Thanks!

1 Comment

  1. Beth

    Great tips, if I do say so myself! LOL It’s nice having them all in one place with the additional ones too. : )

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