Organize That Craft Room

Just like that dubious carton of cottage cheese lurking at the back of the fridge, sewing and craft supplies come with a built in expiration date. Every piece of yarn and fabric that seems so fresh and new right now will eventually come to feel as dated as those dresses you sewed that had you blending in with your gorgeous floral couches. This year, can you take a brave look at your supplies and let go of the ones you know in your heart you’ll never use? I’m looking at you, metallic yarn, perfect for an eighties sweater that never got made. And you, country pastel pink and green fabric with that charming duck and geese motif. If you didn’t use it back when it was in fashion, what are the odds you’re going to this year?

If you’re vigorously shaking your head and telling me I’m wrong, please make this the year you create something with that stuff. Marie Kondo is in the news a lot right now with her Netflix show on decluttering and while there’s a lot about her philosophy that drives me nuts, she’s onto something with the “spark joy” thing. When you look at the fabric in your craft room, your eye scans until you find something that just feels right.  It glosses over all the stuff that’s boring or faded or usable but just not right.

The secret is to pay attention to that feeling. Yes, it’s perfectly good fabric. Yes, you could definitely make a quilt or a table runner out of it. But you haven’t and you won’t, because you don’t love it.

If history is any guide, you won’t ever use it. You’ll find a way to get more fabric, more yarn, more embroidery thread. That’s why the craft room is overflowing, so why not put that mushroom quilted fabric out of its misery and let it go? Imagine it literally stinking, like that old cottage cheese in the back of the fridge. Or the potato that got away from you in the back of the pantry. Only fresh, useful, lovely things for your craft room!

If this feels too drastic, consider tagging such things with a label that says December 31, 2019. If that date rolls by and it’s still sitting there unused, then it’s time to let it go. Years ago I had a client who marked a bag of expensive yarn she didn’t like but felt she’d paid too much for to donate with the impossibly far off date of January 2019. Surely by then she would have used it. I wonder if she ever did or if she’s come across it this year in her annual New Year’s purge?

If you think you definitely will use the thing you’re having a hard time relinquishing, write “gold yarn” on the December 31st square of your planner as a reminder to either send me a photo of the gorgeous thing you made out of it, or take it to the donate box.

This Saturday, please have a look at your craft supplies and see what you still love and what’s past its expiration date. Take 20 minutes a day to sort through the supplies. If you love it, make this the year you use it. If you only feel mildly interested in it, it can go. If you hate it, get it out of there! A cluttered crowded craft room is discouraging and hard to work in. A craft room with space for the supplies you love and will use is a beautiful, useful thing. Once you have the outdated, uninteresting supplies out of there, you’ll be amazed how much more creative you’ll be.


Need a helping hand sorting out your craft space? Contact Joyful Surroundings LLC for compassionate, creative, and totally nonjudgmental decluttering & organizing services.

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