Over the past few weeks, we've looked at two different kinds of "Someday I will..." clutter--things you're holding on to because you're determined to take that fantastic trip...someday or lose those stubborn 10 pounds...someday. (See Related Links below for links to these two articles.) This week, let's consider another type of aspirational clutter.
Type #3: "Someday I will...really get into scrapbooking/knitting/photography/beading" clutter
- What it is: Tools, supplies, and gadgets related to creative hobbies and crafts--think special papers and novelties for scrapbooking, skeins of fancy yarn for knitting, interchangeable lenses for photography, and hundreds (or thousands!) of tiny baubles for beading or jewelry making
- Why it's frustrating: Crafts-related clutter scores high on the crazy-making scale for a few reasons. First off, chances are that this stuff didn't come cheap, so if you're not using it, it represents money you might feel you've wasted.
Next, there can be big stockpiles of guilt lurking behind this type of clutter, especially if you think your crafting and creating intentions would be of benefit to someone else, as in, "Someday I'll create scrapbooks for my kids so that they can look back on what happened in their childhoods" or "Someday I'll take up knitting so I can create special holiday gifts for my friends and family." You might feel even more guilty if you see other people in your life take on these crafts happily and with ease and if you think you should be able to as well.
On a related note, it can be frustrating to acknowledge that you really don't like a craft or creative pursuit once you've tried it, especially if you've invested a good amount of time and/or money in it. Holding on to the stuff related to that pursuit in the hope that someday you'll finally come to see the appeal in it often just makes things worse.
Finally, craft-y clutter is often among the trickiest to contain and keep organized, especially when there are lots of small or irregularly shaped parts involved. It's not unusual for this kind of stuff to lurk in multiple areas throughout the house, which can sometimes make it seem like it's everywhere.
- How to deal with it: Before you offload all of the supplies related to a chosen creative pursuit, cut yourself some slack. Even if you don't partake of your craft as often as you might like, if you can honestly say that it is indeed something you do on a fairly regular basis, it may well be worth keeping some (or most) of the stuff that allows you to do it. For example, I have a cousin who loves scrapbooking but finds that there are often weeks (or months) at a time when she can't get to it. At least a few times a year, though, she becomes a scrapbooking machine, so it makes sense for her to keep supplies on hand so she's ready to go when she has the time.
That said, if you've had your camera and lenses, bead collection, bags of yarn, or other creative gear on hand for more than a few months and have not used them--and, moreover, aren't inclined, when you get a bit of spare time, to think, Hey, I'd really like to shoot some photos/bead a necklace/knit a scarf--it might be time to let your non-hobby and its companion supplies go.
Holding on to your creative gear because you spent good money on it? Stashing it in the back of a closet or the bottom of a drawer isn't a way to recoup your investment--and may wind up making you feel guilty or resentful every time you catch a glimpse of those expensive supplies. A far better way to put your already-spent money to use is to pass the stuff along to someone who'll actually enjoy it. Teachers, after-school programs, senior centers, and community groups are often happy to receive donations of craft supplies. In the case of truly expensive gear, you might consider trying to sell it so you'll make a few bucks in the process of getting rid of it.
If you're not yet ready to part with all of your creative clutter, make a deal with yourself: limit yourself to a certain amount of it (say, anything that can be stored in one banker's box) and commit to a date by which you'll either use it or give it away.
Finally, remember that you're under no obligation to enjoy a hobby just because others do. If your friends always seem to be having a ball with scrapbooking but you really have no interest in it, bid your stickers and papers and novelties adieu and work on finding a creative pursuit you actually like. Just remember to give it a test run before investing heavily in supplies and gear to avoid future clutter build-ups.