Let’s talk about Craft Hoarding…

I think many of us feel the need to hang out head in shame at this topic. We collect supplies with the best intentions or we stock up when we find a good deal or we go a bit overboard when we start a new hobby. I am not judging, I am right there with you. Then we find that we spend as much time sorting, organizing and storing out supplies as we do creating with them. What’s worse is when we find a supply so amazing that we can’t bear to use it up on just anything so it sits there on the shelf looking pretty. The tragic thing is that many of our art supplies have a shelf life, just like food, and you have to use it or lose it!

DCF 1.0

I live out in the willy-wacks and I don’t like to shop so I keep a well stocked craft room. There are many staple items you can keep on hand that will last indefinitely with proper care and conditions (out of direct sunlight, stable temperature between 55-70 Fahrenheit, low humidity):

Watercolor paint

Oil Paint

Ink (refills (shake pigment inks often!), ink pads and spray inks if you clean the nozzles)

Canvas

Paper (if acid free and out of sunlight)

Beads/buttons/plastic stuff

Polymer Clay (store away from heat, be sure to properly condition it before use!)

Acrylic Felt and Yarn

Natural Fiber Yarn and Cloth (Kept in ceder)

Hot Glue sticks

Rubber stamps

Paint brushes and well maintained tools (keep humidity low and oil on occasion)

Ribbon and trim

Styrofoam

Matt Board and Foam Core (If kept dry/low humidity)

Plaster (if kept dry!)

Wax/soap base and wicking (fragrance will go stale after time)

Glass

Colored pencils, crayons, pastels

Mylar glitter and Mica powders (some metal glitters may tarnish)

But many craft items have a short shelf life:

Markers and pens

Resin (6 months)

Glue and other adhesives (2 years)

Embossing powder (varies with heat and humidity and if oxide metals are present)

Acrylic Paint (tubes will last longer than bottles) (2 years is stored properly)

Light sensitive materials such as solar print paper, photo emulsion, photo-polymer (you can greatly extend the life of these by keeping them sealed in a dark drawer or shelf!)

Copper foil tape and metal wire and items than can oxidize (you can keep these much longer if humidity is controlled!)

Friendly Plastic (after 2 years it becomes brittle, you can still use it but it will not be as easy)

But sometimes the supplies you buy are bad from the start so it is important to check everything out within 30 days of purchasing. Avoid ordering polymer clay in the summer, sometimes clay is “truck baked” en route. If you don’t check on this you might end up with solid bricks of clay when you go to start a project, if you check and report it in time you can get a refund. Acrylic paint and PVA glues shipped in the winter can freeze en route and you can end up with chunky paint or glue, check it as soon as you get it. Tube acrylic paint (artist quality) is usually designed to survive 5 freeze/thaw cycles so that problem is not common with the tubes but craft acrylic sold in bottles will get chunky in a  few years despite good care so don’t buy more than you can use. Also check rubber stamps to make sure the image is clean, I can think of 3 times I purchased stamps for various companies where the red rubber was flawed and they all replaced the damaged stamps BUT I let them know as soon as possible!

So, if you are buying supplies that you cannot bother to check or try within 30 days of purchasing maybe you don’t need them right away? Art supplies are not for collecting, they are for using! We buy these beautiful bits and baubles with the dream of what they may become. Play with your supplies, enjoy them, create! Turn the craft hording guilt into creative rapture! If you have any items on the shot shelf life list challenge yourself to use them up so they don’t go to waste! I bought a jug of resin before I realized that it had a shot shelf life, can you guess what I’ll be playing with next? Also be a smart consumer and check all of the materials you purchase to make sure they are in good working order as soon as you buy them. That also goes for tools and machines, get them out, try them and make sure they work because if you wait you will be S-O-L my friend:)

DCF 1.0

I’d love to hear what you think on craft hoarding. I think as creative people we tend to see the potential in everything from discarded wine bottles and soup cans  boxes, fabric, stones, glass, wood, odds and ends and bits and baubles. We are the magpies of the word and we see potential in everything…come to think of it, that’s pretty great! But we need to make sure that we do more than imagine and save, we need to create, otherwise we will just leave a bunch of junk behind for our loved ones to toss when we die. Now that’s reason enough to make cool stuff! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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51 Responses

  1. such an important post here, ank you!

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  2. Wow Lindsay, what a brilliant post. I am guilty of all the above, I’m afraid! I had the DCWV Tattered Time paper stack on my shelf for over a year, and got it down and stroked it once in a while, thinking it was far too nice to use, but I am now using it at last! I am also guilty of buying supplies and materials at craft shows and never using them… I am naturally a bit of a hoarder (having been brought up by parents of the war generation who never threw anything out because it might come in useful!). I have had a massive clear-out recently and got rid of loads of empty cardboard boxes (another failing of mine – they might come in useful!) and now I seem to be accumulating more boxes again.

    I am going to bookmark this post because it is very timely. I’d also never thought of stuff having a shelf life before. That’s fascinating.

    Thanks!
    Shoshi

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  3. I am definitely a paper hoarder……….. it’s so pretty, I don’t want to use it!! I have to keep telling myself. It’s paper for Pete’s sake!! Use it!!!

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  4. Oh boy, I needed to be reminded of that same problem, was thinking about that yesterday. If I had all the projects did that I have made in my head, would be a great stack of finished cards and projects. OR if I had been working on all of these crafty projects instead of shopping for the latest thing I thought I needed. My house would not be so cluttered as well. lol

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  5. Wow! your blog was right on time. I woke up at 7am this morning to clean and re-organize my studio. I refused to do another project or video without getting things in order. It’s so hard for me to through stuff away, I’m going to really work on that this year. I also decided to pick a day where I only use scrap paper for my paper projects. I have almost as much scrap paper than whole sheets of paper. Thanks for this post. Now I’m heading straight towards the paint supplies and see what needs to be thrown out. Enjoy your weekend!

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  6. You are so right on the money on this subject. I have to admit that I am a rubber stamp hoarder. I cannot believe I just said that. I see something in a magazine or on sale and it begs to be purchased. Thank you for sharing what will last and the shorter lifespan on the others.

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    • A tip on making your rubber stamps last longer is to periodically condition them with glycerin, my trick is that whenever I use CLEAR embossing ink (which is essentially glycerin) I don’t clean my stamp after. It keeps the rubber soft and supple. If you find a stamp that is dried and looks like it wants to crack just give it a coat of clear ink and let it sit a few days, it will be good as new:) Clear stamps don’t seem to need this though:)

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  7. This is my biggest problem – I see, I like, I buy – then I put it away – take it out sometimes – look at it – then put it away etc etc etc. My New Year Resolution is to USE USE USE -and to NOT buy anything unless I really need it ………..watch this space!! (LOL)

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    • you are not alone, i know as many “collectors” as I do crafters:) Hey, you have an awesome (and fun) resolution to fulfill!

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  8. Ugh, you are preaching to me! Too bad, you didn’t write this about 2 weeks ago, I might have saved a few bucks on clearance sales. I tend to do most of my crafting late at night and want to make sure I have everything that I may need. Yes, I am a hoarder and my goal this year is to use up some of these supplies that I have been buying to use “one day”. Well, today is the day. Thanks for the swift kick in the pants.

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  9. Good post Lindsay!! I have a large stash of about 95% of the items you listed. I need to go through my oil paints, I’ve had them for years, but have kept them stored very well. I do go through the bottled acrylics and toss them periodically cause they are inexpensive and easy to replace…….and I never have the color I need on hand LOL Since I refuse to make resolutions I did decide to make some goals about all my supplies and your post just added some needed fuel! I have sooo much paper (Ido keep it out of the sunlight and in a container) and almost as much in scraps, I’m thinking banners and books to help use a lot of it up. Other suggestion?????

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    • Teach a class! You will use up a bunch of scraps and spread the joy of papercrafting! You can volunteer to teach one at a local library, maybe valentines themed or cards for soldiers.

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  10. oh dear! Guilty here for sure! I need the nudge and your good advice about hoarding supplies that can go “stale”.
    “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart”- Unknown.

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  11. Lindsay have you been peaking into my studio?! LOL I am so guilty of hording pretty supplies, but one of my resolutions this year is no craft buying besides what I have to have for my 5 etsy businesses for at least 6 months, whether or not that resolution will last, ask me after I see in person the new Basic Grey lines, o have a visit to Hobby Lobby 🙂

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  12. I live 3 hours from the nearest craft store so tend to buy up volumes of stuff on the rare occasion I go shopping for craft items. I live in the high desert where it is very dry so my stamp pads and markers tend to dry out. I am a paper addict for sure. And yes, I can’t stand to cut up my Graphic 45 papers. I told my husband that when I die, I want him to give my entire craft room to my craft buddy who already has more stuff than I do. When hubs complains, I always tell him it’s better than me having an affair!!!! I now have a continuous ink supply system for my printer so I can print out my own papers so maybe that will cut down on my paper stash….NOT!!!

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  13. Hi-this is amazing…..I am going through some or most of my things…..fabric, stitiching supplies, more sewing supplies, crafting supplies that are in some cases more than 30 years old…..but I have not been able to part with. WELL-my husband is acutely ill, will not be able to get better…….we have lost our home, lost any credit we had, and have terrible credit now, we owe, and owe more……..we have to live with my daughter or find a tiny apartment near her……..
    I cry every day that I am donating more and more to the disabled, etc. I say what if I need it again, what if I find I want to use whatever it is to make a grandchild something……..I cannot buy things anymore and am missing out on so much. But I am a sewing and craft horder…….I gave someone much of my paper and crafting stashes to use and she slipped and told me SHE sold it all……….like my Cricket, can you believe it……now I can no longer even look into the future for one. Okay, I am done ranting…..life hopefully will be easier – moving 4 hours away from here……and I will learn the art of simplicity. Thank you for your article……..as always,
    Lauren

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    • Wow Lauren, my heart aches for you and your husband. I am angry that your friend sold your supplies especially when financially you could have used that very much and you were kind enough instead to share with her. Keep a tote with the basics and you will find you can be creative with that, you will need an outlet with all you are going through. You may find you are more creative with fewer choices too. Take care, big hugs to you!

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  14. Oh Wow! I am a “let’s go ahead and stock up so I have it when I need it” kinda gal. Are you kidding me? Acrylic pain and adhesive have a shelf life. I have like 100 bottles of acrylic paint half of which is Martha Stewart so that I could have a “rainbow” of colors on hand for when I need it! I just placed an order for 288 rolls of ATG TAPE!!!! This was supposed to last me at least 2+ years! Not to mention the Million of glue dots I just stocked up on from Paper Mart! I am in big trouble. Say it isn’t so Lindsay, Say it isn’t so! Thanks Lindsay for slapping me in the face with reality! 🙂
    TFS…always appreciate you taking the time to teach us tons!
    Blessings,
    Valerie

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    • Dry adhesive does last longer because it does not “cure” or go through a chemical change when it bonds. Gorilla glue will harden in the tube 6 months after it is opened, E600 will cure in the tube a couple of years after it is opened and super glue glues its cap on but I have had glue dots and double sided tape last years especially if you keep it in Ziplock baggies or airtight plastic totes. Don’t worry, I think you are OK but I would buy some of those jumbo ziplocks and toss the rolls of tape and glue dots in there that you are not going to use up immediately:) PVA glue is like paint and it can freeze and get chunky. Dry stuff you don’t need to worry about too much with the exception of foam adhesive, that dries out, sometimes after you use it and stuff falls off your cards!

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  15. I’m guilty as charged! I love your organized craft room…right after I try to organize mine, I messed it up all over again!
    I appreciate your list of supplies and their shelf life too.
    I got a great deal last week at Michaels…they clearanced my fav markers, the Tombows. I bought one set brought it home tried each and saw that they were fine and went back to get the other sets. They were all fine. Now when mine go dry or the points wear, I don’t need to drive to the stamp store in St. Augustine to get more, at least for awhile! I love it, but I hoard all kind of markers!

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  16. No, I don’t want to talk about craft hoarding, but I think I’m in that category! Damn!!!!

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  17. Great post Lindsay, I think we all are guilty to some degree. Thanks for bringing it into the light.

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  18. wow, you hit a chord here! I hoard scrapbook paper. Every time there’s a sale I buy…. Just because…. I try to stop but can’t. I also go to garage sales and buy something I may use someday. And I ain’t getting any younger. I’ll never be able to use everything. Now a question! Polymer clay is on your last forever list. I was just going to throw mine away…..it’s all kinda hard. Do you think it can be saved?

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    • Probably as long as it has been stored properly, that means away from heat. You will be in for some conditioning and it will be hard especially if it is fimo or premo as those work harder. I recommend using a hand crank pasta machine to roll it out many times, like 20, and then knead it in your hands. You can add a few drops of baby oil too to replace any of the oil that has leeched out over the years. Now if you stored it in a hot card or near the radiator you are probably SOL (ha ha) but I just rescued 10 blocks of clay I thought were headed for the trash, it just takes a little work but hey, it is great exercise! It will star out crumbly, expect that, but it should start to stick together. If it is dusty and dry and won’t stick it has already started to cure and you will have to toss it.

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  19. This is excellent advice and hoarding craft supplies because they are too pretty to use is something I am guilty of sometimes. I appreciate the short shelf life list too. I think my acrylic paints might all have to be chucked out as I’ve had them over four years and have been too busy with other things to use them.

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    • check them before you toss them, they might be fine, especially if you have not opened them, you have to realize that they can sit on a store shelf for years too before purchased so if you bought them fresh you might be all set! If they wont mix up when you shake them and you see watery separation you will have to toss them.

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  20. you hit the nail on the head. if you do not mind I am going to pass your article around and keep a copy for myself

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  21. Jaja, that’s my problem too. I confessed I’m a hoarder. But I have decide to get into some swaps and have some pen pals friends that I could share my stuff. Thanks for the tips.

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  22. I too am a hoarder of craft supplies. I always think there will be a better use for an item on a different project, so I don’t want to use it.I have also looked at paper stacks a year later and not even liked them anymore.

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  23. I have a tiny little closet that is stocked full, my daughter calls me a hoarder but if I had the room to spread out, it wouldn’t look so bad. I need someone to build me my own craft house in my backyard. Complete with electricity, running water and everything else. Even a bed. Then I would never leave. LOL But really, when somone sends me sombthing handmade, I just can not get myself to use it. ALso when I get cutouts from people from things I don’t own I hate to use it up cuz then I won’t have it anymore 😦 Yes, I am a hoarder 🙂

    P.S. I LOVE your blog.

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  24. Oh yes,
    I’m definately a craft horder!…stamps, ink, paper, markers, glue, yard, crochet hooks….the list goes on and on. I always shop the sales, have a coupon, or check out the clearence section. what can I say…..oh yeah I need help!

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  25. I am so hanging my head in shame. I have a storage building full of craft supplies. I
    Had taken over the little apartment over with my pretties. However, with the way things have been lately I haven’t been able to buy new supplies. so now when I need something I shop at my storage building. Been working for a now and I still have plenty

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  26. Lol Lindsay – just reading everybody’s comments proves that we are all as bad as each other!!! Perhaps you should start a self-help group – Hoarders Anonymous – or perhaps Craft Hoarders Anonymous (CHA for short… might remind a few people NOT to go to CHA and stock up on yet more stuff!)

    Thanks for your lovely comment – those spoke guards seem really tired to me now, and I’m keen to spruce up my wheelchair to reflect my improved art skills! After some setbacks with the project, I think I’m back on track again but can’t do any more till my dear hubby buys me some duct tape. Meantime, been working hard on my zentangle album and will post about that again soon.

    Hope you had a great weekend.

    Shoshi

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  27. I really enjoyed your post as I recently decided to work with what I in my own craft stash. I am a horror about saving things to be altered. I went through my entire stash this month and found things I had forgotten and put things into plastic bins so that I can find them easily before that I had to rummage around through dozens of miscellaneous bins to find anything by the time I found it, if I did, I was to frustrated to craft.

    Now that I’m organized, I find it’s easier to keep things neat and to get more crafting done.

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  28. Wow Lindsay! This is like hoarders anonymous(oh just read the comment above this one)! I was away from my computer for a bit and found this in the inbox. What a great way to start my Monday! With a 50% off coupon in hand and only a need for one item on sale…so glad I read this:)

    All you described above is true for me too. I have created a craft room full of inspiration but too full to find my creativity when I enter. Its sometimes easier to buy new than to find what brilliant place I stored the perfect trinket for today’s project. (only to find it tomorrow) I’ve been working on using and reducing my “fine quality” clutter.

    I thank you and all your readers who shared for helping me feel less alone in the madness.

    …Off to add more to the donate pile!

    Blessings to you,
    Marie

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  29. Guilty as charged…. sometimes I feel like a collector. Currently challenging myself to not “buy” anything other than necessities like tape runner,until I weed things out a bit. Lol it is fun though.

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  30. New Year’s Resolution…..DESTASH EVERYTHING!!!! I have more yarn, needles, hooks, patterns, books, material, DMC, aida, sewing machines, sergers, threads, etc…blah blah blah…same as you all…guilty as charged…..should be ashamed when others have nothing…but I can now go in a store and say I DO NOT NEED THAT, because I have NO MORE room, SERIOUSLY…everything is falling off the shelves…can no longer keep it organized…..but it is so hard to to just give it away, so I make things for babies/preemies and donate…not so bad when you do that!!

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  31. I love my stash…… my hubs is OCD and has a spasm when he has to venture into my studio for anything. Though its perfectly organized. (My friends say, its like a craft store…LOL) He says there’s too much schtuffffffff.

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  32. Great post! You described me to the tee. I am currently purging and reorganizing. I buy things because I don’t remember having them or can’t find them. I wish I had the cash I’ve just spen’t on rubber stamps. Makes me sad.

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  33. This is a really great post. Thanks for all the tips. I have a small storage space for my crafting stuff, so now I can choose more wisely what to buy.

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  34. Found your post via a search. I sit in my “office” which is chock full of wonderful supplies (paper, Copics, rubber stamps, various accessories). I’d say I’ve been into it since about 2000. Much of the things I have moved west with me in 2005. Ink pads — that are NOT dried out. Seriously!? I’ve done a lot of projects. But even then, if you divied up the cost by the cards I’ve made, I bet each card had a price tag of about $150. Also, the time I’ve spent organizing my supplies greatly outweighs the time spent creating. That’s not cool. LOL. My goal is to stop buying, more using. And, when I DO buy something, bring it home and use it right away. On SOMETHING.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you Amy, I think sometimes we feel bad about what we ave bought and not used and feeling bad makes us not want to create. Think of it as an investment,you have bought and paid for the supplies, so now what ever you make from your stash is profit. You will not get the money back you spent BUT you can enjoy it now guilt free. Once you start creating (make it a habit like excersise) you will feel so good! If you end up making more cards than you need consider selling them or donating them to a charity auction, I donate a box a year to a women’s crisis shelter and I still have plenty to sell:) You can do it!

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  35. I don’t just have ONE craft studio full of supplies that I find hard to use, I have TWO! One is in a 12 by 25 foot storage unit in the Western US, and the other is in the home in the Eastern US that my DH and I have been remodeling for the last five years. (Thinking that we will buy a home in the Western US near our families once the remodel is finished). So talk about feeling guilty! I have tried to analyze why I am so obsessed with collecting ALL the things I could EVER need or want to do EVERY project in which I become inspired to get involved. I think it originated when I was a little girl. My mother would leave me alone a lot while either at home or in the car while she did errands during the day and helped my father remodel homes in the evening and all weekend. (Leaving me to watch my younger brothers after they were born). Being so bored and lonely, I would look for an envelope on which I could draw on the back. Ballpoint pens would run out of ink, pencil leads broke with no pencil sharpener to sharpen. As an adult, I don’t face these problems with all these craft supplies I have collected. But now I am worried, that at age 67, I won’t have enough time to use up all my wonderful supplies even though Thank the Lord I am healthy (and do take good care of my health as my other creative obsession is cooking healthy gourmet meals and everything from scratch, rarely eating in fast food places).

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    • Don’t worry, use what you want to and try not to feel guilty for what you have accumulated. Let yourself enjoy it, you deserve it! It is yours, you won’t run out, go play:)

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