A Minimalist Craft Haul???

Hi friends! As you know I have been on a massive declutter of my home and craft room over the past 6 months. It has been life changing to say the least. I have accomplished so many things that I have not had time to do before (such as creating my first watercolor course ) because I am not overwhelmed with so much needless stuff stealing my attention. Up until now I have managed to resist shopping, I was never a big shopper before, and the only “new” stuff that had entered my craft room has been supplied from clients for freelance projects. So last week when my friend Kathy asked me if I was going to check out the big sale at Joann Fabrics (there was a 40% off your total regular price purchase coupon) I was conflicted. I didn’t want to go back to my old hoarding ways but I actually needed a pack of thin black cardstock as I had used up my stash and even all of my scraps so I decided to take her up on the offer. Did I fall off the wagon? Find out in today’s video!


Hooray, not only did I not fall off the wagon I was able to find the two things I actually needed! I valued the experience of shopping with my best friend and that was enough, I did not need to come home with a car full of bargains to justify the trip into town. I feel like decluttering has given me a whole change in mindset and I credit the Konmari method for this. If you want to learn more about how I used the Konmari method from the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to declutter my craft room you can see the blog post and video here. The reason it worked for me I think is because you gather up all of your possessions by category on the floor in a pile and pick each thing up and ask yourself “does this spark joy” if yes you keep it, if not you get rid of it. I used to think it was the “joy” that made the method work but now I think it is the fact that you confront the big pile of abundance. I think I used to hoard supplies because I felt a scarcity. “What if I use it up and can’t get any more?” “What if it becomes really expensive and I can’t afford to buy more?” “What if zombies take over and all the craft stores go out of business?” This exercise, while it may seem silly or unnecessary, showed me that I had an over abundance to share and after getting rid of what I did I still have plenty. I have plenty and I am content. This thinking about a future of scarcity also leads us to be anxious. You should totally plan for the future but don’t obsess about it, besides our future will be more secure if we have more money in the bank and less crap in our house to trip over.

Tips to avoid over buying (from a gal who used to love stocking up on bargains “just in case”)

  1. Don’t look at the price. Look at the item you are considering buying, determine how much value it will add to your life. Look at the “real cost” of the item (the real cost is the price of the item plus the maintenance and storage) and determine if it is worth adding to your life and then look at the price and see if it is worth the cost. *BTW if you did not know this item existed before you saw it in the store you probably don’t need it.
  2. Determine how much you can actually use. I will stock up on some items I know I will use, If I see a great buy on Arches watercolor paper and I have room in my under bed paper storage I will snag it but you need to make sure it is something you will use up. Also factor in the savings vs losing that storage space until you use it up. In many cases the storage space is more valuable than the item over time. *This was the hardest issue for me because I used to teach art full-time professionally so I was always looking to stretch a supply budget.
  3. Where everyone else is getting the hot new product and you are feeling caught up in the “gottahaveits!” ask yourself if this new thing just duplicates something I already have (do I need the Gelatos, Prima Oil pastels and Distress Crayons or can I make do with one?) Look at stamp and paper designs this way too, every year there are new cupcake, butterfly and botanical stamps coming out. Are you buying the same things over and over? Make sure your new purchases are really adding value to your stash and perhaps weed out the duplicates.
  4. Ask yourself “Why do I want this?” Think about the things that we didn’t even know existed and then Bam! we want them. If you have trouble with this you can unsubscribe from sales emails and place the catalogs right in the recycle bin as soon as they come to avoid temptation. Don’t worry, theses products will still exist in the future if you need them.
  5. The next time you are tempted to shop play with the supplies you already have. The real joy is in the creating, not the acquiring.

I hope I don’t sound like a buzz kill. I totally know the “high” of finding fun new art supplies and getting a screaming deal but you can replace that high with the high of creating awesome stuff with the supplies you have and the thrill of using something up. I used to be afraid of using something up (what if I can’t get it again) but there are always more and newer things we desire and if you do use something up you can get something else and enjoy a cleaner home in the meantime! We worry about “wasting” our supplies but the real waste is letting them sit on a shelf unused gathering dust, we buy these things to use them, not to have them so go and make a beautiful mess already! That’s what I am going to do today:) Happy crafting!



18 Responses

  1. My other motto is use it or lose it-if it has been sitting there too long it has to gol


  2. Love this! My daughter, son-in-law, and grandson have moved in with us while they are house hunting. We set up my grandson’s crib (and all the other stuff that comes with having a baby!) in my craft room and I’ve had to set up work/crafting space in my dining room. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had and what I really use, or what I occasionally use, until I had to rearrange my life! My goal will be to declutter when I get my space back. 🙂
    And… can you recommend any sponges for inking up cards or do you have a DIY solution? This is one thing I have found that I really need!
    Thank you!


    • I fold make up wedges in half and glue the ends in plastic bottle caps or chess pieces. They work better than the ones by Ranger for me:)


  3. Loved this… I’ve started on the path, and I feel inspired to stay on the path after viewing your videos on the topic. I have not done the big declutter as recommended, but I have started it in my own way and stuck with it. I began with the craft items that were packed away. Some of these things are years old, are already grouped, and obviously unloved! So far, I’ve emptied out 5 crafty drawers, and I’ve made a pile of stuff to send to a friend who does classes on decorating mini hats. These are things I know she will use (I asked her first!!!), I am going to a scrapbook convention at the end of the week, and I’m looking forward to hanging out with friends. Since it is scrapbook and not a bonafide stamp convention, I think I’ll be alright. 🙂


    • Love this. Great pep talk. I have taken your lead and have been cleaning out. We have donated tons of stuff. Still working on the craft/office. Thanks


  4. That has been me lately. One package of black paper or a few sheets if they are half off of some colors I need for a project. My expenditures have gone way down except for AliEpress.  LOL


  5. For me, the clutter just impedes creativity…so, instead of ‘Haul’ videos we will enjoy ‘Free to Create’ videos! 😀 (Creativity Sprees) I am too much like my mom who had ‘too much stuff’ and spent all her time organizing her stuff! No freedom there! I am slowly de-cluttering and love the mental up-lift (de-stressing). Thanks for all the transparency and encouragement to move forward to CREATE.


  6. Yes, because of you I have decided to go around and declutter my whole house room by room. And I have started with the craft room first. two sets of shelving so i could better find my now boxed and labeled supplies. Was shocked to find how many bottles of glitter I had saved in three different places. Now it is all together in one. I still have a problem needing to use those 40% and 50% off coupons. But have walked around the store several times to find something I need and can use rather than just something that looks fun to have. Thank you for all your inspiration!


  7. Inspiring and not a single buzz kill in sight.


  8. I have found since I started purging items from my craft room that I am pickier with what I buy. I went to Michael’s last week with a 50% off coupon and a budget that I felt was more than generous. I went in with the idea I could buy whatever I wanted. I walked out with one strand of beads. Nothing really held a strong desire for me. I have lots of supplies and things I have wanted for awhile just feel too extravagant – like a hexagon punch when they are so easy to cut out. I’m still leaning towards that being my next big purchase but I can’t say when that will be.


  9. I totally agree with the minimalist approach. Right mow I’m taking that approach with books. Really? Will I ever read Roots again? And doesn’t the library have a copy? I’m donating, reading what has stacked up in my recommended stash, and passing others along for friends to read. Same with crafting….just slowing down. The coupons will ALWAYS be there. I’m trying to experiment with what I have and go from there.


  10. You are not alone parring down STUFF!! Whenever I think I need to shop for a new top or a new watercolor brush, I stop and Think..is this a NEED or a WANT?? I’m attracted to coupons and deals like a moth to the flame. We are the ultimate consumers!! Less is more as they say and it does feel uplifting to trim the herd!! LOL


  11. I haven’t gone minimalist by any stretch of the imagination; but, I did read the KonMari books based on your videos and I cleaned out all of the clothes in my closet that didn’t spark joy. Thanks for the inspiration. It’s good to see that we can go to the craft store and shop sensibly.


  12. I have found that the less supplies I have the more creative I am. I guess it becomes like a challenge. Last year I did a major clear out and found a place in Manheim, Pa. called The Art Of Recycle. It’s a place that gladly takes art supplies that are still good so students and organizations that need supplies can go and make affordable purchases. I felt really good about passing along and not tossing. Thanks for the posting. It helps us all keep in check.


    • Whoops…..I forgot to mention. Read the Becoming Minimalist blog. His Saturday reads are the best. His site more than any other has kept me focussed.


  13. I really enjoy your videos and appreciate all the great information on your blog. I’m more into vintage than trendy, and my “hauls” are made at Goodwill or Salvation Army, where I really cannot count on it being there when I need it. So I still have too much! So my new shopping mantra is “Leave it for someone who really needs it.”

    A major problem is that we live at two houses (the reasons make too long a story), so a lot of my crafts time is sacrificed to travel back and forth. I’m considering putting all my sewing things at one house and all my art supplies at the other.

    Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how have you handled it?


  14. Hi Lindsay,
    I have been trying to be a minimalist for a long time, and I think I do well, but my husband cracked up when I began going around saying “does this spark joy?” He joked that he better be careful or he would be given away! Enjoy all you do so much. Thank you.


  15. I’ve recently started working towards decluttering my home towards a minimalist lifestyle. I’m also an artist/crafter so this includes my arts and crafts supplies. Asking myself, do I really need this and I’ve been donating and recycling a lot of things. Nice post. 😊


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