Random Crafty Things I Hoard…

Hi friends! Today I want to talk about some random bits I collect. I was reminded of this while cleaning up after my live stream on Friday afternoon. I put my supplies away and then placed the color swatch I painted to determine what colors I was going to use in the painting in my “random crafty collage junk drawer” I had to giggle at the pile of swatches I have saved over the past 2 years and I thought it would be a nice jumping off point for this weeks Konmari Craft Room video. Remember, it’s NEVER just about the STUFF.

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(If you are reading this in your email click over to my blog to watch the video)

It can be hard to be intentional or even know what we really want or need in this day in age but you can hone your skills to live a life of intention instead of habit. It all started when I read “The life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie kondo and decided to keep only items that sparked joy (or really use) and it was life changing to say the least!

I know my hoarded items are not crazy excessive and they are well contained but I enjoy adding to my stash of color recipes every week (aka live show paint swatches) and the corks are useful and the bottle caps, well, they have a use by date now that I no longer teach little kids craft classes but one thing I can say is that my hoard is intentional where as before the konmari method my hoard was an uncontrolled “Well I better keep this in case I need it, or someone I know needs it, or someone I have not yet met might like it ” scenario.

Last week I talked about how I stopped using baby wipes for a month to see if I really needed them. Did they add value to my life or were they just a habit or convenience? In June I stopped drinking wine except for 2 glasses on a holiday and birthday. Turned out in both cases these things were habits and pacifiers and not items that added as much value as I thought they did. My consumption of either the wine or the wipes was not big but it was also not necessary. I will still enjoy a glass of wine now and then but it will be more like 4 times a month (not week!) It will be a treat, not a habit.  I know it is not an excessive amount and I am not judging anyone, only figuring out what is right for me:)

I guess is there is one thing I’d like you to get from this is to be intentional and differentiate a treat from a habit.  Habitual consuming (eating, drinking, shopping, smoking) can be a real problem because in many cases we aren’t aware that we are doing it and it takes more and more to satisfy us the more we do it. Take coffee for instance, you can have a cup of coffee once in a while and get this burst of energy but if you have it habitually every day you need more and more to get the same effect that one cup used to give you. It becomes the new normal. Every once in a while I wean myself back on coffee so I can still enjoy the benefits without being such a slave to the habit. Shopping can be like that too, a little pretty here, one there and it becomes so frequent that the pleasure we once got from shopping has been dulled and we can’t appreciate any of the things we purchased. Then we wonder why we are so unsatisfied.

I say if you want a habit then pick a good one: Daily exercise (oddly enough I used to hate to exercise but I discovered podcasts so now I look forward to my evening walk with a  TED Talk and it has become a treat!), volunteering, spending time with loved ones, making art, learning a musical instrument or even tidying up. Those can become things you don’t even think about, you just get in the habit of doing them and they only benefit you and your family. They say you don’t quit a habit, you replace it, so let’s intentionally replace the habits that don’t add value to our lives with ones that do. I’ll drink to that!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, til next time happy crafting!

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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!

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!

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Fabric Stash Storage!

Hello friends! It rained yesterday, really rained and the kids and I were stuck inside but since I like to be home it was nice, I didn’t have great weather to feel guilty wasting;) So I hung out in my sweats and set off to tackle the ever growing baskets of fabric scraps that have accumulated in my craft room. Here is the after picture:

DCF 1.0

Now, if you are brave…or kind…or a highly functioning hoarder like myself watch the video and see how I got my mess under control. Don’t mind the glittery sweats, we are all friends here right?

I have to say I am rather pleased with myself. I did not spend a penny and my fabric is neat and tidy and ready to use and best of all I can get the piece of cloth I want without messing up the rest of the stash.  The best part was that I was able to toss stuff I was given that I did not even like but felt like I should keep anyway. I am stopping that madness! The small scraps of fabric and felt I still like have gone into a bag and I will use it with my kids craft class next month. Tackle the stash, make it usable, toss the stuff you don’t want, make a plan for the rest! BTW if you have cloth you don’t want contact your local Project Linus and they will use the fabric to make security blankets for children in need or maybe turn the stash into a lovely quilt or blanket to donate, that way you can enjoy the cloth, create, destash and feel good;)

Have a great weekend and til next time happy crafting!

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