How to keep craft clutter under control

Are you a knitter, a quilter, or do you have some other kind of hobby that takes up substantial space in your home? Is your craft clutter out of control?

Craft clutter

Keeping craft clutter under control is a big issue for many people, so it’s the main focus of this article. The same principles can be applied to any other kind of hobby clutter too.

Designate a finite amount of storage space

The big question for many crafters is: When is enough enough? The only way to keep craft materials under control is to designate a finite amount of storage space. When that space is full, if something new comes in then make a firm rule for yourself that something old goes out. It’s the only way to make sure the quantity does not endlessly increase.

Invest in furniture and storage containers

“Designated storage space” does not mean piles of plastic bags or stacks of storage containers stuffed full of things, clogging up the energy of a room and looking like an eyesore, as so easily happens in the homes of avid crafters. It means investing in some kind of furniture so that you can organize your equipment according to usage and your materials according to type, preferably separated into separate drawers or storage boxes on shelves.

If you are passionate enough about your chosen hobby, then you will be not only willing to do this but you’ll absolutely love the creative freedom it brings.

A place for everything and everything in its place

One of the most frustrating things for a crafter is knowing they have something that’s a perfect fit for the project they are working on, but they cannot find it. Give each piece of equipment and each type of material its own home, and get into the habit of putting it back where it belongs so that you won’t need to break your creative flow to hunt for it.

Clear out the old to make room for the new

Items that are stockpiled and never used stagnate the energy of your home, which in turn stagnates the energy of your life. It becomes clutter that needs to be cleared in the same way that any other type of over-accumulation does.

Discard any equipment that is broken or you don’t like using. Toss supplies that have expired, such as pens that don’t work and glue tubes that have dried up.

Then sort through and let go of any materials you really don’t like, that you’ve had for a long time, or that you just have too much of. Yes, they could all come in useful someday, but will that “someday” ever come? If you’ve accumulated serious quantities of craft materials, read this article first: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.

Let go of unfinished projects

Unfinished projects create clutter of the physical kind and they also clutter your psyche, nagging away at the back of your mind until they are done. Give yourself a break. Your hobby is supposed to be fun, not a chore. Let go of the creations you’ve lost interest in completing and you’ll have more energy to put into projects that you really want to do.

Finish one project before starting the next

Saying yes to too many projects can clutter your work table and your mind. It can also feel emotionally overwhelming. Bring yourself up to date and then adopt the new habit of one new creation at a time. Keep a book where you jot down new ideas, but wait until you’ve finished the current project before starting the next.

Don’t let your hobby be a substitute for life

It’s wonderful to be creative, but don’t let it become a substitute for life or a way of avoiding intimacy with others. You may love the [fill in the item] that it has taken you so long to make, but it can’t love you back. And you may enjoy creating gifts for other people, but in the end it’s your love they value the most, not what you make for them. Love what you do, but love people more.

Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2016, updated 2022

Related article
Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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6 Responses to How to keep craft clutter under control

  1. Oh God! I can relate!!! I need to get rid of rubber stamps and stamp pads, paper etc. from 15 years ago. I’m trying to get going on oil painting and I don’t have a space to paint!! Arggh! I also have a growing pile of yarn and knitting paraphernalia and need to reduce that too. Help?1?!? I’m scrolling thru multiple websites and this one caught my eye. Can you ladies help?

  2. I recently went through my craft stuff and in about half an hour I halved my fabric collection. I’d been collecting it for about 30+ years, and had said when I had my daughter that I would make her a patchwork quilt before she was 2. Well, she’s now 15 and I hadn’t even started it!

    I also picked out anything unfinished, and either finished it or dumped it, including a half-made black crushed velvet waistcoat from my early 20s when I was a Goth. (I’m now 55!) It feels (and looks!) so much better with so much less stuff. Now I will only have ONE thing on the go at once.

  3. A great article! Thank you Karen :0)
    As a beader I am constantly aware of using what I have but i do need to remind myself often of this!
    I also understand your point of not burying myself into my craft & forgetting the real world – thus can so easily happen. Mel x

  4. Hi, Paola, I’m glad I’m not the only one. I like knitting but I hate sewing knitting together – I have at least two items knitted (except for neckband/edging band) that have been waiting for two or three years to be sewn up. Later I am going to find them and decide either to throw the lot, or to make the effort and finish (probably one of each). They do intermittently weigh on my mind, and nothing should do that if easily avoided.

  5. Thank you for this post!

    As a knitter, I would just add that I make an exception to the “one project at a time” rule because I often have a smaller, portable project which goes with me everywhere, to be worked on in queues, on public transport, etc.; and a larger, more involved one which I work on at home (these could be two stages of the same project, for example sleeves/body of a cardigan, or different ones – e.g. socks and a sweater).

    A particular challenge for me is finishing details, such as button bands, or weaving in ends; sometimes I have almost-complete projects which then sit there for months awaiting a 30-minute session of finishing. I’m obviously a prime candidate for the Zero Procrastination course!

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