The Great Destash: How to Clean Out Your Craft Room

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Clean Your Craft Room

Have you been wanting to destash your craft supplies but weren’t sure where to start? Check out how I reduced my crafty stash by more than half!

My husband and I are ever-so-casually house hunting, and a couple of weeks ago our realtor told us that an important part of staging your home for sale is decluttering. Since then, we’ve been sorting through everything we own and getting rid of lots of old knick knacks and general things-we-don’t-need. One area that I put off was paring down my stash of craft supplies, because it just seemed so daunting!

Letting go of things is tough, especially when it comes to craft supplies. For every supply you consider purging, you can tell yourself you might need it someday, right? And for a green crafter, it’s even harder because so many of our supplies are “finds” that mean a lot to us!

As always when I’m faced with a dilemma, I turned to my Facebook friends for advice, and they had some great tips that helped a lot. I’ll share my two favorite tips first, then tell you what I found worked well for me.

Tips on Letting Go

My friend Kari Chapin, author of Grow Your Handmade Business, has also been clearing out the clutter in her life recently, and she had this advice, which helped me immensely:

This a really hard process for me for several reasons. Mostly, I end up with strong emotional/sentimental attachments to things. We have KEEP PILES, CONSIDERING PILES and DONATE PILES. Things we’re keeping are getting packed into big plastic tubs, things for donations are going into cardboard boxes, because we’ll have a yard sale first, and the considering piles are going onto shelves, where we can look at the items for a while to decide. I have a list of questions I refer to when I’m having trouble deciding what to do – and that helps me fight against my feelings.

This way, you don’t have to let go, and you can give yourself time to process. I still have some “considering” items on shelves in my craft room. I can always donate them later!

The other tip that I found invaluable speaks to my inner crafty hoarder and comes from my friend Annie. She said that when she destashes, she makes sure to leave one empty shelf or space in a drawer and gives herself permission to treat herself to one new craft supply. Picking up supplies might sound like the antithesis of decluttering, but I have to tell you that when I was deciding whether to part with something or not, having that reward out there helped a lot!

What I ended up doing was a modified take on Kari’s suggestion. I mentally grouped my supplies by type and area: fabric, sewing notions, stuff I crammed into that basket, mystery closet of crafty horrors, etc. Then, I went through each group to clear things out. Grouping things like this made it a lot less overwhelming.

It also helped me to set goals. Since I used to run a crafty business, for example, my fabric stash was HUGE. I mean, wow. I decided that I wanted to cut my fabric stash in half. Once I got going, though, I ended up parting with a lot more than that. Purging is a little bit addictive, and my fabric stash is now just 25% of what it used to be!

Fabric was the biggest part of my collection, but I was able to cut back on pretty much everything, from sewing notions to vintage suitcases to glitter, and it feels so good to have all of that SPACE!

Getting Organized

How you organize your newly-cleaned crafting space depends a lot on what kind of space you have, so I’m just going to give some general tips here:

  • A space for everything. Everything, from your fabric to small things like scissors and pencils should have a home.
  • Prioritize your supplies. Think about how you’ll fit everything into your space and also consider how and how often you use each thing. For example, I keep my sewing supplies out where I can grab them easily, since I use them all the time. My stash of acrylic paints are in the lowest corner of a bookshelf, because I don’t paint nearly as often.
  • Fun with containers. Good storage containers can help you keep things organized. For pens, pencils, markers, and paint brushes, I like using vintage mugs for easy access and the cute factor. I also used a vintage tablecloth draped over a low bookshelf to give me hidden storage, rather than buying a new bookshelf. Hit the thrift store for boxes, baskets, jars, etc. You might even have good storage options in your kitchen cabinets or in your stash already. Be creative to save money and resources!

How do you organize your craft room? Or do you have a whole room for crafting? I’d love to hear how folks with smaller spaces are making it work!

What to DO with all of That Stuff

So, you’ve made piles, decided what to keep and what to get rid of, and now you have bags and bags and boxes and crates full of craft supplies. What do you do with them? Here are a few options:

  • Yard Sale – If you’re up for the extra work, you can sell off those extra supplies and make a little cash. You know, so you can go out and buy more supplies!
  • Donate – Your local thrift store will gladly take your destashed supplies. You can also look for a local Creative Reuse Center, who will take and resell them. Local schools or libraries will also sometimes accept gently-used craft supplies.
  • Throw a Party – Invite your crafty friends over, and let them pick through your supplies and take whatever they like.
  • Share & Swap – Open your stash up to crafters all over the world on Crafting a Green World’s Share & Swap page! You can offer up supplies to give or arrange trades with other crafters.

Have any of you purged your crafty stashes lately? I’d love to keep the destash inspiration coming in the comments!

A version of this article originally appeared at Crafting a Green World.

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