Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: A Crafter’s Ethos

If you’re anything like me, you struggle to throw anything away that has even a smidgen of aesthetic and/or sentimental value.

The house is full of junk, it’s messy and difficult to clean, and you think, “why am I such a mug?” But then, on other days, you rustle up a cute birthday card that’s very personalised to the recipient for £0 because you had all the materials to hand, and you look at expensive “crafters’ materials” kits with snippets of ribbon, decorated paper & the like, and you think “am I the only one here who’s not a mug?!”

(Just in case this isn’t translating so well… in the UK, one of the many, many ways to call some a fool is “a mug”)

So, how to strike a happy medium so that your inner space-craver (or your long-suffering home-sharer/s!) get some joy? I have some suggestions…

Got a pile of clothes that don’t fit? Hanging onto them because you want to alter them? Set yourself a limit – say, three garments. Allow yourself a little pile, but if something new wants to go in, you either have to start altering something straight away, or something from the pile has got to go. Donate it to charity, give it to a friend who might wear it or do something with it, cut it in half and sew two straps on it for a “rag apron”, whatever. You can only have (e.g.) three future projects tucked away.

Maybe you’re hanging onto clothes to “harvest” for material and/or fixings. Don’t put them away as a garment: hack them up now! Have a button box, a zip tin, a miscellaneous fastenings pouch, and add your recycled goods to these containers. Iron the material (if appropriate) and add to your fabric stash. Consider putting said stash in a vacuum storage bag to reduce volume in storage, and also to protect against moths etc.

Magazine clippings (& other paper items).
Same principle as above: don’t save a whole newspaper or magazine for one thing. Recipe in it? Cut it out, stick/clip into a saver book/file. Pretty picture/pattern? Get a folder for stuff like this on the go, “file” it, ditch the rest (in the recycling, naturally). Bonus: whenever you want to use clippings for crafting (birthday card, scrapbook page, anything), you can quickly and easily browse what you’ve got available to help inspire the project.

I don’t have a great system on the go myself here, but I do keep them all together. Occasionally, I’ll go to add another and I’ll think “do you know what? I’ve got so many ribbon scraps already. I really don’t need to add this slightly crimped/branded one to the pile”. And away it goes.

If it doesn’t work, get rid of it. If it’s a duplicate (I don’t know about you, but at any one time I have upwards of five Uni-ball Eye Rollers in the draw: best cheap-enough pen EVER for left-handers), stash it in a separate “back of the cupboard” location so that you only ever have one of each thing on the go.

Get rid of all the “free prints when you buy blah” ads that come in the package, and maybe even get rid of the package. Keep all loose photos together in one place. If you have lots, a traditional container is a shoebox. Less than that, and a received gift or chocolate box may be suitable. If you have duplicates, with no plans for them at present, give the seconds away – would a grandparent like a recent photo of you to put on their mantelpiece?

There may be other things you have hanging around. As a general rule, I would say: give them a home, keep everything of one type together, get rid of all peripherals, just keep what you intend to use.

Final piece of advice: give your piles an occasional review “just because”, to avoid having to wade through it all every time you actually want to do a project. This will make you much more likely to do (and see through) crafty stuff at home, because you’ll remember what you have, and won’t be put off by the prospect of jumbled piles of junk!

Happy crafting 🙂


One thought on “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: A Crafter’s Ethos”

  1. You’re not the only one! I do the same, but for ribbons I have small ziploc bags with ribbons sorted by colour and then have then all in a box. And another box with reels, amazing how stuff just seem to come to me…

    Liked by 1 person

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