Saturday, August 05, 2017

Project Slash The Stash: Changing The Way I Create

I have been making things for as long as I can remember. It has been one of few constants in my life, and it has sustained me, been a comfort in hard times, helped to shape me. It is such a big part of my personality, and I don't think I will ever give it up. But over the years my preferences, priorities, and ways of doing things have changed. And I think the way I create needs to as well.

There's a big thing in the craft community about having a "stash", a collection of materials to fall back on when you want to start a project. Which is probably fine, if you focus on a couple of crafts, or you have a dedicated craft room, or you use materials at a consistent rate. But I do such a range of different crafts, that I have ended up with literally hundreds of materials. I have needle felting supplies, embroidery supplies, knitting needles and yarn, jewellery making supplies, fake flowers for flower crowns, a frankly ridiculous number of shells for crafting, reams of fabric, threads, polymer clay and tools, wooden frames and boxes to decorate... Then there is the sewing machine, coverstitch machine, the barely touched spinning wheel I yearn to use. That's before we have even reached the inks, four different types of paints, pencils, pens, brushes, paper, canvases and easels that I use for artwork. A lot of this is things I bought in bulk or "just in case", rather than for specific projects. As a result, I often don't even have the supplies I have in mind for a particular thing I want to make, so I buy more materials...and so the cycle continues. It's also all completely disorganised, which doesn't make me want to use my supplies.

Despite having several huge clearouts over recent years, my stash is still far bigger than I would like, and takes up far too much room in my living space. At the end of last year I moved from a huge Georgian flat to a smaller flat, and although my new place is still perfectly spacious, the stash problem has become much more apparent now there are less places to hide it. Currently my partner (who is also a crafter) and I have an entire room filled just with craft things. It's not a work room, it's just storage, and honestly it seems like a huge waste of space. I probably have to move again next year, and I don't think I can face packing up and moving all the craft and art supplies I currently have.

On top of this, I think my preferences have changed. I used to be very into jewellery making, now it interests me much less. I'm not sure if I'm still as interested in sewing, or if I am just sewing because I have fabric. I would really like to explore spinning, but as my spinning wheel and wool take up a comparatively small amount of room, I don't feel I can prioritise it at the moment. I want to focus much more on art, but again it doesn't use up materials at the same rate, so I don't prioritise it.

Overall, my stash has just become a massive source of stress, a hindrance rather than a help, and it's making crafting feel more like a chore than a joy.

So it's time to slash the stash. My plan for doing so is

  1. Have a ruthless clearout of all the stuff I know I won't use, or don't like, then sell or donate it.
  2. Stop buying any craft or art supplies unless it's a specific item to finish a project.
  3. Organise my supplies in a way that means I can actually use them!
  4. Use up as many of my current supplies as possible, in projects for myself, to give away, or to sell.
  5. See which crafts I actually miss once I don't have the supplies to do them, and focus on those in future, buying specific supplies in limited quantities for the project.
This isn't going to be a quick project, it is going to be something which happens gradually over a period of months (and even that is being quite optimistic!). But I feel really good about this decision, and I am really looking forward to getting things used up! I am going to be posting regularly about my progress, and sharing the projects I've made as a result of it. 


  1. I can very much relate to your predicament -- I even have a spinning wheel as well, which I can't use because too much other junk is piled up around it.
    I'd love to see how your project goes: I really need some inspiration to clear out my space as well!
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks! I think the worst part is getting started, but now I've made the decision and finished a few things it feels pretty great. Although I have a lot of work to do!

  2. This sounds like a great idea, and something I need to do myself as I've amassed so many pieces of paper for journaling and other projects, so I really just need to sort through everything, decide on what I to keep and work with what;s left. Like you, there are some styles and projects which either I don't feel fond of anymore, or I no longer have the time or money to do or complete, so this has given me a bit of a nudge to sort my stuff out too and I'm excited to see what projects you come up with after the clear out! - Tasha

    1. Ahh I'm glad it has helped you! I'm actually really enjoying doing this. One of my problems is that I always feel like I shouldn't use too much of things in one go, and this has given me free rein to use as much as I want! I've already got a few finished projects I'll be posting about and they are very exciting :D