Ten years ago, my sister-in-law got me hooked on scrapbooking. I started out with a scrapbook full of my pictures from the time I spent living in Africa, and then moved on to scrapping our daily lives. I did several albums over the years, and always enjoyed working on them. Then we had our son, and my scrapbooking came to a pretty grinding halt. I know – most people start scrapbooking to record their children’s lives, and my timing is a bit backwards, but it is what it is. I did about 20 pages of his baby album the summer after he was born, but it stops when he’s about three months old, and the rest of the pages are blank. I’ve made a few gift scrapbooks since then, but have switched to mostly posting photos on Facebook for friends and family, and archiving them on the computer for us. I still imagine myself scrapbooking again, but with our business, two little boys, our garden, exercise, etc., my days are completely filled up now, with no time left over for crafting. If I have a free hour in the day, I’d rather spend it playing trains with our son than making a scrapbook page about him playing trains.
Someday I may come back and work on our son’s baby book again, and someday I might start a baby book for our second son. But that day is not now, and it’s probably not likely to be anytime in the near future. What is likely to be happening in the near future is our basement finishing project (I know, we were supposed to be starting on that months ago. But the garden had to take priority in the spring/early summer, and we had a baby in the middle of all that too…). We decided that the less stuff we have in the basement, the easier it will be to work down there, so we started clearing stuff out. One whole corner of the basement had been devoted to my craft supplies, even though I’ve done very little crafting since we moved here. There was a large table (covered in craft stuff) and a set of floor-to-ceiling shelves next to it, all full. I had stuff that I didn’t even remember (my mother-in-law has been buying my scrapbook supplies for ten years, a lot of which I had never opened).
I’m not getting rid of all of it. We’re planning to include a counter-top-style built in craft area in the basement, with some shelves under it to hold supplies, and a place for my sewing machine. But the area will be a lot smaller than the current “craft area”, so some pruning was in order. I started by going through my fabric scraps and sorting out all of my felted wool scraps (I had used them to make diaper covers for our son a few years ago, but haven’t used them since and don’t have any plans to use them in the future). I posted a listing on Craigslist for a free box of wool scraps and soon got a reply from a lady who has a “very crafty” ten year old daughter who would love the wool. We emailed back and forth, and it turns out that the little girl loves anything to do with crafts, and the mom said she would be thrilled to have any craft supplies that I don’t need anymore. Knowing that a specific little girl would be getting my stuff made me much more motivated to clear out my supplies. They’ve been gathering dust in our basement for two years, and she’d actually be using them. After about an hour down there, I’ve got quite a stack for her: a drawer organizer, a shelf organizer, a large bag of fabric scraps, the box of wool scraps, and a large box of various scrapbook supplies. Hopefully they arrive with a car that has lots of trunk space…
I also listed the table on Craigslist, and had several responses right away. Listing things for free is an easy, fast way to get rid of stuff you don’t need anymore. And one of the bonuses of purchasing things used is that when it’s time to part with them, you don’t feel a need to recoup the money you spent on them, since it wasn’t much to begin with.
So this weekend, we should have a person coming to pick up the table and a little girl getting lots of craft supplies. My craft area in the basement feels much more manageable now, and I think it will all fit in the smaller area we’re planning for it. As time goes by, I’ll revisit the craft supply question. If I’m still not using what’s left, I’ll let it go. There’s really no point in holding onto stuff just because we imagine ourselves using it someday. In an interesting coincidence, Miss Minimalist wrote a post today that addresses the same issue.
Are you holding onto stuff you don’t use, just because you imagine yourself using it someday? Or because someone gave it to you and you feel like you shouldn’t get rid of it? Or just because…?