Inside: 7 ways to start your minimalist journey when you have a lot of craft supplies
How do you respond when someone talks about minimalism? In my experience, makers tend to fall into one of these three categories:
- A few say, “OMG, yes, sign me up! I have all this extra stuff, where’s the trash can?”
- Some shake their heads furiously, “Nope, not for me. I don’t have a clutter problem, I just need more space.”
- And many say, “It sounds interesting, but I need all my craft supplies. Lots of craft supplies.” Yeah, I know, I have them too.
This article is for that third group, my fellow makers who feel the pull of a simpler life but don’t know how to square it with all the fabric, yarn, paper, vinyl, and other craft supplies. Let’s talk about how you can get started with minimalism when you’re a crafter.
Write down your “why”
This is an essential first step that will give you clarity and help you stay motivated. So go ahead, grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down the reasons you want to live more simply.
Is your creative mojo gone and you want it back? Put it on paper. Want to sleep well at night and actually get plenty of rest? Write that down too. There is no right or wrong answer here because everybody’s circumstances are a little different.
The point is to have a written note so you can refer to it later to check your progress. Also, you might find that as you let your pen fly, you’ll discover how you really feel about the subject. This often happens to writers, and it’s one of the main reasons for journaling, but that’s a subject for another post.
Set your own rules
There is this widespread belief that minimalism is about having next to nothing, but it’s a fallacy. Minimalism isn’t about self-denial. And there isn’t a specific number of things to own.
Minimalism is a little bit different for everyone. You decide how you want to begin your minimalist journey, what matters to you, which areas of your life you want to be minimal and where you want to have more. And then you make your own rules to make sure your priorities get the time and energy they deserve.
Your rules can be written or unwritten, depending on your preference. If you like things in black and white, then, by all means, write down your rules or type them out on your computer. Or you could embroider them on a wall hanging for your creative space. That would be fun.
My rules include having lots of polymer clay in many different colors for experimenting, but only keeping vinyl in a few colors (glitter for the win!) and buying just what I need for the next project. What will yours be?
Create a clutter-free zone
Designate a space to be free of clutter and then keep it that way. This can be your kitchen or your craft room or any other area in your home. If you’re at the beginning of your journey to minimalism, I highly recommend starting with a decluttered bedroom.
Is one whole room too much? No problem. Select a smaller space, like your favorite reading corner, and keep it clutter-free.
If you’re feeling ambitious, pick an area that is usually a clutter magnet, like the kitchen counter or the entryway. Declutter it and make a rule that nothing gets left there even temporarily. Which isn’t to say you can’t use that space, only that when you’re done, you restore it to its clutter-free glory.
Bring in less stuff
This is an extension of the previous point. Think of your whole home as a place where you don’t want clutter. Consider every potential purchase before you click the buy button or check out in the store.
Questions to help you make a decision: How will you use it? When will you use it? Where will you store it? If it’s a craft supply item, do you have time to use it up? If it’s a garment, do you already have something in your closet to wear with it?
Simplify your wardrobe
And speaking of garments, do you often feel like you have nothing to wear even though your closet is full? Or do you wear the same clothes over and over while the rest languish in your closet? Use the capsule wardrobe concept to streamline your clothing situation.
Create your own capsule wardrobe to dress well with fewer clothes and declutter your closet in the process. If you can sew your own wardrobe collection, even better because you’ll have complete control over fabrics, colors, and fit.
There are several ways to be a minimalist in how you dress. You could start by wearing different silhouettes in a limited number of colors. Or the same silhouette in lots of different colors. Or you could simplify even further and decide on your personal uniform to wear every day. It’s up to you.
Simplify your meals
I don’t mean you should eat the same thing every day, although that is an option too, up to a point. You may decide to eat the same breakfast every day, have a rotating menu of freshly cooked dinners, and eat leftovers for lunch. That’s what I do.
Or you may want more variety day-to-day, but with fewer ingredients overall. Meal planning can be incredibly helpful here both to avoid waste and to ensure the right mix of recipes throughout the week. If you want some inspiration, take a look at Pamela Salzman’s dinner planner series.
Either way, chances are good you’ll be able to downsize your collection of spices, keep a narrower inventory in your pantry, and streamline your meal preparation routine. Then you can become a minimalist in the kitchen and have more time, money, and energy to be all sorts of creative in your craft room.
Declutter your schedule
Look at your appointments for the next week. Not just the ones that are written in your calendar, but also the ones you usually keep without ever writing them down, like your Saturday morning grocery run or Wednesday night bowling league.
The best way to do this is to write down everything you have coming up in the next week. Everything. Work hours, home-related errands, hobbies, church, doctor appointments, get-togethers with friends, creative time… all of it. And don’t forget to write in the time you spend watching TV or on social media each day.
Then take a good look and decide which of these activities bring you joy or otherwise contribute to your well-being. As much as possible, eliminate the rest. If you’ve said yes to some invitations out of social obligation, feel free to decline them. You may be able to get out of some of them even now. If so, just call and cancel.
And going forward, keep this in mind and next time just say no instead of yes. Prioritize your time. If creating is a significant part of your life, but you have a hard time fitting it in, schedule it. Seriously, write it in your calendar as an appointment. Because it is. It’s an appointment with your own creative mojo. You should keep it.
Minimalism is not an either-or proposition. You can definitely be a minimalist in some areas and not others. It’s your life, your rules. The tips above are just the beginning. Where will your journey take you? Let me know in the comments.