Day 275 Hang-ons from old hobbies

Scrapbooking is a wonderful pastime, and I enjoyed it for many years. The problem is that by its very nature it causes an enormous amount of clutter. Supply clutter, tool clutter, souvenir clutter, photo clutter not to mention time clutter. I have rarely met a scrapbooker who can keep up to date with all the happenings in life that they wish to record thereby causing a backlog of all of the above mentioned items.

Remember earlier this week, on day 272, I decluttered an old Rick Steves’ travel guide that had been languishing in my bedside cupboard for three years. Close by that guide was also a zip lock baggy full of all the maps, tickets and brochures from that same trip. These items are the subject of today’s post.

As I said I used to be a scrapbooker. Along with the supplies, that I now don’t use regularly, which hold their own element of spending guilt, are the souvenirs that were so lovingly collected and hold far more sentimental attachment than the supplies. Even though I am fairly sure I am never going to return to the hobby, I clung on to these items for years, “just in case”. Well, now is the time to be realistic. I am at a very different stage in my life now and even though it is nice to look back on the scrapbooks I did make I am never going to get around to making any more. Even if I do there will be plenty of new memories that I will be able to document and it would be a mammoth task trying to catch up on the past.

This souvenir collecting has not only cluttered up my home for years, it also cluttered up my suitcase during the collecting in the first place. It was so nice on my recent vacation not to be weighed down with this kind of clutter. Therefore I am ready to part with the items in this zip lock bag and then next week I will start on the storage bin that holds items from other vacations, events and occasions that have likely been lingering even longer than these.


The items from the zip lock bag
Day 275

5 things I am grateful for today

  1. The off switch on the television – it is very had to concentrate on writing my blog with that thing blaring.
  2. Not having to go out today – sometimes it is nice to stay in and veg out.
  3. My husband is home again.
  4. That freeing feeling – of purging clutter and the heavy ties it has on your soil.
  5. A cozy knee rug on a cool day – spring isn’t sprung altogether.
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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Like so many others, I used to scrapbook. When people would say, “I’d like to try that,” I always discouraged them. It’s a hobby with what I call “the too toos.” Too much money, too much time.

    • Hi Cindy,
      when I was really keen the time used didn’t bother me because I am not one for sitting around doing nothing but like most hobbies and interests it was time to move on to the next thing. I must also admit it was my job to encourage people to try it because I worked in craft stores. You are right about the money though. Depending on your personal style that can be worse for some than for others especially when the trend became to clutter your pages so much with fluff, as I call it, to the point where it was hard to find the “focal point” photo on the page.

  2. I have so many photos to put in books! They are the biggest stressor for me in the decluttering and minimalizing process. I started to scrapbook with them several years ago and quickly realized that it wasn’t the hobby for me. Just too much stuff to purchase.

    I admire your fortitude to face those papers.

    • Hi Willow,
      Like Cindy said scrapbooking can get expensive. When I would work with customers wanting to try it for the first time I would encourage then to buy only the very basics until they decided if this hobby was for them or until they developed their own style. You can waste a lot of money on tools particularly by buying them before knowing if you will really use them.
      I have a lot more decluttering to do in this area before I am done.

  3. I’m so glad I never started scrapbooking. I was thinking about it at one point, but I decided that painting, sewing, and bungling up trying to learn how to knit is all my life can hold in terms of crafts.

    • Hi TheSimplePoppy,
      it sounds like you are a bit of a craftaholic like half my other readers. Like I said before I think there is a connection between being artisitc and being a clutterer.

  4. This is awesome. It applies across the board to any ‘hobby’…will we really ever get to those ‘projects’ that we wanted to do, intended to do, and have stored away in a box/closet somewhere? Maybe yes, most likely, no. Cudos to you for deciding that scrapbooking stuff has to go! Just releasing our own selves from the darn ‘project’ is freeing on its own – and that’s the hardest part of all! Decluttering all the stuff that goes w/ the hobby is easy once we give ourselves freedome from the darn thing in the first place!

    • Hi Annabelle,
      it is sometimes a long process to come to a point where we are happy to let go of certain things. Luckily I have given myself time to consider my choices slowly and deliberately. I wish everyone has that option, unfortunately for some the decluttering necessity is trust upon them at a time when they have no choice but to make rushed and regrettably not always informed choices. That is why there is no better time to start then now.

  5. I never really “got” scrap booking, but it hasn’t been so big here anyways.. but oh the other craft stuff! I’m a painter by profession and even that can get to me, the rolls of canvas, tubes of paint, mediums, stretcher bars, painting rags and cloth waiting to be cut into painting rags…. But that I have to deal with. And having a separate studio helps. I would like to de-clutter my studio too, but I’ll get to it sometime when I have a lot of energy and my home is so de-cluttered there is nothing more to work on hehe 🙂

    The craft stuff that I have at home though.. I have given away a lot but need to get rid of more. Ideally I’d only have yarn for my next knitting project, mohair for my next toy, and so on… But it seems crazy to just give EVERYTHING away! (And my spinning wheel and stuff.. I will still get around to spinning again won’t I?)
    Even though I currently don’t do much craft at all. At least I’m not buying ANY more, and slowly using up and giving away my old stash. Sigh. I really hope I won’t fall into the craft supply trap anymore.

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      there appeared to be a lot of soul searching in that comment and that is a good thing at least you have given it some thought but aren’t prepared to part with some things and that’s OK. Craft shopping is like a drug, easy to get carried away with that high and very hard to give up. I have changed my addiction from the high of shopping to the high I feel when I see my craft supplies dwindling, not that I will ever eliminate them although. I have been doing one craft or another all my life and that will never change.

  6. Back in the day before we knew better, I put my photos with a one line caption in those “magnetic” clear sheet potector albums. they were up to date and chronological and simple. Then it became harmful to photos and I switched to Creative Memories. You can guess the rest! I felt obligated to dress things up a little with matte sheets and borders and stickers–I loved the colored sheets and pens and stickers to the point that I really just collected them. I felt overwhelmedby the creative possibilities and so I did nothing-I was paralyzed. I am just now getting back to the basics of just simple captions, white paper in order and no stickers etc. Unfortunately I am behind by 10 years!! I do love the photo albums and I enjoy putting the photos in as long as I don’t have to be “creative” .

    • Hi Jessiejack,
      you are so right about being overwhelmed by the creative possibiities. We are spoiled for choice sometimes to the point of being paralysed by it. The only album I have made since coming back to Australia was for a friend and I limited myself to only what I had on hand and it turned out beautifully and I really enjoyed doing it. I think the lack of choice was the key to that enjoyment.

  7. Quilter’s Board calls UFOs–unfinished objects–a catch name for all those unfinished but started projects everyone seems to have. Seems like donation to the thrift store is the easiest solution–plus removing guilt–and giving someone else a headstart. I don’t do big quilts, but enjoy their blogs. I’ve been going thru my fabric stash and culling and taking stuff to the thrift store. I enjoy 365 and found it on Get Rich Slowly as a New Years Resolution blog.

    • I have a fish quilt that has been unfinished since childhood (I’m 25 now). I do a little work on it every few years. Not a very good rate of progress, but I’m not ready to give it up quite yet.

      As for scrapbooking, here’s an option for people who don’t have the space (time and money are usually a constant, though, I’m afraid): Digital Scrapbooking. All you need to scrapbook is a computer, and you’d probably have one of those anyway.

      Seeing as I work for a Digital Scrapbooking company (it’s my family’s business), I felt I should mention that. 🙂

      If anyone is interested, you can find more info at our site,

  8. I used to be wrapped up in the scrapbooking thing too. Bought WAY more than i would ever use just because it was cute. I got so fed up with the behind feeling all the time that i now do cross/scrapbook albums. I use 12 x 12 albums with photo sheets and have memento folders in the back for souveniers. I also can put artwork or awards, etc. in smaller sheet protectors near the photos they go with. Works for me because i like things together and roughly chronological. Kind of like the Project Life kits that are all the rage but MUCH cheaper.