Day 336 X-Mas Craft Declutter

Well the jolly fat man is due to arrive again but that isn’t going to send me into a spin this year. I have let my family know that I will not be wanting any gifts and aren’t planning on buying any for anyone else. I will be giving my children money and everyone else will be receiving one of my recycled Christmas cards which is what this post is about. I love simple Christmas I feel so much more relaxed this year.

Every Christmas for the last  few years I have been using the cards I received the year before to make the years supply of Christmas cards. Instead of sending generic cards I am sending something I have put personal effort into and am recycling at the same time. I hope the recipients appreciate the effort that went into it and consider it my personal gift to them.

The decluttering aspect of this exercise is that I use up some of my over abundance of craft supplies. This year I have used 15 card bases and envelopes, several embellishments and a number of sheets and scraps of patterned paper and card stock . It may not be much but every little bit counts. Below I will share with you the results of my efforts.

Xmas Cards 1

A sample of the end result of my recycling and decluttering

Before                                           After


Before                             After                              Before                                After


Before                             After                                 Before                                    After


Item 336 of 365 less things

The complete collection of cards that I made for this Christmas. Slowly but surely those craft supplies are starting to dwindle.

Craft Supplies

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Games to play together on a rainy day.
  2. Be able to do things with my own two hands.
  3. Patience – I can’t say I have it for everything but it has been the key to my decluttering process this year.
  4. A break in the rain to plant some basil and a chilli plant.
  5. Rice – Thai black sticky rice, creamed rice pudding, curry and rice, risotto… need I go on. It’s just so versatile.
Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • Mini Mission ~ Thursday 21Dec2017 Declutter your fridge of out of date items or by using up as much as possible before adding more. With the holiday season here you will likely need every inch of spare space.
  • Mini Mission ~ Wednesday 20Dec2017 Declutter by recycling some items. That mound ofused takeout containers, old newspapers and magazines, paperwork that needs shredding, glass jars you set aside in case you have a use for […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Your work is beautiful! You have given me some great ideas.

    The only problem is, if I RECEIVED one of these lovely creations, I would never want to declutter it!

    • Hi Jo,
      you just have to be ruthless otherwise the clutter will build up again. I must make to maker stickers for on the back saying please dispose of me and don’t turn me into clutter.

      • I like the idea of the stickers on the cards.

        It’s hard to discard them, especially when you know they cost so much for the sender (the store-bought ones). But as you say, one has to be ruthless.

  2. The cards are beautifully made. Have you ever thought of selling boxed sets? Even photographed copies of the cards would sell well. I’m hoping that NEXT year I’ll be organized to make my own.

    • Hi Willow,
      I think it is time Steve and I started an Etsy store. I could produce cards constantly for a couple of years with the stock pile of papercraft supplies I have.

  3. I’ve just started following your blog and I love your beautiful cards. I would be THRILLED to receive them and I’m sure the lucky recipients will be too. Well done on putting some of your craft items to such great use 🙂

    • Hi Mrs Green,
      it’s great to hear from you and welcome to my blog. I subscribe to your web site and often link my readers to you on my Favourite five day. I love the awareness environmental education you bring to people through your blog. Keep up the good work.

  4. I love this post!

    @Jo — have you ever thought about framing one of your favorite cards? I don’t do any Christmas decorating anymore and haven’t for a long time but when I did, if I had an especially pretty card that was frame-worthy, I’d find a festive frame and use it as part of decorating for the following years. Perhaps an old photo frame you already have (always think ‘declutter’) could be recycled just for this purpose.

    • Hi SuddenlySusan,
      I have never considered framing any but if I did I do have several spare frame in a box cluttering up my garage. With photography buffs and artists in the family I won’t be getting rid of those in my decluttering missions as I am sure they will be used one day. They were accumulated while I was working for a large craft change store in the US.

    • Great idea, Susan! I have two brand new frames I didn’t know what to do with, and they will be just the right size! (I’m realizing we don’t have any old frames, because we still have every picture we ever bought. I do love them all, though.)

      Something else I have done with cards is to stick them up on our kitchen cupboard doors. We have plain melamine cupboards, and each door will get a card or two, centred on it. It makes the kitchen look very festive with a few seconds of work.

  5. Wow what a great idea. I have a draw full of card ‘bits’ that I could use up in this way! And currently I have time on my hands too. Thank you for the nudge!

    • Hi Cathryn,
      thank you, I glad you liked them. I will be making the years supply of birthday card soon too. Give it a go and send me some pics of your finished product.

  6. Lovely cards Colleen. I keep old Christmas cards too, but I remodel them as gift tags.

    We’re having a very low-key Christmas too. In fact, I hardly bought any presents either as my husband and I don’t exchange gifts, and I only have one friend to buy for in our Girls’ Kris Kringle (there are 8 of us, and up until 2 years ago we used to each buy everyone a present!) My kids both asked for Lego, and I collect books throughout the year to make them a book stack. The cousins all get cash, apart from my sister’s daughter who gets a special book. I do make my Mum a calender through Snapfish with current pictures of the children; must get onto that very soon! The tree is up with only homemade or meaningful decorations, and a friend and I have made mango chutney to give as presents (next week we’re doing lemon curd and meringues, and the following week truffles, gingerbread and peppermint bark).

    • Wow Loretta,
      you have been busy make a wonderful consumable Christmas for your loved ones. I love all the home made treats you mentioned my mouth was watering as I read it. I also like the idea of the Snapfish calendar with family photos on, do they cost much to get printed? I hope you have a fabulous Christmas.

  7. Nice job Colleen. I write a Christmas letter because, as you know, I’m a gal who has a lot of say. To reduce clutter, I email it. Less cosy than receiving a card in the mail, but cheaper and less cluttery too.

    A woman in my monthly craft group UFO (UnFinished Objects) was using a 1″ hole punch and a piece of thick red string to make a great photo/card garland. She had years’ worth of cards and was cutting the prime pieces and photos into circles. She’d put glue on the back of two circles and glue them together over a the string. Very cute, very clever, and very decluttering.

    • Hi Cindy,
      I stopped writing Christmas letters once we moved to the US because I started to think that people probably thought I was obnoxious telling them all about out world travels etc. Maybe I should start doing that again and brush over the world travelling part. We do have the whole Liam story to relate this year I suppose which would make it interesting.
      I loved the photo garland idea though I might have a go at that one. My mother-in-law is here at the moment and I am sure she will love it too.

      • I’m in the process of getting the cards written, stamped and mailed. It’s a lot of work but sending and receiving cards is a part of Christmas that I love (after it’s done).

        Usually I just stuff all the cards I receive in a basket but this year I think I’ll hang them on a garland by the front door.

        • Hi Willow,
          I had better get on to the job of getting the cards sent out myself or all that work will have gone to waste.
          I hang my cards in the blades of my Venetian blinds at the front door.

  8. Excellent stuff here I must say! My hubby and I have given up the whole Christmas thing for a while now. We have a special meal, give as much as we can to charities and send our family members cards or ecards. The most we ever have to buy is one gift from a draw in his family and I cannot say how wonderful this has been for us. We marvel at people driving themselves into debt and distraction and feel a great sense of freedom!

    Thanks for the great post Colleen…


    • Hi Bobbi,
      I am glad you have found what is right for you when it comes to Christmas. And you are so right about the freedom there is in doing it your way. Good for you.

  9. Oh Colleen!!! Those cards you’ve recycled/redecorated are absolutely GORGEOUS!!! I’d love to receive one of those! (you don’t have too, of course, I’m just saying if the folks who receive your labor of love and recycling don’t appreciate it, then cross them off your list!!!).

    My in-laws were visiting (Thanksgiving holiday) and me and the MIL drove around to some x-mas markets (Europe). In all of the holiday excitment and spur of the moment, I bought some hand made stuff for decorations in my house (about 80 euro, total). However, those items that I’ve recently purchased ( at xmas mrkts)…yikes, now I wish I’d saved the money instead. Now I have regret (buyers remorse?). Those items can’t be returned (local vendors/market stalls/cash only type stuff). At least the items were NOT massed produced, and I did purchas them directly from the artist who made them (oh now I’m just trying to justify my mistake!). I’ll give a few as gifts (kids teachers, bus driver, babysitter, post person, etc). And then next year me and kiddies will just bake cookies, or, like your idea, do a craft card project instead! Lesson Learned!!! Ok, now I’m starting to feel (a tad bit) better. Thanks for listening! Thanks for sharing your post!

    • Hi Annabelle,
      thank you for the kind words about my crafting project I’m glad you liked them.
      I believe those Christmas markets in Europe are fabulous I can understand how you got carried away with yourself. That being said I want you to do something for me in the future. Bottle that feeling you had when you realised you wished you hadn’t bought all those decorations. In future when you find yourself getting carried away in the moment stop take five deep breaths and remember that bad feeling you had today. Really give some thought to whatever it is you are considering purchasing and decide before the fact whether you are likely to have buyers remorse once you get it home and walk away if the answer is yes.
      You can use a visual reminder buy taking a photo of the decorations you bought and keep it in your wallet/purse and bring it out to remind you of those buyer remorse feelings while you are in the moment of deciding to buy something.

      Just one other reminder. You don’t have to feel guilty whenever you buy something the isn’t a necessity. We are all allowed a little something nice occasionally. I think it is good that what you bought was hand made and I think your idea of giving them as gift would help you feel better about the purchase if you are sure that you really regret the splurge. Feel good about yourself and just know that you are learning one day at a time.

      • THANK YOU!!! Photo taken (and in wallet); will take 5 deep breaths (and I also re-read your post). This is an amazing process. Thank you for your insight and wonderful suggestions! Especially the last line, “Feel good about yourself and just know that you are learning one day at a time.” I needed to hear that. 😉

        • Hi Annabelle,
          I hope my suggestions help you in the future. I can tell by your comments that you are a very nice person and that you are doing your best to do what is right for you and your family and the world around you so keep learning and getting wiser as you go. Just remember it isn’t a bad thing to treat yourself occasionally so you don’t have to feel guilty if you do. Make sure it is something that you want badly enough that you aren’t going to regret it later.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kym, kurio's resource. kurio's resource said: Day 336 X-Mas Craft Declutter […]