Deb J’s craft room declutter

Like me, Deb J has been on a long mission to declutter her craft room. When Deb sent me these photos some time ago, she said she was only at the midway point of decluttering this area but WOW what a difference she had made already.



Both Deb and I have learned one thing about craft supplies and that is ~ Only buy what you need when you need it. We also both realise that after seeing a new craft tool in action it is best to give yourself a cooling off period before making a decision as to whether we will actually use it enough to warrant the purchase. I know that I have bought tools immediately after seeing a demonstration when excited about how great it seems. Only to find out that either the results weren’t as good at home because I didn’t have the hundreds of hours of practice using it that the demonstrator did. Or that what it produced wasn’t really in keeping with my style.

These same rules can be applied with any purchase. I give myself a cooling off period no matter what it is I am considering buying. I err on the side of caution if I simply can’t decide and just don’t go through with the purchase. Nine times out of ten I am glad later on that I just didn’t bother.

Do you have an area in your home that you know is seriously overstocked like Deb’s and my craft rooms used to be. Perhaps your kitchen, your linen closet, your make-up drawer, tool bench or sports equipment. As you can see, from these photos and ones on the 365 Before and After page, gradual decluttering of an area can make a huge difference over time. Take periodical photos so you can look back and see the progress you are making. They will spur you on after you have forgotten how much worse it was before you began.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you have kept just because you have the room for it but don’t love it or use it.

Eco Tip for the Day

 Aluminium foil take-out containers can be rinsed and put in with your other recyclable materials. As can single-use disposable aluminium baking trays. However it is best to avoid the use of these baking trays altogether.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. The room looks great! I’d love to have any room in my house as decluttered as Deb’s “cluttered” before picture. I’d have looked at that room and thought nothing was wrong with it.

    • Donna, at one time I would have thought the same. Then it started to get to me. Just couldn’t stand it.

    • Hi Donna B, the room did look great, but too much stuff is too much stuff when you have to organise it, store it and clean around it. I am sure with the same patient 365 approach to decluttering your spaces will begin to start looking just the way you want them to.

  2. I have to make a confession: I have backslid with my supply of yarn. Not because I went out and bought yarn…but because people have given me yarn and knitting needles and crochet hooks from their mother who died years ago or their cousin’s friend’s mother who has died and left a stash of yarn that would keep Walmart supplied for a year. For some reason, when someone asks me if I want someone’s yarn, I smile and say, “Oh, thank you. I’ll take it and see what I can do with it.” Well, there are only so many hours in the day, and as much as I love to knit, I can’t spend all of my time knitting! I have given several extra large garbage bags of yarn away but still have much more than I want or need. (Actually, I don’t want or need any of it.) And it’s not even the kind or color of yarn that I would buy. Do I sound ungrateful? Right now, one corner of my otherwise uncluttered bedroom is overflowing with yarn. Eliminating this yarn mess is my next decluttering project!! I need to learn to smile and say, “No thank you, but I have a supply of yarn and do not need any more at this time. But thanks for thinking of me.”

    • Mary Ellen, I have heard of several assisted living homes and nursing homes that take yard to supply their patients who knit or crochet. You might try giving it to one in your area.

    • I have found a wonderful local charity ( that makes blankets for newborns. I’m getting ready to donate a stash of yarn, needles and other craft supplies to them. Maybe you can find a similar charity in your area to donate these excess supplies to.

    • Hi Mary Ellen, by taking that yarn you have probably done the giver a favour by helping them clear out their lost loved ones possessions. As Deb J and Valerie pointed out there are plenty of places where you can donate the yarn. Often many of these places then make items and donate them to people in need. So why not investigate these possibilities in your area and when you are given yarn you can pass it on to someone who will appreciate it.

  3. Good progress Deb J. I think one of the biggest areas this blog has helped me with is my craft area over the last couple of years. I too no longer take up new hobbies on a whim or buy more materials than I am about to use and it’s very freeing to break the cycle of desperate “must have pretty new shiny gorgeous crafty stuff”. And to recognise that often for me it is the purchase that is the buzz more than the making.

    A new venture for me is to help my in laws de-clutter. It will take time and a lot of energy but we’re starting with my mother-in-law off loading her stash of yarns, patterns and soft toy making materials. A quick ad on freecycle has revealed a host of local community projects that would love to take it all off her hands and she is so delighted – she’s been struggling for several years with the need to get rid but not being able to face the waste of landfill.

    • Doodle, I think it is great that you have recognized (just like I have) that it is more the purchase than the need that causes buying of craft supplies. It’s wonderful that your mother-in-law is letting you help her with decluttering. Good luck and hope it goes really well.

    • Well done Doodle, you are no doubt a champion declutterer. I wish you much success with helping your mother-in-law. Sometimes all it takes is the right solution for responsible rehousing of items to encourage people to let go. When you value something it is nice to know it is going to the right home where is will be appreciated.

      • LOL, well, if I am a champion de-clutterer, the great thing is, I wasn’t 3 years ago so it shows how slowly and steadily by chipping away at our clutter, one thing at a time, we can change our habits and our homes and it all snow balls. So anyone reading this who feels they are so much still to do – take heart!
        I still have a large pile of tiles for mosaic work though that fails my rule of ‘if you were moving would you take these with you’. At present I have room for them in my reduced craft storage area though and I do get occasional commissions. I’ll probably gradually downsize these over the next year.

        • Doodle, the tiles make sense because you occasionally get commissions. I like though that you are also thinking of passing them on sometime in the next year. That shows you aren’t thinking of them as permanent.

  4. My mother died recently, leaving a substantial yarn stash. My sister declined to keep any on the grounds that her own stash has become unmanageable. Having drastically decluttered over the last year, I was happy to keep just a few balls of wool and cotton yarn that I knew I would use and cherish.

    The remainder I offered on my local Freecycle group, stipulating that as Mum had been a keen charity knitter, I would love her yarn to go to someone doing similar work. I had a few immediate replies and happily offered it to a man for his mum’s knitting group who knitted baby hats, blankets and so on for different charities.

    This meant that, on behalf of our mum, my sister and I were able to bless a man doing something kind for HIS mum; his mum who got to bless her knitting group; the group itself and all the people and animals that they were knitting for. It’s those small consolations that have become my focus as I undertake the sad task of sifting through the remnants of Mum’s very full, happy life.

    • What a very touching story Tam, and what a lovely way of approaching a difficult time. I wish you well with the rest of your sifting process. Not easy.

    • That is a lovely story Tam. I am sure that your mother is looking down and smiling at you for coming up with such a wonderful solution to passing on her things in such a thoughtful manner.

    • Tam, this is wonderful. I love how much we can do for others if we think about it. Look how many people will be blessed by this. Fantastic!!

    • I love this comment and am doing the same with my Mother’s things since she passed away in February; I figure that others will be happy with her clothes, yarn, etc. and that makes me feel good.

  5. Deb J, that is fabulous. I love your craft room, what a great space to let your creativity flow!

    Today I saw another idea for donating yarn and knitting/crochet supplies – someone suggested that middle and high schools often have clubs dedicated to these crafts and are grateful to receive donations.

    I also fell under the spell of acquiring too much yarn when I discovered a brand that I really liked and a company that was offering free shipping from the UK to the US. It was a case of I must buy as much as I can before they stop this deal, and soon I had a frightening amount. I have learned that there are always going to be great deals on products, and the best way to enjoy my crochet is to buy what I need for a project I have in mind even if that means splurging a little, rather than swamping myself with stash just because it is a great price. I finally sorted the yarn into more manageable amounts and am happily working on various smaller projects.

    • Hi Christine, great comment. It is so easy to get carried away as both you and Doodle eluded to when we see “must have pretty new shiny gorgeous crafty stuff”. You have come to the same conclusion of most of us commenting here, that there is always a pretty new thing and a great deal around the corner so just wait till you need it before seeking it out.

    • Christine, I know what you mean about getting carried away. That’s the way I was with scrapbooking supplies. For me it was knowing that they only kept paperss and embelishments in circulation for about 6 months.

  6. Looks great, Deb J. I have a small closet where I keep my hobby/craft supplies. I have gotten rid of some of it already, but I think it is due for another look. I do like the idea of a cooling off period prior to purchasing something. I have done this with many things and I find that I usually change my mind over time. If I keep coming back to it and thinking about it, then I know it was more than an impulse.

  7. The “cooling off” period you mention is applicable in many, many areas of purchasing.

  8. Deb J – that is FANTASTIC!! I love before and after shots as nothing inspires me more than seeing the super progress another person has made. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

    • Michelle, I love before and after shots too. I actually have even less in this room now. I will have to put in a new picture.

  9. My biggest craft area win right now is admitting there are some hobbies I am unlikely to go back to. Some I could get rid of outright, others were put on probation. Probation consisted of sorting the supplies and putting them into two piles. Pile A was items I could walk into the local craft store and replace at any time. Those were immediately donated. Pile B was items that were more exotic and would take more effort to replace. Of that pile I allowed myself the amount that would fit into one of those cardboard photo storage boxes. Funny thing was none of the supplies exceeded the size of the box once I pulled out anything that could be replaced within 24 hours with less than half an hour driving time. It drove home that I can let the store be my closet for more than just the hobbies I put on probation.

    • Hi MelMc, that was a good decluttering method you explained here. Once we come to these kinds of informed conclusions it is so much easier to curtail the likelihood of future cluttering.

    • MelMc, I love this statement of yours, “I can let the store be my closet.” This is something that applies to more than craft items.