Too much of a good thing

I received a comment yesterday in relation to craft clutter. Please read it below…

Gillie: I recently decluttered almost all of my craft supplies. Not because I was going to give up but because I wanted to take it back up again. There was always so much there that I was just overawed by it all and never really got around to doing anything. When I was younger and had very little I made a lot more, because I had little choice and got on with what I had.

I think this applies to so much of our stuff . The more we have the less we are able to do because it takes too long to choose or sort.


And there was an equally interesting reply that I can fully relate to…

Sanna: Gillie, you are making such a good point here! I also find that in the past I often have bought supplies for a hobby instead of pursuing the hobby (bought books instead of reading one, bought fabrics instead of sewing etc. etc.), whereas I purge most in the areas I actually work in most – because it bugs you most if you can’t get to things you need on a nearly daily basis because they are buried in an overflow of other similar items.


I also chimed in on this conversation…

Colleen: I have experienced this situation myself Gillie. I actually think that I gave up scrapbooking because it was too hard sifting through the 1000s of photos of every vacation we went on. In the end the decision making got the better of me. Now that I no longer scrapbook I also never bother to look at the vacation shots once we get home. I was there, I remember it, I had a wonderful experience and I don’t need to relive it through photos. It is all there in my mind when I want to revisit it.

And the same goes for me with the craft supplies and tools. I ended up with so much that they were also a pain to sift through every time I wanted to make something. Even lately I have been picking up some free bits and pieces from my mother and MIL for crafting, and it just starts to build up to too much aspirational clutter. KISS (Keep it simple stupid) really does apply when it come to craft. Right now I want nothing more to come in, even though there is more going out, because I just can’t bare the thought of it building up again and turning me off crafting altogether.

You name the situation, they may all be slightly different but they end in the same result, frustration, disappointment and abandonment.

So yesterday while I was making some new labels for my spice jars I ran out of a cartridge for a certain craft tool I have. I quickly improvised to finish the project. Then I made a split decision ~ If I can improvise on this occasion,  I can do without this item, whose cartridge are terribly expensive here in Australia. Add to the fact that this item doesn’t get used all that often these days when I am crafting a lot. So I put it in the corner of my living room with a pile of other stuff I intend to auction on ebay.

It is so easy to get carried away like this. Whether it be with craft supplies, décor items, clothes, shoes, tools, sporting equipment, pretty things, books, cooking ingredients, collections… you name it. We get all excited about a hobby or pastime and go crazy with catering to it. Before you know it the pressure to perform, so to speak, gets too much and we end up giving up altogether. Or the trouble sifting through trying to find just the right thing for a project that you know is there somewhere, get irritating. Or the aspiration to use up all the stuff turns into an all or nothing situation and you give in and give up. Or you thing the next purchase will improve your game but it doesn’t and meanwhile spenders guilt becomes unbearable.


So that is one less bulky, space wasting tool cluttering up my crafting space and one step to simplifying my options in this area.

I have done the same in my kitchen over the years of slow decluttering, also my wardrobe, my toiletries, make-up, jewellery, shoes, reading materials etc, etc.

I am now itching to take a good look at my other crafting tools and make some choices on other items I can declutter. I have a couple in mind without even looking. And the plastic containers in my kitchen are also in my sights right now too. I can feel some very satisfying decluttering coming on.

And before I go I just wanted to share another of this weeks comments that I found very true and satisfying. I love to hear from reading who have made big changes to their thinking that has helped them declutter. And this comment from NF is just such an example.

NF: As I’ve decluttered, downsized, whatever u want to call it, during the past four years, I realized my conglomeration of “stuff” was a combination of my depression era parents(save everything) and my 1980′s mentality of “buy everything.” Both were creating a huge conflict in my life. First I de -cluttered because I didn’t have the room in our smaller home, then I sat back and watched what I actually used and what I did with it, how i used it and and how often(and how often I had to dust it if it were decorative). It was like a minor epiphany. I understand the “I might need it one day” or “I spent a lot of money on this” guilt and logic. if I live to 100, I would never use all the stuff I’ve accumulated on a consistent basis, so off it goes. charity, eBay, heirlooms back to relatives. I used to take any free thing offered to me, no more, much to the affront of the giver. I had one of my biggest arguments with a friend over a pair of hot pink velour sweatpants (which I would only wear if I were comatose and naked), because I refused them. They weren’t a gift, someone had given them to her and she didn’t want them either. I now follow my own logic and heart, not my guilt. it’s really hard to do, but just like any habit, if you keep doing it, it will become standard practice. Minimizing is very liberating once you get past your own mental roadblocks and detours. Drive straight and don’t deviate. 

Have a great week-end everyone and happy decluttering.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter  a grooming tool or product that you don’t care much for using. Even I have one of these to declutter.

Eco Tip for the Day

Borrow and share rather than buy, clutter and add to your carbon footprint.

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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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. This is so good, Colleen. I really know about this. I got so excited about scrapbooking and shopping for the supplies that I ended up with so much stuff. I was proud of myself for all I had. What a crock. Now I look back and could shoot myself for all the stuff I bought and all the money spent. So much of it I have since sold or given away. While I am not a shopper normally I sure went nuts with shopping for supplies. Now I realize that until I need something I don’t need to buy it. I have also decided that the tools I now have are all that I plan to have. If I can’t do everything I want to do with them (a few punches and embossing folders) then I don’t need to do it. It works so much better now and I have little space taken up by supplies.

    • Good for you Deb J. You make me feel like getting into my spare room right now and go through the tool box. A job for later today or tomorrow I think.

  2. It’s the same for me with clothes. I have far too many choices, it takes me forever to decide what to wear. Once I get it down to my true favorites, it won’t be so hard since I’ll LOVE everything that’s left in my closet.

    • Good to hear you are thinking that way Shoeaholicnomore, as I have come to understand how much you love your clothes. Variety isn’t necessary the spice of life.

  3. I don’t do much crafting but I have noticed similar to what you describe with my 8 year old daughter. She has a small storage drawer thing where she keeps craft items – like crayons, scissors, paints, coloring books, stickers, and such. Over time the drawers got jam packed full of stuff. We decluttered them a few weeks ago and I notice that she’s been using her arts and crafts stuff much more lately.

    • Hi Eric, I love that you are involving your daughter with the decluttering and observing the results of it. Is there also and area of your life where this post can be applied. Perhaps tools, sporting equipment, a hobby of some sort…

  4. Thanks for featuring these comments, Colleen! 🙂

    My craft declutter is still in progress. Somehow, I am still a rather hesistant declutterer, although I know that I want to part with more in the end. But then again, I declutter so frequently that it adds up to big amounts quickly. I have a space goal set for my sewing supplies and am slowly getting there…

    • Hi Sanna, as you know I believe that slow is the way to go. Less mistakes are made that way equalling less regret. It also takes time to analyse who you really are when it comes to your stuff. Sometimes you have to handle/use the items before you realise that they really aren’t all the useful to you. So you take your time, I sure am.

      • Well sure enough, Sanna, it sounds as if you are making a bunch of progress. Slow and steady, I like that way.

        • I sure am! We are getting another guest soon and so I remembered the first time we had one – I was thrilled at the time that due to my decluttering efforts we actually were able to make one room free for her, but she had to put up with one full wardrobe and a full bookcase in that room. Also, the storage/laundry room was crammed then! Now, both the bookcase and the wardrobe are completely empty and the storage in the laundry room is limited to the actual shelves there. Moreover, little spaces have opened up all through the apartment. As I mentioned often enough, I’m still by no means a neat freak and laundry or dishes still do pile up, so sometimes I wonder how it can be that I still live in such a mess despite decluttering for years. However, it’s these moments of reflection when I realize how much different the state now is actually from the state a few years back. Mess now is really just having been to lazy to pick up properly after myself. The amount of actual stuff has probably been cut by half at least!!! 😀

      • I am, Colleen, for sure.

  5. I missed the post where NF’s comments were located, but reading them in this new posting, I can certainly relate to NF’s comments. “Guilt” clutter – – Moni and Colleen say it together . . . . afghan!! Yes, I still have it. 🙁

    I wanted to bash my hubby in the head the other day. He has a particular glass he likes to drink out of and it was the last of the set. Well, it cracked in the dishwasher and he wanted to keep it!!!!! NO, NO, NO.

    Now that gardening is beginning in my part of the world, it will be hard to keep me inside taking care of the house because I’ll want to be digging in the dirt. Hubby rigged up a fantastic watering system (although it looks a little Frankenstein-ish), so that task is done. I just have to keep the weeds down and the fertilizer on the roots. 🙂 Come September/October, I’ll be canning Mexican and Italian sauces, drying herbs, and freezing veggies. Fingers crossed on no hail storms.

    • Hi Michelle, I’ve said it before and I say it again, we can’t control what other people insist on keep so it is best to just go with it.

      I’m curious, do you use all the produce from your garden or do you sell and/or share it. I do like the sound of those Mexican and Italian sauces. Perhaps you could send me you recipes.

      • Hi Colleen – he’s a nut, through and through. LOL

        Oh indeedy, I share. I take to work. I take to the some friends. I have a new friend this year who will love the variety of hot peppers we are growing. My mom and I sort of put a bit of a spin on the recipe from the Ball canning book aka The Bible of Canning. hee hee A couple of years ago, I dried a bunch of herbs and gave as Christmas gifts.

    • Michelle – that afghan is legendary!

  6. Hi Colleen, This has been a week of great posts, thank you! I feel you are really challenging me to look at my home and my belongings with fresh eyes, to question the obvious and the “norms”. Just because kitchen cabinets go almost to the ceiling, does that mean that I have to put stuff on each shelf – and then need to get the ladder from the garage to reach up there on the once or twice a year occasion that I need a particular item. As I think about it now, I’m sure that I have acceptable duplicates for everything that is stored in the cabinet above the fridge which are mostly Halloween and Christmas serving pieces – and which probably won’t be kept much longer! I read somewhere else this week that just because you might have the space to keep stuff, if you don’t use it and it is essentially clutter it is still best to get rid of it to free yourself from the mental clutter that stored things can generate. I know this is true in my case. I have decluttered so much now that everything fits where it needs to and is pretty well organized, but I am still very much aware that a great deal of it is still excess to our needs and is not stuff that I want to keep for the long term so it is probably best to keep chipping away at it now rather than let it keep nagging at me.

    Do you have any advice about how to deal with fragile/breakable things, specifically antiques? I have a few decorative items which could soon go, but I’m a bit perplexed about figuring out their value and finding a safe way to move them along. I’d love your ideas!

    Thanks again and have a great weekend!

    • Hi Christine, I agree with you. In fact I am about to add some shelves to my laundry, no to make room for more stuff but to make access and organisation of stuff more functional. So yes space and shelving isn’t always about creating the possibility of cramming in more stuff.

      As for dealing with fragile stuff and their value. I just investigate what prices items are going for on auctions and antique sites on the internet. And when it comes to safe transit I just make sure that they are well packed when I sent them. I have never encountered a breakage yet. In fact I have had many eBay feedbacks as to how well I packaged stuff. And my packaging is always free because I acquire it for retail outlets where is would usually just be thrown away.

      • Thanks for that Colleen. I shall have to do some research on the prices and possible demand. Luckily my husband is pretty good at packing things up safely so that part shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

  7. Hi Colleen! I found this post relates to me and is very true when I talk about books. I have, recently, decide to reacquire the habit of everyday reading. I am trying to read a book a week. I do get behind now and again but I am trying to make reading a habit again. What I am definitely NOT doing, is buying new books. I have a lot of books and I really want to read some again and there are still some books I have not read. That happened because I spent a lot of time book shopping, having more joy in acquiring new books than actually reading them. Now that I am not looking for new books, I can properly enjoy those books I have.

    • Hi Andréia, that is exactly the reason I borrow books from the library rather than buying them. Even when I borrow them I don’t always finishing reading them. My aspirations for reading usually outweigh my love of it. I really am a doing person and would rather be making things with my hands than sitting reading or watching TV. However I have been know in the past to do with craft supplies what you used to do with book. I would Buy far more supplies than I ever got around to using. Well I am finally using them up and making money doing it. Yay for me!

  8. Colleen…..The only downfall I see, to having a limit in craft supplies is that my work can tend to look the same. But, I have heard other artists say that they become more creative because they use their supplies in different ways. I like the sound of this and think this is ultimately the way to go. I don’t want to spend any more money and am always in a use-it-up mentality.

    • Hi Kim, I can relate to what you are saying. When I finish answering comment I am going to use a star flower die and different size circles to make a bear for the front of a baby card. So yes limited tools, or shapes in my case, can result in creative thinking.

  9. All this talk of craft supplies made me look at paper, envelopes, coloring pencils and pens. Some items made it into the ” take to work pile” and others the recycling bin. In addition, I have shredded a whole box of papers (bills and personal documents) and the recycling bin is almost full again. I now have to wait a whole week to fill up the bin again:( I was on such a roll attacking the paper stuff.

    • Hi Sheryl, I’d find some way to store your shreddings until the next bin pickup. You’d be best to keep at it while you are on a roll, you wouldn’t want to lose momentum. And well done you for both your stationery declutter and your paperwork sorting and shredding.

  10. Last year I let my crochet supplies go. I was never that good at it anyway but after a long day at work it was nice to come home and putter. However the last time I had crocheted was about 8 years ago so the supplies just sat around until I gave them away. Yes, I did think for a moment about all the money I’d put into it but, like my Mum always says, give someone else a turn with it.

    Three boxes of stuff donated this week and a lot of that from mini-missions. Thanks.
    Grooming item, huh? Hmmm.

    • I like your mum’s wisdom Ron. She must be a clever lady.

      • Very clever yet still a bit concerned with my decluttering which seems odd. She’s all for giving someone else a turn with things but can’t yet see why I feel the need to donate/recycle/sell the many things I have.

        I have tried to explain my dream of just having stuff around me that I actually use and like but she can’t quite see that yet. One of my sisters and one of my brothers are big into decluttering too but as none of us live close to the others I can’t actually see what they are doing or how they are doing it. They must be reading different blogs than me. 🙂

        I just don’t see the point of having massive amounts of stuff boxed up and me never looking in them until the next move (and my last move I hardly looked in any boxes anyway). Much better to know exactly what I have and where it is kept.

        Having written that I’ve still got lots of stuff to pare down and am still struggling with some of it. So easy to ignore/avoid certain overly full drawers and closets.

        • Ron B – it can be a bit baffling to those close to us, when we do a big 180 degree change of direction on a way a life. The boxes sound like an excellent mission but if they aren’t interfering with your everyday living like the overstuffed drawers – here’s my suggestion. I love rewards. For every drawer you sort out, you get to go thru a sealed up box.

          How exciting that two of your siblings are also decluttering, I guarantee it will be an interesting topic next time the family gets together. Don’t forget before and after photos, they’ll be able to appreciate the work behind the snapshot.

          • Moni,

            that makes sense to me. I usually respond to rewards… of course decluttering in itself is my best reward around here.

        • Hi Ron, my best advice is to do what is right for you and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Doing what everyone else does is what usually gets us into a cluttered mess in the first place. Quite often I find that people start to see the wisdom in what you are doing after a while.

  11. I bought and bought and bought books but rarely ever read them because I felt overwhelmed by them all and didn’t know where to begin. Eventually I decluttered around 200 (1/3rd of my collection) and have never done so much reading as I am now! I am still hoping to be down to no more than 5 unread books at any one time and only keep favourites I know I will revisit.

    I have done this with several hobbies, buying and buying and buying and never doing and finally just let them go – jewelry making, scrapbooking etc. It just gets too much and makes you feel guilty and stressed and not like doing that hobby at all!

    Sometimes I think simple hobbies are the best – I have a bike which was recently made from old parts by my other half and I since the weather has been good, I have been out several days this week. No fancy accessories needed – except a helmet of course! We also go for walks and pick up litter as we go, again no fancy accessories needed, just a pair of garden gloves and a bag.

    It’s so nice not to have tons of stuff to clean up after and tidy up which is hobby related though I definitely still need to work on my books and sewing items. When hobbies get out of control it stops being fun altogether and just becomes another mess to clean up after.

    Also I am pleased to say that this week we saw a bin bag full of items go to the charity store, plus another smaller, shopping bag as well as some other items which were binned or recycled, including an old shirt which my former classmates had written on when we were 10/11 and moved from primary to secondary school! As soon as I saw it I threw it in the direction of the bin and wondered why on earth I had kept it for 12+ years in a box…

    Looking forward to next week’s round of decluttering with 365 🙂

    • Hi Jane, I think many readers can relate to this. I know I have felt overwhelmed by my craft supplies at times. Keeping it simple is often the best. That doesn’t mean one has to stick to the same style and techniques it just mean it is best to focus on a couple at a time, use up the supplies and move on to something else then back again if wanted.

      I like the sound of your bike. I really must take a trip to the cycle ecology centre soon to see if they have something to replace the borrowed bike I have been using.

  12. Hey, I found your blog via an internet search 5 days ago and have really enjoyed it. You have been inspiring me! We sell stuff on fb. Since Jan 1 2014- today we have made over $800 (we meet just down the road from our house or where we are already going to – no going out of the way). I do my best to declutter and keep an organized house. My husband on the other hand keeps as much as he can for the “just in case” situation. He is slowing coming to realize not to buy an item until we need it (lessons learned the hard way) even if its on sale. Anyways, since finding your blog every day I have purposefully gotten rid of at least one item – and I don’t mean adding it the sale pile. I only count the item if it leaves my house for good! I have gotten rid of at least 7 bags, 2 small boxes, and 2 large empty cabinets that were sitting in the garage unused (we no longer needed them why keep them? we have enough other stuff that just collects dust). After reading your post on crafts I decided mine needed a cleanout – I already have two bags full that are leaving my house!

    • Hi Susie and welcome to 365 Less Things. I am sorry I have been so slow in replying. I seem to be crazy busy of late.
      My daughter often sells stuff through fb. Especially clothes which are usually snapped up by friends. She has also being using ebay a bit recently. It is good to see her moving the stuff on rather than allowing it to build up. Generally when my kids want to donate the stuff they give it to me and I deal with it for them. I think all those family dinners may have an ulterior motive behind them. 😉 In fact tomorrow I have been enlisted to help my son take some loads to the thrift shop.
      Well done you for all those items you have removed from your home. I bet you are enjoying the space opening up around you.