Triple the pleasure

Yesterday I received the following comment from Stephanie ~

I just finished a use-it-up project on some leftover baby yarns that my late mum used part of, to do test work on a “masterpiece” crochet blanket for my son when he was born (he is 32!) 

My blanket, which used 23 asst small balls/ball ends, is a non-masterpiece giant granny square LOL. It will be given away tomorrow, and I have started on a second use-it-up blanket. Pretty sure there will end up being 4 use-it-up blankets by the time that box is empty. 

This is a good mindless TV project for me, and far better for me than snacking.”

What a fine example of tripling the pleasure of decluttering. First Stephanie has an outlet for her much enjoyed craft of crocheting, second she gets to use up a stash of wool that is otherwise cluttering up her home and third the finished product is donated to someone in need. How wonderful is that.

Like Stephanie I also love to do crafts. However one needs to have an outlet to move the craft on once it is completed, because there is only so much use and space for it in ones home. I recently saw a sign in a local art space window asking for volunteers to do shifts manning the space in return for having the opportunity to display ones art or craft for sale in the space. I jumped at the chance and now each Thursday I will be doing a four hour shift in return for displaying and hopefully selling my handmade cards. I get to enjoy my craft, possibly make a little money on the side, help out other artist by manning the space and decluttering some of my craft supplies that have featured so many time here at the blog.

What collateral pleasure to you receive from your decluttering efforts.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter some items left behind from a previous relationship. Items you can remember the good time without or that only serve to remind you of the bad times.

Eco Tip for the Day

Be familiar with all of the recycling possibilities in your area. Local government websites usually have lots of information on this. Also word of mouth your computer are other good ways of gaining this information.

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. Craft supplies have loomed large in my decluttering concerns. I used to have a job where I unwrapped beautifully wrapped packages (nice job!) and stashed away bits of expensive ribbon and paper over some years. These and my broken necklaces that I don’t love enough to have fixed and the various tubes of glitter, sequins and card-making supplies I have accumulated have been on my conscience. They are mostly small and light objects but they filled a drawer. I packed the lot into a Jiffy bag and mailed it to a friend who loves doing crafts with her children and runs craft workshops, it didn’t cost much. The vast collection of art postcards I also have now has a little room to breathe before their decluttering day comes. Next step, what to do with the fabric I’ve had for 20 years?

    • Hi Geraldine and welcome to 365 Less Things. Well done getting rid of those craft aspiration clutter items. And I bet it felt good giving them to someone who you know will enjoy them. Once a crafter always a crafter so I dare say there will always be some sort of craft items hanging around and that is OK too.

    • Geraldine – Check out if there are some Quilt Guilds/groups or church groups in your area that make charity quilts They are always looking for fabric from which they make quilts to give to hospitals, family shelters or other deserving organizations.

      • I teach at a preschool and we always love donations such as fabric and craft supplies and pretty much anything that can be recycled to add to our art studio/ collage and construction area – so it might be worth finding your local preschool or child care centre to help with decluttering. I regularly take bags of bits and pieces from home into work with me.

  2. Another use it up thought – when I’m using a gift card and it only has a little bit of value left, I leave it with the clerk of the store to use for themselves or the next customer. Especially if the store is in a mall, which I hate to go to, or any other shopping “mecca”, which I don’t frequent. This saves space in my purse, the issue of having to return to a place I don’t frequent, and they really enjoy the little gift!

  3. Now that you are decluttered to the point that it doesn’t take up hardly any time, you have the time to do what you want and be creative and productive instead of spending your time going through stuff and cleaning it up.

    • Love how you’ve expressed this, Spendwisemom.

      And it is a sustaining thought – decluttering to the point where you don’t have to spend much time decluttering anymore and you don’t have to spend time looking after stuff but can use the added time doing things you like – being creative and productive.

      Love it!

      And you’ve got a fantastic opportunity, Colleen. I am sure you will have fun and meet interesting people in the art shop as well, as you say, be Able to move some of your craft on.

      • Hi Lucinda, I must admit meeting new people is also a draw. I do like interacting with people and not working reduces the possibility so this opportunity will give me an outlet for that as well.

    • Hi Spendwisemom, no I don’t think that is the case because at one thing a day it really doesn’t take up much time. I think perhaps it is just the change of lifestyle that broke old habits. Also we are right in the thick of the creative heart of Newcastle. There is an initiative here called the Renew Newcastle Project where empty retail spaces are used for free as art spaces. It has spurned a revival of the downtown area with coffee shops and markets etc sprouting up. This has bought people back to the old centre of town. I have long wanted to be a part of that and now that it is only a short walk away it is easy to do.

  4. This is a timely post Colleen. Mom finally decided we didn’t need to keep holding onto a bunch of books we have. We are going to donate them to help start a church library. I always prefer to give the things we declutter a home with someone else who actually needs the things. I like the use-it-up idea. I used up a lot of my scrapbook supplies making cards and then using them for our church card ministry.

    • Deb J – thats great news. Something to keep in mind if your mum has a moment of regret or wants to change her mind once she sees the ready to leave or actually gone, is to remind her that she hasnt missed anything else that you have decluttered, and she can always borrow them back. Books can have quite a hold on their owners (or about to be ex-owners)

      • Moni, it helped that I reminded her that we have 100’s of books on our Kindles. She prefers a book to the Kindle but I can get the Kindle ones free.

        • Deb J – Kindle have recently put out a reading app for iPads, so I was able to get a book that was available for free for a limited time. So although my Kobo is still my main e-reader if a book is exclusive to Amazon I can now get it without having to buy a Kindle!

          • Hey, that is great Moni. I like that. I have noticed that some of the emails about free books are starting to have links to Kobo format.

    • Hi Deb J, yay! I bet being able to give them to the church is what inspired you mom to finally let them go.
      I would like to instigate a free mini library in the foyer of our apartment building. I must send an email with this idea to the strata committee and see what they think of the idea.

      • Colleen, I like your idea. We have a large one here in our clubhouse. It is well used. Hope yours works out.

  5. My hobby is patchwork so I have endless scraps to use up. They make great quilts for babies. So I am constantly creating baby quilts for friends and family, Project Linus quilts and premature baby quilts for my local hospital. I enjoy nurturing my creative side whilst making something useful too. Only problem: the scraps seem to breed!

  6. What a great idea that is, Colleen, to allow artists to display work in exchange for a few hours of their time. Good luck with your cards!

  7. I think just having space around my house to live comfortably is all the pay back I need from the decluttering process! lol. It is nice though to benefit others when I get rid of things. When I use up baking supplies I usually bring some (if not all) of the baked goods to share at work. I have a few boxes of cake mix that I should use up shortly and will probably be bringing those to work when I do. Now if I could just unpack my recipe box and my baking pans I’ll be ready to do that! lol. Things are taking a bit more time than I hoped to set up at the new house. It’s only been a week, but we still have a lot of boxes left to unpack. I keep reminding myself that we have way less unpacking to do this time than we did the last time we moved!

    • Hi Melissa, even though we had help and everything was unpacked on the day we moved it it took a while to organise that stuff properly. So things kept moving around and still are in some cases. I have found though that taking the time to do it help you to see what really works and what doesn’t. I don’t mind reshuffling over and over again until the set up is most functional.

  8. I use up yarn by knitting hats and selling them–all the proceeds go to a charity. Right now, I am also knitting a large comfy afghan for my soon to be adopted 7 yo granddaughter. It’s bright and snuggly because I’m just using the colors I have in my big bag of partial skeins. She gets a blankie and I get rid of several skeins of yarn= win-win.

    • Willow – when my kids were little I stumbled across a stall at a local market and an elderly lady made these cute wool jerseys and cardigans for babies and tots, she made them by unravelling jerseys she found in the second hand stores. She wanted children to have proper wool jerseys and this was a cheap way to do it. She sold the jerseys for the cost of what she’d brought the original jersey for, it was just her contribution to the community. She told me when she was a little girl during the Depression, a lady she didn’t know, obviously passing thru town and well off, saw her without a coat in Winter and went into the store and bought her a jersey. That random gesture of kindness has been paid forward hundreds of times.

    • Well done Willow and congratulation on your soon to be new granddaughter. It seems we have something in common. I am a soon to be grandmother of a seven year old as well. Although she will be eight by the time Liam and her mum are married in October. She is a lot of fun and we are becoming good beach buddies.

  9. A friend of mine had wool to use up and some spare time in the evenings but not enough to commit to a major project and she stumbled onto a charity group and they asked knitters to make squares of a certain measurement. She could make one or as many as she wanted. The squares were then assembled into blankets and sent to the needy. My friend enjoyed being a part of this as she used up her wool and there was no concern if the squares she produced matched or not and it wasn’t a big project to turn out one of these squares. She just handed them in as she finished enough to make a drop off worth while. I thought this was a brilliant idea, but alas I do not knit. She eventually used up the last of her wool plus her mum’s wool and moved on to a new charity group.

    • Moni, I have a friend in Maclean, NSW, Australia who does this. I think it is pretty cool. I need to see if they have something like that here.

  10. Is there anyone out there that knits or crochets, that has heard of yarnbombing? (google it….it is so cool!) I have been doing it for a while now and that inspired my Mom to yarnbomb (we both crochet) some trees in her yard so we are combining our yarns and using what we have. If we have to buy, we go to the thrift shop first, then the craft store as a last resort. Great mother /daughter time and a fun use-it-up challenge.

  11. Another angle on the multi-advantage-use-it-up crafting…as you might have heard, we in the Pacific Northwest of the USA have a rather talented football team. I have been knitting scarves while watching the games and yesterday’s Super Bowl. It is a pattern I can knit in my sleep but the knitting 1) kept me calm 2) resulted in five scarves which became 3) two gifts and 4) three charity auction items and 5) used up eight skeins of yarn.

  12. Thank you all for your ideas for the fabric — they are mostly not scraps, but remnants large enough to be turned into a garment but haven’t been! It feels like I’m not ready to let them go. It helps (or sometimes doesn’t) that I do theatre projects and often have just the right thing to make a costume. So I’m looking for a theatre group to give a pile of stuff to but where I live no one ever has transport or storage space. Still I am holding on to the good feeling of that empty craft drawer and also packing up to move house and never wanting to sort pack this much stuff ever again. I don’t knit so I am in no danger of hoarding wool. I loved the recycled wool story, all my school sweaters were made by a neighbour who gathered up all the local kids’ sweaters (we wore a uniform in a particular hard-to-match and expensive-to-buy shade, whose crazy idea was that!?) and those that couldn’t be exchanged between families were unravelled and knitted up again in bigger sizes. She had a knitting machine which helped.

    • Geraldine – is there a local High School with a sewing programme? The teacher usually has to buy fabric out of a budget and generally appreciate donations.