Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Word About Hobbies & Clutter

Do you have a hobby? Or, maybe you have several.

There's a chance clutter arises from your hobby. If your hobby is something you truly love and practice as much as you can, then some amount of clutter seems natural. It can reach a tipping point, though, when there's too much clutter surrounding your hobby. The worst-case scenario is when you have clutter for a hobby you no longer practice.

I've done a bit of hobby hopping. What I mean is, I've dabbled in several different things. I guess I was looking for the hobby that would really grab me. I've done some sewing, scrap booking, crocheting, knitting and needlepoint. I also tried to get into stamping and restoring furniture. I still like to sew now and again and I'd like to do a bit more crocheting, but I wouldn't say that either hobby is my passion.

Writing is the hobby I love most. There's a surprising amount of clutter that goes along with it. I think it's probably time to weed through some of my writing books, manuscripts, articles, notes and research. And, I've recently taken up hula hooping, which I'm loving right now. It's great exercise. I hooped so much in the first week, I had bruises on my sides. Today, I hooped for the first time in about a week and was thrilled when I learned a new trick.

The point is, hobbies should be fun and enrich your life. But, as we know, too much clutter is draining and not enriching.

What can you do to keep hobby clutter to a minimum?

1. Start small. If you want to try your hand at calligraphy, scrap booking or some other craft, by an all-in-one starter kit. My son has a calligraphy kit that includes a pen, a few different inks, paper and an instruction book. It's enough to give him a taste of the craft without going overboard with supplies. And, it's all stored in a small case, so it doesn't take up too much space. You can start scrap booking by getting a small scrapbook, instead of a full-sized book that will take a year to fill. Many people use the small books for event scrapbooks, but they're also a great way to introduce yourself to the craft.

2. Don't invest in learning books, magazines or DVDs. The Internet is filled with tutorials for just about any hobby you choose. YouTube is a fantastic resource for a variety of hobbies. Learn knitting, sewing, hula hooping and any number of other things by watching videos made by people who know what they're doing. Likewise, there's a blog for everything. A bit of searching will lead you to some good ones in your chosen hobby.

The library remains a good resource for books and magazines. If the hobby ends up being one you'll stick with past the beginning phase, you'll likely find a few reference books you'd like to purchase. Always test drive a book by getting it from the library first. That way, if it's a dud, you won't have to keep it on your bookshelf until the next garage sale.

3. Purge supplies early and often. If you find yourself loosing interest in a hobby, it's time to unload the supplies to someone who might use them. On the other hand, if you end up with a passion for your new hobby, you'll likely buy new supplies to replace ineffective ones and find that some of the early supplies aren't used like you thought they would be. You'll streamline your technique and develop a preference for certain tools. 

A word of caution: Don't be afraid to try new things because you're afraid of the clutter, the cost or the time commitment. Get your feet wet! You may discover you love something that enriches your life!


  1. Excellent wisdom. I love to sew. I can remember saving material from a dress in case I need to patch it. I would have this extra material longer than the dress!

    Added to that are those part-time jobs that take room like Pampered Chef, Avon, Creative Memories and Mary Kay. Then you don't stay in what you hoped would be a career and you have the stuff left over.

    We have a guest bedroom. My hubby calls it the craft room. Guess why!
    When we have guests I have to move some of the crafts out!


  2. Carol - My mom is a sewer, too. She mostly sews quilts, but she has tons of material. Do you ever make quilts out of scrap material?

    I wish I had a craft room. Or, maybe it's not a good idea. Now I'm forced to keep supplies lean. A craft room would allow me to expand - lol.

  3. Finally I have a craft room now I am retired and everyone has left home! It great! however I have to confess it does tempt one to keep collecting more bits and pieces than I really need! My solution is to start to share bits and pieces with like minded friends when we scrapbook together! Some really good advice in your article. Thanks!