Making time for projects

I am sure I’m not alone when I say that I have about a thousand unfinished projects lying around my house.

I’ve recently heard the phrase that goes like this: “I’ve come to the conclusion that buying craft supplies and actually doing the crafts are two different hobbies!” and I found myself slowly nodding my head in agreement.

I’m not the most creative or original person who ever lived, but I would call myself crafty enough. I loved doing crafts when I was a kid, and I still enjoy spending free time making things. But still, there are a few materials for projects that I wanted to do that have been lying around for weeks…months…in some cases, over a year! (insert scream emoji!)

As part of decluttering, I have come to some conclusions.

Be honest. Do you really need it? Will it help you live your best life? Or is it going to sit around because it only matches up with your fantasy life?  If you do decide you need it…do you really need to make it? Sometimes it ends up costing more effort, time, and money to make it yourself. Unless you get extreme pleasure from doing it yourself, maybe it’s worth outsourcing it or even forgoing it altogether!

Do things right away! To some extent, it’s not always possible. But try to let the excitement about the project spur you on to complete it before the supplies just sit around for months on end.

One project at a time. Put it on a projects list before buying the materials for the next project. After you’re done with one project, see what you’d like to tackle next, and then buy the supplies. When you let time pass between the desire to have something and the actual purchase of it, you are able to calm down the impulsive part of you and activate your rational brain. Maybe you don’t even want to do it anyway.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way of actually trying things that you want to do. Part of being creative is trial and error. Even if it doesn’t end up perfect, who cares?

Well begun is half done. When something feels overwhelming, my new motto, to borrow from Nike: just do it. Sometimes the project isn’t even as hard as you imagine it will be. Sometimes just starting is the hardest part.

It’s okay to let things go. Maybe you’ve bought supplies for something that you realize you will never actually use.

None of these ideas are new, but to me, they’re revolutionary.  Giving myself the grace to let things go, the patience to wait on ideas, and the permission to be imperfect is what has helped me make decisions about my craft supplies. When I was decluttering my bedroom, I finally opened up the box of white contact paper that I wanted to cover the doors of the shoe cubby in the hallway. I did one door and had a hard time with it. I then realized I needed more contact paper than I had, so I ordered some more. And then I never actually finished the project…until now! It’s nice to feel things coming together, to see a project through, and to finally get those boxes of contact paper out of my bedroom!

It’s a hard area to photograph, but you get the idea!

Now that I see the photo, I still need to work on keeping decorations on top of that area to a minimum…. Baby steps!

Clearing the common spaces

This week’s task in class was to clear out the car and the common spaces in the house. For us, every space is a common space! Ironically, the living room, which used to be the main room we spent time in outside of the kitchen, is currently the least used room ever since it turned into my son’s room. So that takes the living room off the hook for a little while, so it’s good I started in there last week with my initial run-through and easy wins.

  1. Car: I don’t own a car, so instead I decluttered my keys. (Got rid of 5 keychains and quite a bit of weight!)
  2. Common spaces:  For this, I focused on the hallway. It’s certainly not finished, but it feels good to be making progress.

I haven’t taken an after picture yet of the other side of the hallway since I focused mainly on the one end near my bedroom. However, I did take down some coats and put some shoes away so that there was more space down by the entryway.

Projects completed

I don’t know about you, but I tend to have tons of projects going on at once. I’ll start it and not finish it and the project will sit there taking up space for weeks…months…years! Like the sideboard in our hallway that has one white section – instead of painting it, I decided to use white contact paper to cover it. I managed to do one drawer…several months ago. I had to order more contact paper and it’s just sat for months. (We also only hung up that sideboard three weeks ago after having it sit for months in our bedroom, taking up space!) That’s next on the project list.

I also had a pile of clothes that had holes in them and needed to be repaired. I spent an hour last night and watched Friends while I worked, sewing up the holes in favorite shirts, sweaters, pants, and coats. It felt good to be able to get rid of that pile and put away those clothes!

While I had the sewing supplies out, I noticed the triangle bib I’d started in my sewing class just over one year ago that I never ended up finishing. So I got out my sewing machine as well, finished that bib, and also hemmed a blanket I’d cut some tassels off of. That blanket is now on the couch in the living room, and that bib is now my favorite bib to put on my son!

There are a bunch more projects I’ll need to tackle as well, but it feels marvelous to have gotten some things done! Baby steps!

Minimalist inspiration

Thanks to the course Facebook group, I’ve come across some great people with great sites about minimalism. Here are my two favorites this week:

  1. Cait Flanders – Her shopping ban experiments are really interesting! I’ve signed up for her newsletter and have been enjoying those as well.
  2. Nourishing Minimalism – This site is also really inspirational! I’ve been keeping a tally of items I’ve donated/gotten rid of on a post-it note but knew there had to be a better way of keeping track! Then I came across this post about what to do about “just in case” items when decluttering. That’s where I learned the 20/20 rule of minimalism and found out that this site runs a challenge to get rid of 2017 things in 2017. And that they have a free print-out they’ll send you if you subscribe to their newsletter. I’ve printed it out and am now using this checklist instead. 2017 items feels like a lofty goal when starting in September, but I don’t feel pressured. I can always add 1 item and finish in 2018. (wink!)