In an effort to save money and declutter our homes, we often resolve to give up buying new craft supplies. But after a few weeks (or days), our self-control wavers and we justify a new purchase with thoughts like “I’ll use it eventually” or “It was such a good deal.” If you find yourself in this situation, you’re not alone- but there is a solution. A six-week “no buy” challenge on new craft supplies can help you detox from the high of a new craft haul, reset your spending habits, and give you a chance to use up the supplies you already have.
I’m someone who loves crafting and DIY projects. I always have been. I didn’t have a great deal of access to craft supplies as a child, so I was always looking for something that I could use or upcycle. It might be something that like scraps of my mother’s fabric for doll clothes, or paper and cardboard for another creation. I would even save the backs of my notebook covers for the brown kraft backing and find some way to use it. For Christmas I would ask for crafting kits and supplies so that I could continue to make things. To this day, I love the satisfaction of being able to create things and enjoy what I’ve made.
Reasons I Needed a “No New Craft Supplies” Challenge
Lately, however, I’ve noticed that my crafting has become less about the process and more about the product. I find myself scouring Pinterest for ideas and then rushing to the craft store to buy the supplies I need to recreate the project. Sometimes I never even end up finishing the project. The supplies sit in a box, gathering dust, while I move on to the next thing.
Enough was enough. I made a vow to myself to take a break from buying new craft supplies. I would use what I had and not buy anything new until I had used up at some of my stash. If I needed something to finish a project, I would buy that item and that only. It was a difficult decision to make, but I was determined to stick to it.
It was really difficult. I would see and idea for something new that I wanted to try and have to talk myself out of buying the supplies. But I did it. And slowly but surely, I started making a dent in my supplies. I finished old projects that I had abandoned and started new ones that I actually finished. It felt really good to use up what I had and not just let it sit there gathering dust.
The no-buy challenge has been really good for me. It’s made me be more mindful about my crafting and has helped me to appreciate the supplies that I already have. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves to craft but feels like they’ve been getting a bit too trigger-happy with the credit or debit card at the craft store.
If you’re thinking about making a commitment like this, maybe it’s time to consider why a challenge like this might be good for you. I’m going to share a few thoughts I had when considering the challenge for myself.
I’m Thankful for What I Have
My main reason for entering into this challenge really comes from a heart of gratitude for what I have and what my husband provides for us.
Small amounts of money add up. Soon $10 here, or $20 there turns into hundreds. When I look around my little corner of creativity, there are all sorts of supplies and many aren’t getting used.
I’m not sure I can continue to justify buying new things, and leaving them unused.
Setting this challenge for my self, will get me started at saving some of our hard-earned money and using it for a bigger long-term goal. Plus challenging myself to use up some of my stash, is really an exercise in creativity.
Because I have a phone app that offers me coupons to a favorite craft supply store I have a constant reminder that there are deals out there. It’s like a carrot dangling in front of my face, or chocolate if you prefer. Maybe I could save 50%, but now I spent $30 to do it…
It can be a real addiction to go out and spend, look at the bottom line of a receipt and see that you saved X-amount. But did I really save anything?
Several months later I find myself asking, “Why did I buy that?” and “What can I do with it?”
Need to Cure the Overwhelm
Before I started this challenge, my craft space was overflowing with supplies. I don’t even have a craft room. I decided that I needed to take a break from buying new supplies, and focus on using up the things that I already had.
Not only were things cluttered, but I also had a hard time making a decision about what to make. It had a real negative effect. I’d go online in search of inspiration, and it was even more overwhelming. Sometimes I get more done when left to visualize a project on my own.
I’m finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to sorting through some of the supplies and knowing where to find them. I’ve also been able to let go of some that I’ll probably never use and donate them to the thrift store. Building some storage systems for what I have has helped me to think about what to keep and how to organize it.
It’s a BIG Problem
I walk through thrift stores all the time and check their craft supplies section often. It’s common to find patterns that were never used, half completed kits, or a bunch of stamps that originally retailed for $20 or more. The problem is universal.
I’ve been on Facebook group boards where women, just like me, talk about hiding their crafting purchases from their husbands because they don’t want him to find out how much they spent.
I’ve done it myself. Finally, I had to ask myself, “Is this really the way I want to live?”
It’s Okay to Have a Supply Stash
Granted, everyone has a stash. I don’t have any problem with a stash. We all need the tools and supplies to do whatever job we’re going to do.
However, I feel like when the stash is starting to outgrow it’s boundaries and I can’t find what I’m looking for, I can’t get it organized. It’s time to rethink…
What’s The Goal?
Every where I look, everyone is making stuff. I enjoy watching video tutorials, but I’ve often thought that “If I only had those stamps, that paper, and more neat tools….”
There are lots of neat tools within my reach. I’m blessed with skills and abilities to make neat things. In this month of thanksgiving, I need to start thinking about gratitude. I want to make things that my family will love and share precious time with them.
How about you? Has your stash outgrown your crafting area? Are you overwhelmed with the clutter?
Have you felt like you’ve spent more on craft supplies than on groceries? Did you have to hide new purchases from your family because you knew you spent too much? Maybe you’re ready to give up buying new craft supplies.
Tips for Making Your Journey Successful
When it comes to giving up shopping for new craft supplies for six weeks, success starts with honest reflection and setting a few ground rules. Take a moment to think about what led you to the challenge in the first place. Was it because you have too much stuff and it’s overwhelming? Is your crafting space cluttered? Maybe you’re trying to save money or you’re simply sick of acquiring more stuff.
No matter the reason, the key to success is being honest with yourself and setting some guidelines. Here are a few tips to help you make it successful:
- Get rid of any temptation by unsubscribing from email lists, unfollowing accounts on social media, and deleting any apps related to craft shopping.
- Make a list of the specific items you hope to find during the six-week challenge.
- This will help you stay focused and avoid buying things you don’t need.
- Set a budget for each week of the challenge and stick to it. This will help you save money and force you to be more creative with the supplies you have. Remember, if you buy new items, it’s for projects that are already in progress. (more yarn to finish a sweater you started last year)
- Use the extra time you have to declutter your crafting space. This will make it more enjoyable to craft and help you stay motivated throughout the challenge.
- Find a buddy who is also participating in the challenge and check in with each other regularly. This will help you stay accountable and offer some much-needed support. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a successful six weeks of saying “no” to new craft supplies.
I can’t promise an easy road. Personally I have a long way to go in changing the way I think about things and getting back on track. At the same time, it’s been a little freeing. I’ve already been more productive in a lot of ways. It’s something to think about..
Thanks so much for listening to what’s been on my heart.
Do something creative today! Then enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you made something special for your home, family and friends. If you make something and would like to share it with our Facebook Community, I would invite you to do that. Be sure to let us know that you took the “No new Craft Supplies” challenge. I’d love to see what you come up with.