Today's decluttering mission is to declutter abandoned and unfinished craft projects. And if you love to craft, even a little, you probably have at least one of these lurking types of projects around somewhere.
Crafting is a creative and time intensive endeavor, so if you run out of one or both of these things, creativity or time, while doing a project you might eventually abandon it.
The reasons are varied though for why you might not have finished the project, but at a certain point it isn't just put off to later, but it has become abandoned.
Today's the day to face facts, and admit to yourself you're just not going to finish ___________ (you fill in the blank) and just let yourself move on.
What Is Keeping You From Getting Rid Of Some Of These Craft Projects?
I have found when this mission rolls around each year on the Declutter 365 calendar that it often sparks a strong reaction from people.
Sometimes this reaction is positive, but often the larger reactions to this mission are negative. I've heard words like, "no," "never," and even, "you'll not pry this craft project out of my cold dead hands!"
The question I always ask when a mission strikes such a nerve is, "why?"
I have been thinking about it, and my conclusion is that often these reactions are caused by one of several emotions.
The first possible emotion is guilt.
You spent good money for the supplies for that project, and you also spent a good amount of time on it before abandoning it, so now to get rid of it makes you feel guilty.
The thing is, crafts are supposed to be fun and relaxing. If you don't feel that way about the project anymore and you have no desire to do it, letting go of the guilt can set you free.
In fact, I've heard this exact sentiment when people have done this mission, and they use words like feeling "lighter," and breathing a sigh of relief. That makes me believe that as they physically get rid of that project they're also emotionally letting go of the guilt associated with it.
Similar emotions that can cause someone not to want to let go of these projects include that it has sentimental value, and/or that it symbolizes letting go of a dream.
Get Rid Of The Project Or Make A Commitment To Finish It, With A Deadline
Sometimes as you declutter a lot of stuff in your home you eventually find yourself with more time and energy, because clutter sucks up both.
Once you've got some of that time and energy back you may discover some of these long lost projects that you hadn't thought about in years and suddenly you may find yourself excited to begin them again.
Good, then go for it! I certainly don't want you to declutter something that you still love and have room for. BUT if you are going to keep some of these unfinished projects this is a slippery slope, so I want you to make a commitment to actually finish it, and give yourself a deadline.
Even better, make a schedule for yourself of when you'll work on it, such as each weekend while watching your favorite television show, for example.
The point is that you have already abandoned it once, so to earn its place in your home you've got to get even more serious about doing the project or out it should go.
How To Avoid Unfinished Craft Projects In The Future
Finally, it is best to avoid unfinished craft projects in the future by making a rule for yourself that you will not start another project until the one you've already begun is complete.
BUT don't get so caught up in this rule that if you've tried something new, and it just isn't making you happy and scratching that crafting itch for you that you can't abandon it.
The thing is, you CAN have unfinished craft projects because I certainly don't advocate finishing something that is supposed to be done for fun when it is not actually fun for you.
But the difference you need to make is being up front with yourself, right away, that you're quitting it, and then disposing of it in some fashion, quickly. Soon after you've made the decision.
Clutter is often the result of delayed decisions, so make your decision and then get it out of your home.
What you don't want to happen is to stash the unfinished project somewhere in your house where it becomes clutter and makes you feel guilty.
It is especially easy to declutter projects that are so old you have no idea where to even restart it, or you no longer have all the supplies or tools necessary to finish it even if you wanted to.
But if you do have all the parts and instructions, but just don't have the joy or desire to finish the project anymore, it can be tough figuring out what to do with these supplies. I'm discussing that a bit more below.
Hearing from others who've already done this mission can be inspiring, and help you get motivated to tackle this task yourself.
Above are several photos from a reader, Holly, who got rid of some of her unfinished projects. She said, "Went through fabrics and found this gem: half made maternity shirt. The "baby" is now 20 years old. Hubby's comment: you could finish it and sell it on swipswap. 😂"
She also showed photos of both the small pieces of fabric she planned to give away, as well as fabric trash, all of which she was getting out of her home.
Way to go Holly! And yeah, I'd say a 20 year late half finished maternity shirt is something you can safely part with! :)
Get Yourself Motivated To Complete Those Unfinished Projects
As I mentioned above, if you choose not to declutter those abandoned craft projects, then you need to make the time to complete them.
At least until now your motivation to get them done has been lacking, because otherwise you would have already done it, right?
Sometimes, the mere thought of having to get rid of the projects, and therefore losing all the work you've already put into it is enough to get you motivated.
That's what happens for some Declutter 365 participants who saw this mission and decided they'd put in the time and finish the projects, instead of continuing to let them languish almost finished, but not quite.
The photos above are from readers who did just that. The photo on the left side of the collage is from a reader, Laura, who said, "When I decluttered the dining room I came across 10 unfinished projects. Here's three of them, all finished. All that was needed to finish them off: bobble attached, 7 ends woven in, and 5 buttons sewn on. A hat was finished lasted week. Only 6 more to go!"
Laura continued, "The cardigan, snuggly bunny and hat will be added to about 50 hats, mittens, booties, and a few baby blankets. They are being collected tomorrow and will be given to refugees in Greece who have nothing."
In addition, another reader, Joanne, sent in the photo on the right, saying, "I started stash busting this month. I have 4 projects done with stuff I already had. It has emptied about 3/4 of a big tote. Pic is my latest creation for my new grandson. Coming in November."
While just the thought of parting with these items may be enough to get you motivated to finish them, additional things that can help include making a rule for yourself to complete one project before starting another, or to set deadlines for completion so you feel a sense of urgency.
I'd love to hear some more of your ideas for how you motivate yourself to finish projects below, in the comments!
What To Do With Unfinished Craft Projects When Decluttering
Now that you've made the decision to get rid of these unfinished projects the question is, what should you do with them?
I will be the first to admit this is a tough question to answer. It is hard to give away, much less sell, something that is already started, but not yet completed.
After all, there are far fewer people that are interested in finishing someone else's craft project than doing their own from start to completion.
On the other hand, here's the guilt again, which says you hate to just throw stuff like this in the trash. Surely someone would like to use it, plus it is good to reuse stuff instead of just filling up landfills.
So here's a couple of ideas, but I am definitely wanting more suggestions below, so please tell me your ideas in the comments below!
1. Donate the "parts" of the project, instead of having someone complete the project, as is.
For example, if you have a partially completed cross-stitch, especially if you can't find the pattern for it anymore so it would be very difficult for anyone to complete it, you could at least donate the floss so someone else could do a different project.
2. Find places that will accept donations of partially completed projects.
The suggestion put forth by lots of readers in the past when we've worked on this mission include senior citizen centers, churches (think crafting clubs that meet weekly), and teen centers.
But I caution you to first call and find out if such donations would be appreciated. (And only donate if you can find the instructions and all parts of the uncompleted project, otherwise it will be frustrating for the recipient.)
Don't forget to give me your suggestions below of what you'd do with these unfinished projects.
Are You Ready To Declutter Your Home?
I hope this mission has inspired you to declutter your craft supplies and projects.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
In addition, here are over 60 craft storage solutions and organizers, for many types of crafts and hobbies, to get your supplies, tools, and equipment organized and ready for you to use and enjoy (referral link). Once at my store scroll down to find this list.