One of the many challenges that comes when decluttering craft supplies or anything else, really, is deciding how much is enough to keep.
It can feel in the moment like we ought to keep everything, or like we should be able to keep everything, if only we can find a better way to organize it.
(Organizing instead of decluttering is a topic for another day but the truth is pretty much everyone has too much stuff, and a new storage scheme isn’t going to fix that.)
There are a few different ways to think of this question of how much is enough, which hopefully will help you answer it for yourself.
How Much is Enough for Your Space?
The most obvious place to start is with the space you have to store the supplies and tools you want to keep. If you are serious about understanding the space you have and what will really fit in it, that will help you make decisions about what to keep.
If you need help envisioning your space after decluttering, check out my decluttering worksheets to help you see what you’re working toward.
Think about the storage space and tools you already have because you probably have everything you need to store the things you want to keep.
You can actually draw a map of your space and write or draw what goes where or you can just tell yourself yarn in that bin, candle making supplies on that shelf, embroidery tools over there. Whatever makes the most sense for you.
But the key here is to be realistic about the amount of space you have. Your space is overfull if you have to move a ton of stuff to get what you need, or the doors barely close because there’s so much stuff.
How Much is Enough for Your Style?
Everyone is starting for a different place when it comes to how much stuff they have. We also all have different levels of making, in terms of how many different crafts we make and how much we’re making each month or each year.
I consider myself a relatively busy crafter. I regularly knit, crochet and sew, and sometimes do cross stitch, embroidery, mending, painting and paper crafts. All of these come with different tools and supplies.
While I don’t make jewelry often, I have a cache of good tools I need about once a year.
Some people’s crafts focus on upcycling, collecting and using ephemera, or producing zero waste, which probably means they tend to hang on to more longer than other types of crafters. I think that’s probably a subject for another post, too.
The key here is to think about the kinds of projects you work on the most often, how often you do, and how many supplies you reasonably need considering those things (and your space, of course).
I recently culled more than half of my scrapbook paper because I mostly use it for collages and card making so I’m never using much at once, for example.
How Much Will You Really Use?
This might be the most important question when it comes to how much is enough.
If you’re the kind of person who has a big stash but still goes shopping for materials for a new project, you probably need to keep a lot less than you think.
But if you are really committed to using your stash and not buying new stuff, you might be OK with keeping more supplies related to the types of projects you do most often. (Again, considering how much space you have to store things.)
The secondary question that goes with this one is how much can/will you use in how much time?
Even if you have the space to store all the supplies you have for a particular type of project, if it would take you 10 years to use them all, you probably don’t want to keep them all.
For one thing, you probably won’t stick to not buying new supplies for 10 years. Things could also get damaged, discolored or stained in the meantime. Fabric might get a hard to remove fold. Some items might be damaged by light. Paint, markers and pens dry out.
Getting Real about What’s Enough for You
So knowing how much is enough is a factor of how much space you have, the kinds of crafts you do and what you need for them, how much you really use your stash, and what feels like a reasonable amount of time to keep things.
Maybe you do several different kinds of crafts and feel like you have space to keep enough for everything that you might reasonably use in a year or two.
Or maybe you don’t have a lot of space or are downsizing so you need to pare down how many “sometimes” crafts you keep supplies for or how many projects in advance you can keep supplies for.
This is all very personal stuff that requires you to be honest and realistic, and maybe even do a bit of mourning. Remember the rule of sunk costs, keep only the stuff you really love and want to use and happily release the rest to someone who will use it.