Being a minimalist isn’t my defining feature. I am many things and minimalism is simply one piece of the puzzle. I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, an auntie, a friend, an employee, a student – you get the idea. So whilst I am adopting a minimalist approach to my lifestyle, it hasn’t taken over my sense of self or who I am. And it’s not something which I intend to sacrifice myself for.
So I’ll never have less than 100 things.
I’ll never be truly clutter free.
And the main reason for that is because I am also a crafter.
I have always loved craft, I was the kid that got craft supplies every birthday and Christmas and I was the teenager that requested craft supplies long after crafting became a regular past time for my age group, heck I was the adult that had colouring books before they became cool and knitted before it came back into fashion. I even received a bumper kids craft set as a Secret Santa present at work.
Craft is kind of a part of who I am. It’s entwined into my sense of self. People know me for it. People joke about my love of yarn and stitch markers.
So diving into minimalism kind of hit a brick wall when it came to my under the stairs craft stash – a stash that also spilled into several other rooms, drawers and cupboards around the house. At the outset I declared to myself that my craft supplies wouldn’t get touched. They were a non negotiable. Not to be wavered on.
And then I read this post.
Boy oh boy did that strike a chord. It really hit me. And the message stuck. I didn’t act on it straight away but I knew she was right. I do love craft but the extent of my stash was beyond control. I had supplies for knitting, crocheting, stitching, cross stitching, painting, drawing, colouring, card making, candle making, embroidery, glitter, glue, buttons, embellishments, ribbons, toy stuffing, felt, cookie cutters, modelling clay. You name it. I probably had it.
I see myself as a crafter, it is who I am. But a large part of it was a fantasy version of myself. I don’t make cards, I rarely sew, I don’t embroider, I don’t cross stitch, I don’t use glitter, I don’t paint, I don’t draw, I don’t colour in, I don’t use modelling clay. So many of my supplies were waiting to be used up in crafting activities that I didn’t do – but planned to do…. One day.
So I took the plunge. I began to clear out projects that I’d started once but never picked up again and supplies I had never used and didn’t really want to use in the future. I recycled and donated and occasionally threw out various bits and pieces and I whittled down that collection. Clearing four shelves worth of things and managing to confine my craft stash to the under stairs cupboard, where it’s supposed to be.
I made the decision to focus the time I do have for craft purely into crochet. And I feel so much better for it, clearing out the supplies I didn’t use felt like lifting a massive burden, I didn’t realise how much guilt I held onto through not finishing all these projects until I let them go. And now when I do have that spare half an hour I truly enjoy it, focusing my attention on one thing instead of flitting between projects, having a dabble at different things and taking all the relaxation out of it.
So that would be my tip for other minimalists out there struggling to reconcile minimalism with other parts of your identity.
Know your true self and your fantasy self, and help your minimalism to free you of the burden of trying to live up to a perceived self that isn’t really you at all.
Minimalism isn’t who I am, but it’s helping me to truly define that person.