Minimalism: Is It Possible for Crafters?
Minimalism is defined by simplicity; simplifying life and living minimally. This movement involves reusing the old so you needn’t buy so much of the new. It’s about removing the things that distract us so we can focus more on our personal growth. This way of thinking is supposed to give you the ability to enjoy and appreciate the things you do have, making life feel more fulfilling. Being a minimalist means that you place more importance on yourself than material possessions, weighing up wants and needs. For us, making something from scratch (as opposed to buying) isn’t an alien concept – it’s crafting. But this is where it gets confusing… don’t we need craft supplies to make things?
The minimalist movement seems to be growing at a rapid pace. These days, a lot of people prefer to ditch all their clutter and live a much more simple life. Minimalism is a reason to reevaluate purchases in an uncertain financial climate, whilst consuming less of the planet’s natural resources. Then there’s the minimalist aesthetic – something widely seen plastered across the likes of Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. But interestingly, minimalism didn’t originate in interior decor – it was the art world that brought on this way of thinking. Emerging in the 1950s, this creative movement saw artists ditching the dramatic and stripping works of emotion. Forget painted metaphors; this geometric era took the world by storm.
Is it really possible for crafters to take on a minimalist lifestyle?
There are two view points here. On the one hand, minimalism is all about creating your own items. Forget nipping to the supermarket to pick up a last-minute birthday card or shuffling around the high street buying new clothes and accessories. Instead, crafting welcome you to make your own cards, scrapbooks and gifts. It invites you to steer clear of commercial stores so that you can produce your own wardrobe of clothes and treasure trove of jewellery pieces. Forget spending a fortune on blankets, scarves, hats and gloves in the winter – why not quilt, knit and crochet your own? Besides, crafting is far more gratifying than buying.
Then there’s the other side of the argument. To craft, you much purchase craft supplies. Sure, we’d all love to reuse existing materials we have in the house, but those items aren’t infinite. In order to make your own papercrafts, textiles, knitwear and jewellery, you need to buy in supplies. You are in one way living more frugally but in another, you’re building a larger stash. When it comes to crafting, it’s difficult to do more with less. Some would argue that it’s harder to minimise your craft supplies than it is to clean out your wardrobe or empty your pantry.
There’s more to minimalism than consuming less
Crucially, minimalism isn’t only buying less. It isn’t just simplifying your material life, but improving yourself as a person, too. To do this, the lifestyle removes distractions so that you can focus on mind-body healing in order to find happiness from within – as opposed to from material objects. This may sound very familiar; as minimalism is thought to improve personal growth and free one’s mind of clutter, crafting is also known to do a very similar thing.
As we previously touched upon in Is Crafting the Secret to a Happier Life? crafting can positively impact mental and emotional well-being. This hobby is somewhat soothing; we focus all our efforts on the construction of something decorative or functional that we know will bring joy to another person. In turn, that self-awareness brings us joy. The assumed benefits of crafting and minimalism seem to go hand-in-hand. Both produce that much sought-after peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment, so surely health benefits outweigh materialism?
Crafting is a great step towards a minimalist way of living. We may all collect a lot of craft supplies, but they’re put to good use. They are the basic materials needed to produce a whole piece. On the whole, crafters are more inclined to reuse and fix old furniture and clothing. Instead of throwing out a discoloured dress, fabric dyes will breathe new life into it. Instead of binning tattered ornaments, a lick of paint will make them just as good as new. On the grand scheme of things, this consumerism is minimal in comparison to binning and buying.
How to minimise your stash of craft supplies
It can be really easy to hoard craft supplies. Many of us have the “ooh that’s so pretty!” mentality when we see new products. Now, that mentality isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone deserves to treat themselves, right? But if you are looking to cut back on collecting, there are a few simple steps that you can take. Firstly, consider which crafts are your favourite. If you mostly enjoy stitchcraft, is there much use in repeatedly buying cardstock that you’ll never use? Instead, focus all your energy on relevant supplies that you know you will use. But saying that, there’s no harm in trying new crafts to open your world.
Think ahead about your next few projects, then write a list of craft supplies you’ll need to buy. If you have a list – similar to shopping at the supermarket – you’re less likely to go off the rail with your spending. Many craft projects can be pretty ad-hoc, but if you can get an idea of what you’ll need for a month’s worth of projects, you’ll be on the right track. Remember – if you’re planning on being a little more frugal, it’s important that you do treat yourself from time to time. You don’t want to lose your love of crafting by discovering exciting products!
Try to use up leftovers before you go ripping into new packs of materials. We know it’s crazy tempting, but if you get into this habit you’ll end up with a room full of half-used supplies. If you open a new pack of materials and don’t use it all in your planned project, try to incorporate those materials into your next few projects. Ripping into and abandoning packets is one of the easiest ways to generate mess. If you can’t find a use for it in your next project, make sure you store those materials in an appropriate place to minimise clutter.
Being a minimalist doesn’t mean that you have to stop buying things. Yes, minimalism is possible for crafters. Think of it as a state of mind more than anything. Think more about how much you consume and ways that you can decrease it. Being a crafter is, in a way, being a minimalist. Everyone has to purchase things in life – it’s unavoidable – but at least crafters buy supplies that enable them to create their own clothing, gifts, accessories and decor. Crafting makes us feel like we’re doing what matters in life. Filling your life with hobbies – like crafting – that bring you great joy is far more fulfilling than material possessions, right?