I’ve been a Brownie leader for nearly 10 years, and for almost every one of those 10 years, I have been “blessed” with craft supplies. Not supplies that I’ve bought, but supplies that have been donated to me. I have received everything from bits and pieces of yarn and brown craft paper to googly eyes and pompoms. And we keep it! Even though we don’t have the faintest idea what to do with it, we keep it, thinking that one day we’ll be hit with an inspirational lightning bolt, and it will all come together into a masterpiece worthy of the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). I have a dedicated area for my craft supplies. I know other Guiders who have entire rooms filled with crafty items, but enough is enough. Let’s get realistic and either fish or cut bait. It’s time to clear out the clutter.
I still have Christmas tree ornaments that I made as a Guide that I hang proudly each year. However, more often than not, we are merely creating clutter, rather than using our crafts for creative uses. I don’t want my Brownies to make “so-so” crafts that are kept only because “Susie made it.” As a Professional Organizer, I go into many homes where I ask someone “what purpose does this serve?”, only to get the response “I know it’s falling apart, and I couldn’t tell you what it is, but she spent so much time on it!”
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that crafts are an essential part of the Girl Guide experience, but let’s give crafts a purpose! There are many great craft ideas out there that are functional. I have gathered a collection of some of my favourites on Pinterest*. The best craft ideas out there, in my humble opinion, are the upcycled crafts that serve a purpose. I love crafts that repurpose an item into something fresh and useful. Don’t create more clutter. Take what you have and modify it into something useful!
And if it’s just not going to happen, let it go. You’ll feel much better!
Happy Clutter Free Crafting!
By guest blogger Liz Voce. Liz is a Professional Organizer in the Toronto area. She stays busy (but very organized) running her company Sort It. Read others posts she’s written for GirlGuidesCANblog, including: Guiding Someone Through “Collecting” Versus “Hoarding”, and Thrills, Chills and Spills.
* Girl Guides of Canada -Guides du Canada is also on Pinterest.
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Here’s an idea for using up craft supplies – when you have a camp, put out everything (ok, if you have too much, put out a wide variety!) and let the girls go crazy with it. You may be surprised with what they come up with!
Love it! Why do we always have to be the creative ones? 😛
This idea is similar to what we’re doing for St. Patrick’s day. I’m organizing the Sparks into teams, and dumping a load of supplies from paper towel tubes to kraft dinner boxes and egg cartons in front of them. Then I’ll add in a bunch of green scrap paper and markers. Their goal is to make “leprechaun traps”. I’m interested to see what they come up with! After the traps are set we’ll take the girls into a different room, and when they come back they’ll find chocolate gold coins in their traps.
Reblogged this on Sort It ~ Professional Organizing for the Toronto Area and commented:
Here is my first guest blog post 🙂 Let me know your thoughts!
Great points Liz, I love the open craft sessions, it really challenges the girls creativity. I have been slowly organizing my craft/Guiding clutter, it is a big job…I think I am winning!
At our community guider meeting this week we were just discussing the same thing, we are planning on doing a craft swap, offering to all units in our community to bring in what they have as extra’s, other units can then pickup what they need, and whatever is left over will be donated to a yet to be determined place (daycare, thrift shop etc)
Love it! Share and share alike 🙂
I find that over the past 3 years I’ve been a Guider that I have amassed a large collection of “samples” that I have no room in my tiny apartment to store. I’ve started to digitize the crafts by taking photos form several angles and at different stages of completion and putting them into a word document along with the directions. This way I have a step-by-step tutorial and a visual of the finished product but no sample to store!
Great idea Michelle! You could start your own blog! 🙂
Great article! I agree! I just realized that this year my brownies had not made a ton of crafts to take home this year, but we had done huge decorations every month for the childrens hospital. I’m sure parents are happy that we don’t send random stuff home, we get to be creative and it’s hugely appreciated!
Thanks Laurie! That’s a fantastic idea! We have so much already, I’m sure the kids would have loved to have something home made to enjoy. Thanks for sharing that idea!
Magnets! Almost any small random-object craft , or even mini versions of collages or mosaics, can be converted to a magnet by sticking a strip of magnetic tape on the back. And don’t we all need more magnets?
On a similar vein sometimes I find inspiration in boxes of random craft supplies. An excess of toothpicks lead to a very cute porcupine magnet craft.
True! But you don’t want to have too many of those, either 🙂 The worst is when they fall off the fridge, and loose a googly eye. Then you keep the eye thinking “oh, I’ll glue that back on”, but that rarely ever happens. I usually take that as a sign to let that one go (unless I’m REALLY attached to it). Thanks for sharing!
I’ve been working hard to keep “Brownie Mountain” at bay. I attended a Guider enrichment day a while ago and loved the Supplies and Resources Swap table. It allowed me to let go of things that have been cluttering up my life to people who could really use them.
We try to do a swap in our area about once a year. It’s good to keep in mind though, that if it just keeps circulating, it may be time to let it go 🙂
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