Episode 82 – Decluttering craft supplies with guest Jill

decluttering craft supplies

Decluttering craft supplies is something that many crafters have to continually focus on but Jill's story takes things to another level. In this podcast, we discuss what led Jill to have hoarding tendencies and how decluttering craft items is a continuing part of her everyday life.

An open, honest discussion how one woman's hoarding circumstances led her down the path of  hoarding craft supplies. A podcast not to be missed.

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This is such an open, honest and insightful discussion about one woman's journey with hoarding tendencies. In particular, Jill's hoarding led to her needing to continually focus on decluttering craft supplies. Listen in to episode 77 first to get an insight into how Jill's hoarding began. One not to be missed! 

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Podcast transcript

Intro 0:07
Welcome to today's episode of The Declutter Hub Podcast, your channel for super easy, no nonsense advice on how to declutter and organise your home. Please welcome your hosts, professional organisers, Ingrid Jansen and Lesley Spellman.

Lesley 0:31
Hello and welcome listeners to Episode 81 of the Declutter Hub Podcast. I'm Lesley, if you have clutter and want to sort it out, this is the show for you. In today's episode I'm talking to Jill. Jill has been a client of the Clutter Fairy for over eight years and in a podcast a few weeks ago, Jill shared her journey with us about her relationship with stuff and her hoarding tendencies, which was really, really profound and will resonate with lots and lots of people. So if you've not listened to that one. Please go back and listen to that one first. So you've got some context for this podcast. One of the things that Jill mentioned while she was talking about her relationship with stuff was the thing that she struggles most with is her craft stuff. So Jill has an excessive amounts of craft stuff in her home still that she really, really struggles to part with. So today I'm going to delve a little bit deeper into that craft stuff and try and work out what it is about crafting. That makes it go hand in hand with clutter. So welcome, Jill.

Jill 1:33

Lesley 1:35
Now this is that this is the bit that you're really gonna like talking about craft because I know it's something that gives you great delight and makes you super happy. So rather than delving deep into your hoarding tendencies, as we did in the last podcast, today we can talk about the fun stuff. Do you think it's fair to say that you've got an excessive amount of craft stuff in your house?

Jill 1:54
And you know, no, I think that's really unreasonable. I think full rooms full of craft stuff is perfectly sensible. I think m y problem is it's just not all good. I know you, you're completely right, I probably have enough craft stuff that would keep me going till I was probably 120. And one of my big issues is I can never find what I want. Which is probably why I sometimes have two or three of the same thing. And it would make life so much simpler if I could just put my hands on it and use it when I need it. And it would be so much pleasanter to do the crafting. I now spend so much of my time trying to find things and losing my temper because I can't, it becomes. Yeah, it is a frustration.

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Lesley 2:44
One of the things that we have done while we've been working at your house and the craft stuff has generally been reasonably off limits in terms of getting rid of things in any volume that's going to really make a difference. But we have to put some organizational systems in place to make it a little bit easier for you to find things, haven't we? So we've used a lot of Kallax units which are the IKEA units with the cubes and the kind of inserts into them. And so we've got those split up into the way that you would expect crafting to be split up embellishments, adhesives, papers, blah, blah, you know, anybody who crafts knows what those categories are. And so we have made it a little bit easier but you've still got huge volumes, haven't you? So it's difficult as you serve you to find exactly what you need. So what do you think it is about crafting and clutter that makes them go hand in hand, Jill.

Jill 3:36
I think people who craft often want the new things, the new toys, the new tools, every season, there's new stamps come out there a new embossing folders, there are new gadgets to use embossing folders. And it's not enough to have last year's we always want what's coming this year. It probably doesn't help me that I actually teach crafting as a hobby in my spare time. So I always feel like I need to be up to date. But where a lot of my friends who are better organized crafters will actually get rid of last year's stock. I hold on to it. And I hold on to things I don't like very much like I did with the clothes. And one of the mainstays of the sort of crafting, I do are the stamps and the papers. And it's not enough to have one sheet of paper. I need to have at least two, one to use and one to keep. And then some of the papers are so beautiful, I can't even bare to use them.

Lesley 4:48
So it's a kind of desire to get the latest thing. It's almost like the shiny new toy sort of scenario isn't it? You always want the new things so that you can keep up all the time. Because the thing is, it's something that genuinely makes you happy isn't it? So crafting is something that fills you with joy, and therefore, you want to get the stuff to facilitate that happening.

Jill 5:08
That's right. And I think I've always felt I wasn't very creative. So I finally found a hobby where I can produce beautiful works of art, and show other people have to create beautiful works of art. And it's an outlet. It's something that when I'm crafting, I can't think about anything else. Work goes away, troubles go away. You're concentrating on a very small piece of your desk. And it's lucky it needs to be a small piece of desk because often there's more clutter than I need. But for five, six hours, I can just play with my toys, and come up with some lovely cards, and it's just so peaceful and everything else just receeds, all of the world goes away. I can find myself, you know, I'll have started crafting in the morning. And I've not eaten, I've not had to drink and it's two o'clock in the next morning, because you get so involved in what you're doing.

Lesley 6:14
So it's definitely an escapism. Is it an enjoyment all sort of wrapped up into one?

Jill 6:20
Absolutely. Yes.

Lesley 6:22
So you're talking about not thinking of yourself as a creative person. Now, I can absolutely say that you are definitely a creative person because I've seen the output which is absolutely beautiful. If you don't consider yourself to be a creative person. What do you think it was that brought you into craft in the first place?

Jill 6:39
My job is one where I do a lot of reading and a lot of scientific work. All the degrees I did were very scientific. Everything I did seem to be very cerebral, very focused on the brain. I had a mum who sewed a gran who knitted, a nan who could knit, sew, craft, cook, whatever. And I never felt I could do any of those things very well. You know, my paintings look like a three year old. Every time I tried to sew whatever I sewed didn't fit me I couldn't knit, couldn't crochet. And I was desperately looking for something that did actually look like what I was wanting it to look like. And I found cardmaking because you start with an image that you can then color or stamp. It just takes you half the way there. And the older I've gotten, the more you know you now buy adult coloring books, and maybe that would have saved me money.

Lesley 7:40
So we talked in the last podcast about when you took up crafting. And so that was about a year before your mum died. Then your mum died very suddenly. And so did that put a stop to your crafting or how did that progress from there?

Jill 7:53
So I found something I enjoy doing. But I didn't feel like I had any time. I was busy traveling and working and all and being Superwoman. So rather than stopping the crafting, I just carried on buying ready for when I wanted to start again. And that's when it really got out of hand. My particular poison was watching QVC. At the time I was doing this, they had craft days. And on a typical craft day, I could easily spend 600 pounds and the boxes would arrive over the next two weeks and they'd be put in a pile. I don't actually remember opening them. They would have craft days, maybe once a month. And I remember being really shocked at the end of the first year after my mum died being invited to a QVC event because I was one of their top spenders. So I had all this craft stuff in my house, none of which had I had opened or probably used. And that pattern probably went on for three or four years.

Lesley 9:05
I know you've shared with me Jill and I know that you are happy to share. You feel as if you've put a finger on how much you think that you've spent on craft stuff over the years, don't you?

Jill 9:14
When I wasn't opening stuff. So we're not talking about what I'm spending now. But when I wasn't opening stuff, I would say in those four years, I probably spent around 50,000 pounds.

Lesley 9:29
That's a colossal amount of money, isn't it by anyone's standards?

Jill 9:32
Yep. And I couldn't afford it.

Lesley 9:36
Yeah, and couldn't afford it. I'm sure it's something that retrospectively you're not proud of, but it's something that became a compulsive habit.

Jill 9:43
And I wasn't just spending on QVC. I was going to craft events and I could easily go to a craft event and spend 1000 pounds, I traveled to craft shows I traveled to craft classes. So I didn't actually do any card making at home. But I did go to classes and when I went to a class, whatever we use, I would buy and it was it was overwhelming. What you described last time, those little paths through a house. My house was slightly smaller at the time. And there literally was a path from the front door. And I got to a stage where I couldn't cook because I couldn't get into the kitchen. So I was living on takeaways. And on both sides of the stairs there were boxes. And it was probably four years after my mum died that I finally went to the doctor and asked for some help. And the lady who did some counseling for me came to my house, and I think she was gobsmacked when she saw it. The reason she'd had to come to my house was because I'd stepped over a pile of boxes and shattered the bones in my foot. And so I couldn't go to her because I couldn't drive and I laugh about it now. It was a really difficult time and she did help me by opening the boxes and getting rid of them and putting like things together. But it was just such an overwhelming amount and I couldn't do anything about it. And at the time when you first start crafting, every new craft sounds and looks interesting and you want to try it. So anybody who's done card making may have heard of things like lucido and colossal and they're all things I bought tickets for and was going to try but never got around to it. Looking back on it now your tea bag folding doesn't do it for me. But I have kits for tea bag folding. I absolutely hate decoupage but I've got hundreds and hundreds of sheets of decoupage because at the time it seemed like a good bargain, why wouldn't I try it? So it took probably me moving back up north and starting to teach classes again, here to really recognize that I enjoy stamping. And therefore I probably have a lot of things I will never use. But it's now a case of I've got so much, finding it to get rid of is not that simple.

Lesley 12:27
It's one of the things that we've spoken about, isn't it? While we've been working together is the logistics of actually letting go of the stuff. And where do we where do we take it in such huge volumes, and we have got rid of stuff out of your house. Certainly those things that you no longer are that interested in like decoupage and things. And we we sent things off to, to charity, didn't we one of the things that we did, which was successful, wasn't it and we will revisit again this year when we're going at it a little bit harder is that we put a note on a local Facebook group didn't we for charity. We said there was a lot of craft stuff to offload and that we want that you wanted to donate and so I think he chose four or five different charities didn't you? And you sent them a huge box full of stuff each didn't you and they were so grateful and that's a fantastic outlet as well. But that again, those four or five boxes were still a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of stuff that you've actually still got. So logistically, we've talked about having a sale in like a hall, haven't we? There's loads of things that were how do we get rid of this stuff in such huge volumes is something that we still struggle with, isn't it?

Jill 13:39
To be fair, it was actually 29 large boxes. I got rid of.

Lesley 13:44
Oh, she's fighting back. She's fighting back.

Jill 13:47
I'm fighting back.Yes. Yes. I felt every single one of them most of them were too heavy to lift. It was really nice because a lot of the things I got rid of I haven't missed because they were things that I had grown out of probably at about the time I bought them. But it is a problem because stamps, you know, a typical wooden stamp. And that's what I used to be buying 10 or 15 years ago, they would cost you 10 or 12 pounds. So you're never going to get back what you paid. But equally, it's almost like a mother and child relationship. You don't want it going to a bad home. I had wasted a lot of money buying those things.

Lesley 14:36
With every box that you got rid of you were confronted with that wastefulness, I guess, and it's not something that you necessarily want to revisit with everything else that you're going through at the time.

Jill 14:46
No, that's right. And it does hurt again, back to my mother who always said "Oh, it'll come in one day". I suppose that is also paper doesn't go off. So why wouldn't I keep the paper but When you've got 40-50, full scout boxes full of paper, do you really ever get through that much you collect buttons, because you knew buttons on cards? Well, how many thousands of buttons do you actually need? I suppose I'm lucky in that if I do get rid of something, and in a year's time suddenly wanted it again, I can go out and buy it. It's not going to kill me. But I do sometimes think I spent all this money, what have I got to show for it? And I think you just have to stop thinking like that. One of my big issues. One of the things that takes up boxes in boxes is cards I've already made. And when I first started, I always used to think, Oh, that's a really great sample that I can copy and do something else with. But I think it's been in the last year. The realization that actually, I don't ever go back and look at my samples, I make new things. And when you see new papers and new stamps, new ideas come. So, I've started selling my handmade cards at work very cheaply. It doesn't make me a fortune, but it does actually get them out of the house. I've also started donating cards to charities that my friends support. So I gave one friend over 200 cards just before Christmas, and she's made over 300 pounds for the air ambulance. And that makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I'm doing something for other people.

Lesley 16:40
And it's important as well, because it's the fruits of your labour, isn't it? You know, so it's not just something there's an there's an extra layer in there. So it's not just something that you've bought that you've given away, not bought a skirt, donated a skirt in them in the middle of that is the creativity and the energy that you've put into that project. So the output is even more difficult to offload to somebody else, isn't it? You can't just give it away. Because it again, you're proud of what you've done as well.

Jill 17:08
Yes. And I like the idea of a handmade card. If I make somebody a handmade card for their birthday, it's nice to know they've appreciated it. One of the things I've been doing over the last few years is I make Christmas cards for all my staff at work. And they all look forward to what they're going to get. And the last two years, I've stopped making them and actually found ones that I have made over the past few years. And sadly, I found another box just after Christmas and it's Oh, oh, well that's next year sorted. So it's it's getting easier to use faintness. I think there's probably only one card I've ever made that I will never give away and I just love it. It is so good.

Beautiful, it's got swarovski crystals on it. It's a very exclusive paper but all the others, why not use them? It's a bit like when I was little, I had a best coat that I ould only wear on Sundays to go to see my gran. And I've grew out of it within six months, and it had been worn less than 20 times. And I sort of feel a bit the same with crafting. If you're not using it, it has no value to you, you may as well pass it on. And if you get a bit of money back, great. So I'm thinking that you know, with some of my stamp sets, I probably need to eBay them. And I'm planning to retire it might not happen till then. But just trying to sort things out and get rid of more of the stuff I'm never going to look at again. It's easier now than it used to be.

I'm excited for what 2020 is going to to bring Jill because as we mentioned in the last podcast, we have got a lot of sessions scheduled and well, not a lot. We've got 12 sessions scheduled in this year. So I'm trying to see once every month because you still are very busy with work in a way, a lot of the time, I'm bringing a second person with me as well. So that kind of doubles upon the amount of effort and output that we can give you. And so I know one of our goals is for you to be able to use your garage, which you want to convert into a crafting space, that you can invite people over and have craft sessions in your home. So do you see that happening this year?

I absolutely do and I want it to happen. And again, I've been holding on to things in the garage I have not been in the garage for. I hate to think how many years. Why am I holding on and it has been a long time coming. You've been working with me for eight years on and off and on on to things anything that's in the garage I haven't used in years I haven't been into look for anything. So really why am I holding on to it? And I'm starting to be able to see that's when you first came. I remember fighting over wooden spoons. I had something like 15 and you don't let me keep three.

Lesley 20:19
Jill let me just stop you there because this is not this is not sounding good when you say fightinh and you say I wouldn't let you that is not good professional. It might be the way you remember it butthat's not the way that it went by the way.

Jill 20:35
You persuaded me

Lesley Spellman 20:36
Okay. I'll end up with no job here. She's the one was fighting in the kitchen over wooden spoons. This is not good for business.

Jill 20:47

Lesley 20:47
Okay. You may proceed.

Jill 20:52
Yeah.You were forceful and you were persuasive. And you pointed out the error of my ways. I wasn't particularly happy about it at the time, but again, looking back, I now have no wooden spoons. I don't miss them. I can honestly say in eight years, I don't think there's anything I can think of that we've got rid of that I actually have missed or felt I needed when we started. That wasn't the case. I actually thought I needed to hang on to everything. So it's it has been, it's been a journey. And I think the craft stuff is probably the one that's going to be the hardest.

Lesley 21:32
It's definitely going to be the hardest. It's been the thing that has been the most difficult, right throughout. So as I mentioned in the last podcast, it has been very much a phased approach. There's been steps and you've been more willing, each time we've gotten rid of more and you know, I think a lot of people and you talked about buying a declutter in book and people saying, start small and do one drawer and things like that. And you know, in The Declutter Hub, we advocate starting mall as well. But sometimes it's so overwhelming for people. No two homes and no two situations are the same. And there's not a one size fits all. So yes, ideally, if you can start with a drawer, the idea is that you don't start with something that's hugely overwhelming. So what we're trying to do is rein people back in from thinking I want to declutter my whole house this weekend, because that becomes overwhelming. And you will undoubtedly, probably fail at your endeavors if you do something as colossal as that. So that's why we encourage people to start small, but for somebody who has got an irrational holding on to things, and is acquiring too much for lots of different psychological reasons, it's not the same Jill. It's a very different experience that you have and yes, you know, when I'm working with someone who's been hoarding, then I have to work in a different way as people with standard if there is such a thing, clutter, the emotions are very similar, but there's that irrationality to it, which is different. And of course, you're going to see that encounter that we have in the kitchen. I can't remember and I'm scared now that I actually was fighting. Because you didn't want it, you know, and you would think in your heels and and what what my job is and then there would be no point in me coming in and saying, Okay, well just keep your 20 spoons, I'm there to try and push you a little bit out of your comfort zone, even five spoons is probably too many. But let's find a compromise somewhere in the middle. And that's what it's all about when you're working with anybody that's a professional organiser, or whether that's someone that's just coming in to help. It should be led by you. But I guess to see a change, you have to make a change. Therefore, you have to push yourself slightly out of your comfort zone. that comfort zone is so difficult. When there are psychological issues involved in it. It's not as easy. If people have got hoarding disorder. We as professionals understand what that feels like. And we understand you can't just do what everybody else is sees as perfectly normal which is well just took away all your stuff why are you keeping four rooms worth of stuff Jill because it's obviously holding you back just chuck it all away. Life is not as simple as that. Yeah, that's absolutely right and i know part of the reason you've been visiting for over several years is you know the first time we did the bedroom, we got rid of a lot of stuff I felt and the second time we got rid of even more and it was a lot easier to give away the clothes and the shoes and the handbags second time round and the third time around even easier again, so I can see that process in the kitchen was the same. When I reflect back I think the first time you visited you took something like 38 boxes and bags of stuff out of the kitchen and it echoed when you left. And it was such a beautiful sound so you didn't feel like you achieved as much as you wanted, because I was still holding on to those three spoons. But it was a turning point. I wasn't sure I was going to invite you back. But every day when I went in, and I could cook, and I could turn the tap on and I could actually see the surfaces. It was like, Yeah, it's a good thing. So it's, it's not pleasant. It can be painful. I certainly feel exhausted at the end of the session, but I kept inviting you back.

Yes, I'm still here and you're speaking to me on my podcast, which is even better. So Jill, amazing stuff. Thank you so much for sharing. I guess the point that I'm trying to make here is if you are suffering with hoarding disorder, or hoarding tendencies or anything like that, or you have an inkling, or you find it incredibly difficult to to get rid of stuff and to function if your home is not what you want it to be, is stopping you from living the life that you want to lead. There are professional organizers out there who understand who empathise who will work with you. Don't be scared. There are so many people. I'm talking to somebody at the moment who's so nervous to call. we're chatting on messenger. She's very, very nervous about calling because it's a very, very scary thing to get somebody into your house after several years of not having shared what your house looks like on the inside. But don't be scared because what we don't do is we don't judge we never judge. We we have a job, because there are people out there with a lot of clutter. So sometimes people find it easier to think, Oh, yes, they don't if you if you don't have clutter, we don't have a job. We absolutely love what we do. We love being able to make a difference to people. And we recognize that some people we can sort out their houses in a couple of days, and other people it's going to spend 20 years and we're there for the long haul. I think this year is going to be a real turning point for Jill and I'm excited to go through that with her and so thank you, Jill. It's been amazing. I think this year is the year that we're going to get those craft rooms down to at least one less. Does that scare you?

Jill 25:44
It does.

Lesley 26:12
Yeah, she's like, it was all going so well. Everything. Now we're definitely going to get that garriage up and running. That's the most important thing. And I'm going to get those Kallax units of four sections of adhesives down to two. Like the wooden spoons, if I could do 75% of the wooden spoons, I feel like I can do that with the adhesives as well. That's where I'm that's what I'm thinking anyway.

And certainly you you know a lot more about what things are called now. I know Jill, Jill's eyes just roll around because I as we as we have shared many times on this podcast, I'm a very pragmatic person, I do not have a creative bone in my body, and so embellishments and stamps and stencils, and it's just all a little bit too much for me and Jill's like we've been through this 20 times Lesley, that's called a, I can't even think what it might be now. I've told you what it is. What's this? What's this, Jill? So, yeah, it's a big learning process for us as well. So thank you so much Jill. I hope you've enjoyed talking on The Declutter Hub Podcast. It's not been too traumatic has it?

Jill 28:16
It hasn't No, and I hope it's has made somebody come forward. You're really not that scary, and I wouldn't be where I am if it hadn't been for you.

Lesley 28:27
Thank you. And just to mention the the association where you can find a professional organizer near to you if you're in the UK at the Association of Professional Declutterers and Orgnaisers. If you're in the States, there is NAPO. So there are associations right across the world where you can find a professional organizer close to you. Some people are specialists in hoarding, so seek those out as well. There's lots of help and tips and advice at hoarding UK and lots of other hoarding associations which we will put in the show notes as well for you. So thank you so much chill for being a part of our podcasts. And listeners, I hope you have learned a lot today and it's been interesting for you to listen to Jill's story. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen today. If you want to get more tips and advice, please do follow us on social media. We're on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. As @DeclutterHub and have a lively supportive Facebook group where we chat all things clutter. You can search for the Declutter Hub Community, we'd love to see you there. Don't forget our members area too. If you feel like you want some help. With Ingrid and I helping you through your decluttering journey, we offer step by step online courses. Every two weeks we go live and we answer all of your decluttering questions and so it's very personal. And we also have a membership community where lots of like minded people come together to share their journeys as they're going through them. And if you don't want to miss the next weekly episode of our podcast, please subscribe to the Declutter Hub Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and iHeartRadio. And it will pop into your notifications each Friday. So thank you so much and see you next time.

Outro 30:07
Thanks for listening to this week's episode of The Declutter Podcast. Check out declutterhub.com for more inspiration. Don't forget to tune in next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

If you'd like to step up your decluttering and would like more input from Ingrid and I,  come and take a look at our membership options, our step-by-step courses and our Room-By-Room bootcamp. If you would like to know more, why not book a 15-minute free Discovery Call with Ingrid or Lesley to discuss more about how you can learn with us. If you have any questions, do let us know!

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