I make a lot of projects. Like A LOT of projects. They run the gamut from scrapbooks and faith-based projects, to old planners, traveler’s notebooks, mini-albums and cards. I really do get so much enjoyment from each finished project, but they can really pile up quickly. I used to always imagine that my kids would one day sit around and lovingly flip through all my old things and remember how creative and crafty their mom was. But, it has recently hit me that if I leave them 100 boxes full of projects to “flip-through”, they are much more likely to just toss them out.
I am frequently asked about how I store the projects I complete, and I can honestly say that I keep them all….for a little while. The truth is that no matter how precious they are to us, they will never be quite as important to someone else. No, I don’t think my kids are just going to trash the things I created once I am gone. I think they will lovingly treasure them, but only a few of them. They absolutely do not need every devotional I’ve ever worked through or every journal I’ve ever written in. They need a few, a collection perhaps, of some of my favorites. Because you don’t need every single piece that you created in order to pass down the stories that matter. They will remember me as crafty and creative. They will love having a couple of Bibles that I added journaling to or even a few scrapbooks that I created for them. However, I want them to treasure up their own memories, not just have to store mine!
It is with this mindset that I began cleaning out my project shelf last week. I keep a shelf in the hallway near the craft room that stores my recently completed projects. It was crammed full and overflowing, and honestly stressed me out to walk out and see it. So, it was time to go through each item and decide if I was going to save it or toss it. Yup, you read that right. Sometimes I just toss it. Donating or gifting is a fabulous choice, but not always the appropriate one for devotionals that I have written personal prayers in, or traveler’s notebooks that have my family pictures. I bought containers from Target and began sorting through all the projects on the shelf, and it was quite the collection.
When I was ready to let go of a project, I did take time to flip through it one last time and appreciate all the joy that had gone into creating it. The most important part of the process for me has always been the actual process over the finished product. I create all kinds of things simply because the act of creating brings me joy, not because I think they are valuable for anyone else. And that’s okay! You are allowed to create things just for fun, not always for gifts or to create a family heirloom or anything. Enjoy the process, acknowledge the joy, and then let go of the clutter.
It isn’t always easy letting go. I have not been able to part with any of the journaling Bibles that I have worked in yet. I already have quite a few, but I just feel a little uncomfortable discarding them. I will probably have to work up to that as I continue to Bible journal, but I know that when the space is desperately needed, I will make some hard choices. It is much easier for me to let go of my private journals, because they definitely served a purpose in their season, but I don’t really have a desire for others to go back and read the things I wrote. With scrapbooks and family pictures, I keep some and toss others, generally depending on the season and the stories included. The choices aren’t always easy, but I am put at ease with knowing that the ones I am keeping can be truly treasured.
This is your official permission slip to start letting go of the clutter of old projects. Bask in the memories and then say goodbye to the materials. You will feel lighter and even more free for new creations! I know I do!
Keep it creative,
The Scrappy Wife