Should a Minimalist Have Hobbies?

Are you a hobby hoarder? I was. I owned so many craft items, I had a room dedicated just to my hobbies. Kind of crazy, huh?

My craft room was filled from end to end with three desks, easels, canvases, paints of every color, brushes and accessories; a sewing machine with baskets of material, threads and needles, all placed neatly on a shelf; creamy-colored beads, bright, shiny baubles, ribbons and wire and string, bins full of jewelry-making supplies.

But that wasn’t all. Oh, no, because once I started crafting, it became an addiction, and I couldn’t get enough. I bought a leather-punching kit, a hammer, glue gun, thick wire to bend. I tried embroidery, stamping, and bought everything possible to make greeting cards. And of course, the many journals with ideas piled high on my desk.

But you know what? I rarely used my crafts. After work, I’d run by the room, longing to go inside, but usually didn’t. My crafts were time-consuming, and with so many choices, I never knew where to begin.

My crafts became a stress, something I felt guilty about. It seemed like there was too much to do, and never enough time to do them. I had once longed for a craft room, and when I had it, I was overwhelmed. It didn’t get better.

After my brain injury, the stress magnified. The craft room blurred into a wild kaleidoscope of colors that made me nauseous when I walked by. I couldn’t focus on anything, and would slam the door in frustration. Too many pieces, too many things. The room sat untouched until we moved.

Four years ago, my husband and I arrived in our new home. We brought every piece of my hobby room with us, but still, I didn’t use them. It wasn’t until my journey into minimalism that I saw hobbies in a whole new way.

I released many items from our home – old shoes, knick-knacks, books, a flag, kitchen utensils, and even furniture – when one day, I opened a closet door. Inside were my craft items, neatly displayed.

Just thinking about it now stresses me out. All those things I never used, so much time, energy, money, lost. I think how my stomach ached each time I saw them, how anxious I became when they entered my thoughts. I think of how I thought I was supposed to have all those crafts, though I never knew why.

I knew it was time to let go. I released it all, every last jar of paint, every spool of thread, every bead and bauble, every glue and hole punch. Even the sewing machine was given away. And for the first time in a long, long time, I could breathe. Stress was gone from my closet, no longer in my home. Guilt didn’t sit in an unopened box.

Hobbies are a necessity, I truly believe that. They bring out our creative side, give us a way to release. But when hobbies themselves become the stress, it’s time to let them go.

I still have hobbies, but they are few, requiring little space, time, equipment- exactly what my brain needs. A couple sketch pads sit nearby, a little leather pouch with my pencils. I read, do yoga, and walk.

Should a minimalist have hobbies? Absolutely. But only if they truly bring joy.

What are your hobbies?

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The Art of Failure

I once had many failures hidden in closets and tucked inside drawers. An untouched sewing machine, next to patterns and material never used; bottles of paint, packages of brushes, mere dreams of pictures I would someday create; jars with buttons, tiny bits of ribbon, greeting cards never made; strings of beads and baubles, jewelry never completed.

I tried almost every type of craft, and many times, most times, I quit. I used to think I was a failure, incompetent, inept.

But one day, I cleansed my home, rid its contents of everything that didn’t matter to me. As I poured craft remnants into a large bag, my heart began to ache. I was sad for a life I had dreamt of, one I had never seen.

But a funny thing happened the day I dropped that bag at the thrift store. My heart did a turn around, a reversal, a leap in the air. I was free, I was light. The stress was removed, gone from my life.

I no longer had to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I no longer had to try to like things I didn’t.

The sense of failure I once felt was gone. I had never failed. I had only tried. I had made discoveries with each stroke of a brush, felt it in the hum of a sewing machine, saw it when I placed a tiny bead upon a string.

That day, when almost every craft was gone from my life, I discovered something new about myself. My gifts were not in strings and baubles and beads, my gifts were in words I would one day share.

How can we know what we truly love in life if we never try? How can we know who we are if we never… Click To Tweet

I own very few craft items now. What once filled a room now sits inside a box. My projects were never failed attempts, only lessons waiting to be learned.

You can never fail, unless you never try. Never give up exploring, discovering, experimenting with life.strong>

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