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Inspiration Board : clean up with benefits

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Like probably most of you, I have many fabrics, and yarns, and beads and ribbons and pieces of paper ... bits and pieces of all that I can never part with, because 'you never know' or, because it is simply a shame to throw them away. After a long Holiday season and two craft sales, my fabric shelf collapsed and I had no choice but to clean up ... and clean out. When we do these massive clean ups at our office, we donate everything to Material for the Arts, which makes parting with supplies so much easier. Since I don't live in the City, I called my local Art School and they were excited to get fabric donations for their kids craft classes. There were still many fabric bits I couldn't part with. Since those tend to get lost within piles of larger pieces, I folded them separately and put them into clear shoe boxes, (organized by color, of course)

Then I stood them up,  so I can still see what I have and get inspired.

I'm so happy with my cleaned up / cleaned out shelf, especially knowing that I am inspiring a bunch of crafty kids at an art school with my donations. Excited to keep organizing, I looked into what to do with my yarns and found out that a nearby Women's Prison takes donations for yarn which the prisoners knit into hats and mittens for the homeless, as part of the organization projectlinus (another great organization like that is Warm Up America ). I will do that for sure ... helps me with my mess, the women to feel good about what they're doing, and the homeless to stay warm.

I  wish I lived close to 'The Upcycle Exchange' (which I read about here).What an amazing concept this store is for craft sharing.

Now that I'm aware of all these amazing programs, I know I won't wait another 20 years to let go of fabrics I haven't touched ... makes for happy people all around (and a much cleaner office space)

Comments (6)

  • I went through an art supply purge last year. I donated markers, water colors, and acrylics to a local veteran's art therapy program. It was enough that they didn't need to purchase supplies for the year.

  • I have tons of fabric and I needed some motivation to get organized. Thanks

  • I loved your article and went over to the site to check out the Upcycle Exchange. I very much wish we had something like this in our small town. Tifton, GA, is not tiny but we have no crafting venues available to us. I have to drive a minimum of an hour to get to a big box craft store and WalMart has pretty much gotten out of the crafting sales business (sadly). I live on Soc. Sec. and it is hard, on a limited income, to be able to afford crafting and sewing supplies in this day and age!

  • Hi! I own The Upcycle Exchange in St. Louis. Thank you for the mention!
    I wanted to let everyone know that I have developed the concept as an open source business model, and other stores based on mine do exist, or are in the process of opening. You can find them all on a map at (site is otherwise under construction, excuse the lack of other content). I intend to launch full documentation soon, but otherwise, if anyone is interested in starting their own upcycle exchange, they can email me. We just request that exchanges remain 100 miles apart for the time being.

  • what a very clever idea!I'm glad it's going to rain this weekend it will force me to orgainize my craft room!

  • I live in St. Louis & have been a member of the Upcycle Exchange family- I can't describe what a valuable resource it is to have in our craft community. Not only is it a great place for our St. Lou crafters to come together, it hugely reduces waste of materials. Hopefully someday this model will permeate the larger craft community to the point that we will no longer have to rely on corporate megastores & mass-produced, cheap supplies to make the things we love.

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