The Finished Objects Dilemma

Image Credit: *lalalaurie via Flickr/CC License

A while back, my husband and I had the following conversation:

Him: “Argh, I can’t take it anymore!”
Me (sitting on top of a mountain of yarn): “What?”
Him: “We only have so much room in this house, you know!”
Me (slipping into a swamp of scrap paper, newspaper, and magazine clippings): “What are you getting at?”
Him: “You’re going to have to do something about all this stuff you’re making.”
Me (drowning in a sea of unfinished projects): “Oh.”

After he fished me out, we appraised our situation like the mature adults we are. It was determined, with my full agreement, that I was making too much stuff, and I needed to figure out what to do with this stuff when it’s complete. Something better than “I’ll just set that right here for now” and then leaving it to get buried by piles of mail and library books.

I’ve tossed around several ideas: selling them has come to mind, of course, but that involves the added work of photographing them nicely, putting prices on my precious projects, and then setting up an etsy shop, branding it, marketing it, and filling orders as they come in. You’d think it was a business or something, the amount of work you have to do.

I’ve thought about giving them away, and not only for special events either. Nothing wrong with randomly showing someone how much you care by giving them a tea cozy made from fused plastic bags, or an empty wine bottle decoupaged with last year’s tissue paper. And I’m sure any of my friends would be more than happy to receive my latest anti-consumerism newspaper collage piece to hang on their walls.

Of course, simply “making less stuff” hasn’t crossed my mind in any serious way, and it shouldn’t. We don’t make stuff so we can limit ourselves. We make stuff so that we can express our creativity and our curiosity. We make stuff so that we can push our own limits and develop our own skills. The concept of “enough” is foreign to us; we do not speak in terms of “nothing more to learn.” We do not understand “bored.”

Truth be told, I still haven’t found a solution to my growing mass of finished objects. I can’t put them in a box any more than I can put my inspiration in a box. Seeing what I’ve done and where I’ve come from compels me and pushes me to do better next time, to graduate to more advanced work. Perhaps it’s okay, however, to back off on the quantity a little bit. Maybe this is a sign that it’s time to focus on longer-term, more detailed and in-depth projects. Maybe the days of one-hour “quickie” crafts are on their way out of my life. This could mean an exciting change for me.

In the meantime, if anybody has any ideas about how to keep my finished projects organized and accessible, I’ll gladly take them in the comments. Pretty please?

7 thoughts on “The Finished Objects Dilemma”

  1. I have a ‘hang something up – take something down’ rule which works pretty well. It’s hard sometimes, but as an example, I wanted to make a canvas so I collaged over an older project. The old project lives on as a base layer and in photos and I didn’t have to think of where to hang it.

    I’ve also drifted towards useful creative pursuits like adding applique to my dish towels, sewing scraps into dish pads or coasters etc. This sounds terrible to say, but I get a lot more compliments on practical items that are out in the open (which is nice) and once they’re stained beyond repair, I’m okay with tossing them.

    Hope you find a workable solution 🙂

  2. I find this to be a dilemma too! So far I’ve given most things I’ve made as gifts and kept a few to hang around the house. When I launched my poetry book, I gave away free handmade gifts to everyone who bought the book. I’m thinking of setting up an Etsy shop now, but am uncertain how useful that will be, given what I’ve heard about Etsy being difficult to break into as a newbie and the fact that most people are there to sell rather than to buy…. I certainly agree that making less isn’t an option…..

  3. At a certain point you just have to narrow it down. You gotta look at the here and now and some hobbies belong in the past. Remember sometimes creativity is facilitated by making space for new pursuits or by making more time for the ones you really love. But you definitely deserve to express your creativity and have a place in your life for that kind of work.

  4. How about donating them to a woman’s shelter or something similar. Or maybe offer some of them as give aways at your church for raising money. I hope you find a solution. Gongrats on finishing what you started.

  5. I make quilts from clothes made from natural fibers that I buy at thrift stores and people in nursing homes really like them, particularly if they are lonely and don’t get a lot of visitors.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top