What to Do With Your Extra Craft Supplies

If your closets are starting to look like the scrapbooking aisle at Hobby Lobby, it might be time to talk about downsizing. Crafting is fun — it’s a great way to engage your creative side, let off a little steam or just pass the time — but it’s easy to get carried away. 

While it can be convenient to have every type of ribbon under the sun available at a moment’s notice, the wise thing to do is buy only what you need, when you need it and to pass on the excess in a responsible manner.

Overwhelmed by boxes upon boxes of craft supplies? Downsizing in anticipation of a move or lifestyle change? Here’s how to responsibly dispose of those extra crafting supplies in a way that’s both thoughtful and environmentally friendly.

What to do with unopened supplies

It’s easy to overestimate how much you’ll need of any given craft supply, particularly if you aren’t crafting with detailed instructions. Unopened supplies — paints, yarn, stickers, buttons, etc. — can be given away in any of the following manners:

  • Create a kit for a friend: Do you have a friend, godchild, neighbor or family member who might enjoy using the excess you have available? Put together a little kit of “like items” that can be used together to create something new!
  • Share what you have online: There are all sorts of Facebook groups specifically centered around passing along useful items. Conduct a quick search for your local “Buy Nothing” chapter. Someone is certain to pick up what you’re giving away!
  • Donate: There are so many schools, community centers and nonprofits out there with small budgets and limited resources. Why not give them away? Just make sure you give them a call ahead of time to see if they could use what you’re getting rid of.

What to do with fabric remnants and notions

There are lots of uses for fabric remnants, no matter how small! You could quilt a blanket, make a wall hanging, whip up some pot holders or start tying a rug. If the remnants are too small to be usable, you can always donate them to a textiles recycler (more on that here). The process isn’t perfect, but most old textiles can be turned into recycled fibers and put to productive use.

Hands using scrapbooking tools with the word lovely

What to do with unwanted tools

Sewing machines, sergers, wire clippers, paper cutters…there are so many tools needed to stock a crafting closet. Then again, if you find yourself always doing paper crafts instead of sewing, that seam ripper is never going to see the light of day. If you have more tools than you know what to do with, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Which crafting styles really speak to me? Locate your preferences. Consider holding onto supplies for only three styles of crafting and no more. You can always hop back on your “Buy Nothing” page to request tools for a new project if your tastes change.
  2. Have I used this tool in the last month? Downsize like you would if you were editing your clothes closet. Have you used those decorative scissors in the last month? Two months? If not, pass it along.
  3. Do I know someone from whom I could borrow what I need? The ability to borrow infrequently used items is such a blessing! Aunt, grandma, nephew, neighbor…there’s always someone nearby that would be glad to share.

Once you know what you’re keeping and what you’re getting rid of, think through the best possible donation for your extras. Is there a local school that could use that three-hole punch or set of paint brushes? A community center that would love to get their hands on a jewelry-making set? Give those items away. Those organizations (and the people they serve) will be so glad you did!

What to do with leftover papers

That paper stash can so easily get out of hand! There are themed papers, glittered papers, cardstocks, transparent papers, striped papers, spotted papers, holiday papers, and on and on. Rather than purchasing a large book of 250, consider buying single sheets for specific projects instead. This will help you avoid overwhelming drawers with half-used sheets and help prevent paper waste.

Have clippings of seemingly unusable paper? Use those shreds to make new paper (look for a secondhand deckle) or create bedding for small animals, then recycle the rest. There are so many alternative uses for paper!

There’s more than enough to share

While it may be nice to have a wire cutter and acrylic paints handy at all times, the best approach to crafting is to buy only what you need, when you need it, and to pass on the excess in a responsible manner. Happy crafting!


Maria P
Maria P1 days ago

Thank you

William T
William T5 days ago

thanks for sharing

Hannah A
Hannah A5 days ago


Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer13 days ago

All great ideas

Sue M
Sue M14 days ago

I try to use what I have at home as I tend to keep 'stuff' for far too long - it means I become more creative

Frances G
Past Member 15 days ago

thanks for sharing

Gabriel C
Gabriel C16 days ago


Paulo R
Paulo R21 days ago


Paulo R
Paulo R22 days ago


Hui S
Hui S24 days ago

thanks for sharing!