When we started our craft sessions with guys at a homeless hostel, we had virtually no budget and had to rely on cheap pound shop craft supplies to decorate the printables we were using. Little did we know what was about to happen!
Donated Craft Supplies, Appreciated by All!
I made a simple post on Facebook about broadening our reach to other disadvantaged groups, and one of our Designers, ArdaCards, asked if we needed any supplies since she had a few bits and bats that she could send - wow! Yes, please! Quickly after that, another lady offered to send us some unwanted freebies from magazines, templates, die cuts etc. This was fantastic! She also shared the post to her own crafting group and from there, we had another 2 ladies who said they could send things to us - including a Grand Calibur! Parcels were coming thick and fast from friends and strangers.
Snowball in Motion
As part of our new Crafting4Good social enterprise, we had planned to accept craft donations further down the line because we were aware that a lot can go to waste (see below).
The idea was to do it when we had space to store, sort and organise it, but it was suddenly happening NOW ... and I wasn't going to say no. Bring those donations on!
Soon we had people contacting me to send their unwanted craft supplies - those that are old, outdated, no longer 'on trend', languishing in cupboards and drawers, the fruits of a de-clutter or papers, die cuts and offcuts they don't want and will never use.
We've had rubber stamps, die-cutting templates, die cutting machines, decoupage sheets, pens, inks ... all of this is fantastic and the more the merrier - the more we have, the more people we can help with creative sessions in the community.
If we get stuff we can't make use of, we can pass it on to other community groups and social enterprises that can use them. Having received these donations, we were able to take lots of goodies to our homeless craft sessions and the guys had much more to get creative with - including discovering decoupage and adult colouring!
Throwing Your Stash in the Bin...
A big stash of lovingly collected goodies, often costing quite a lot of money, just being thrown in the bin - not this batch obviously, but it happens.
Imagine throwing this in the bin?
But How Could Goodies End Up in the Bin?!
There are many reasons why a lovingly curated craft stash can sometimes end up in the bin.
What IS all this 'stuff' ?!
To crafters, this picture is funny, and as stash addicts we get it, but actually, that's sometimes the problem - people just don't realise what all this stuff is, or what it's worth.
Update: after publishing this post I got an email from a lady saying:
"I know that my other half doesn’t realise the value of my crafty stash and, like the lady in your example, I wouldn’t dream of telling him how much I actually spend! I don’t belong to a craft group, or have any crafty friends nearby so If anything happened to me he wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it – until now that is."
I also got this lovely note in a donation, confirming that stuff can get chucked out when people don't know what else to do with it or when they think nobody is going to want all their crafty bits and pieces...
Craft Donations Avoiding Landfill
Reasons why craft supplies end up in the bin...
- Crafters go into care homes with no close relatives to deal with their stuff, or sometimes they pass away in those care homes with no family and their belongings might be disposed of (as I was told by a care home provider staff member, not sure if that's what normally happens?)
- People might know what all this craft stuff is, and that's it's worth something to someone, but they don't have the ability, time or inclination to send it to charity or sell it on eBay
- Sometimes, bereaved family are grief stricken, can't bear to see it or deal with it because it causes them pain to be reminded of their loved one crafting away, and quite understandably, want to have it gone.
This happened to my mum's stuff when she died, although I did at least inherit the tapestry looms and kits I'd bought her, and a very old oil painting set she had from a young girl...I used to sit looking at it when I was a kid, wishing I could use it, knowing I would "get it when anything happened..."
It stinks of linseed and is probably extremely toxic by now and it will never be used, but it's an heirloom.
What to do With Unwanted Craft Supplies?
Want to put your unwanted crafty bits to good use instead of being in your cupboard? Having a declutter?
The bin should be a last resort - there's too much waste going into landfill as it is these days, and that's no place for glitter, ribbon and pretties! You can always offer your craft stash to us or:
- Local charity shops
- Community groups
- Retirement homes
- Food banks
- Carers groups etc
I'm sure they would be more than happy to receive your supplies, although they might not know what certain tools and gadgets are! If you find yourself in possession of something weird and wonderful, feel free to post pictures on our Facebook page to ask what it is, how you use it etc.
You can also sell craft supplies on eBay and make some money back too if you have the time and motivation - if you don't perhaps you can get someone else to do it for a small commission.
Donate it to Us
We would love to give a home to any craft supplies you don't want - don't worry if you see things in our photos and think we've already got them...the more the merrier because we can then share stuff with more groups. We can take anything creative such as:
- Glues, adhesive tape, dots, 3D foam pads etc
- Papers and card, including offcuts and 'uglies'
- Glitter glue, sparklies, gems
(all that one-time-use plastic...better with us than in landfill!)
- Die cut pieces and sheets (Die Cut Decoupage sheets are especially useful)
- Working Punches / Cutters
- Stamps, inks, general stamping supplies
- Embossing folders/tools, old Fiskars systems
- Embellishments, stickers, peel offs, decorations, glitter (of course!!!)
- Freebies from the front of magazines, and 'booklets' of papers from inside etc
- Colouring pens, pencils (even one or two colours you never use, we might be able to make a full set from what we get)
- Paper trimmers, die cut and embossing machines etc.
- Templates, patterns, bow makers, craft tools and gadgets, storage containers
- Envelopes and card blanks
- Paints, pastels, brushes, threads, ribbons...anything creative and storage too!*
✔️ If we can't use something, we can share with other groups who can
We can reimburse your postage costs if we have approved them in advance e.g most of our donations are sent using Royal Mail's 2kg parcel, 2nd class, which is around £2.90 at the time of writing, and courier services like MyHermes which will take heavier parcels for reasonable prices. We might be able to collect depending on where you are.
If you donate anything to us please remember:
- Add a little note to tell us who you are so we can say thank you 😍
- Confirm whether you want your postage costs reimbursed, or not - if you are happy to cover postage it helps keep our costs down so we can do more in the community
- We might not open your donations immediately, so please don't think we're being rude if you don't hear back quickly, it's just a big job to receive, sort and organise!
- If you're storing things for some time before sending, please try put a lid on the box to prevent living donations crawling inside! 🕷️
Want to Donate Your Craft Supplies?