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The Shelf-Life of Hobbies: Love ’em or Leave ’em

craft-office_optHobby\noun: a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.

By definition, a hobby is an activity we choose to engage in because it relaxes us.  It brings us immeasurable pleasure. Some hobbies live on forever because they are active and well-preserved.  For the most part,  I’ve seen them come and ‘go,’ in theory, but they rarely seem to actually exit the home.  They often remain in the home on a dusty shelf somewhere in the attic or buried in a box in the basement and/or garage.

During the organizing sessions with my clients, I often discover neglected hobbies.  Here’s how the conversation usually goes during the organizing process;

Organizer (me):  I notice you have an abundant yarn inventory, knitting needles, instruction manuals, etc.  Are you an avid knitter?

Client:  Well, I use to knit all the time many years ago, but I don’t anymore.  I rarely find the time and my interest has waned.

This is a tough one.  As life changes, our interests and passions change too. The longevity of our hobbies may be questionable.  ‘Letting go’ of a hobby once loved can be emotionally difficult. It’s bidding farewell to a piece of your past. Perhaps establishing some criteria would be helpful in the decision-making process.

If you have abandoned your old hobbies and they are strewn all over your house or living on dusty shelves, ask yourself;

  • How important is it in your life today?
  • When was the last time you paid it any attention?
  • Do you still love it and intend to return to it?
  • Does it have any monetary value?
  • What personal value does it serve you to hold onto it?


Clearly, if your hobby and its components are dated, in disrepair, or unusable, consider letting them go.  If they are no longer relevant in your life but can benefit someone else’s, think about donating it to those who will enjoy it. No need to clutter the home at all, albeit with a neglected hobby.

But if you have a hobby that still brings you continuous pleasure, whether it be crafts, painting, pottery, carpentry, books, coins, etc. designate a beautiful space for them. It is far more enticing to play and enjoy when you’ve created a proper home and can organize all the accompaniments.

Honor and respect your hobbies with “pride of place. ” If your hobby or hobbies are active, housing the hobby is an essential piece of its preservation.  These are some of the key elements to consider;

Storage is paramount.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or super high-tech, but a simple system will keep the hobby accessible, organized, and live in an exclusive place.  Things can be easily be retrieved and returned back to their proper home.  It’s important not to impede on other family common spaces.

I love clear organizing cubes for storing tiny crafts (buttons or beads) or for small hardware (nails, screws, hooks)  You can corral them all in one place and ‘see’ them.

Space matters.  Anticipate how your hobby may grow.  Too often, the original space is outgrown in a short period of time because it wasn’t designed for growth and change.

Lighting is also an integral component of happy hobby space. Poorly lit spaces emits negative energy, does not foster a high functioning environment, and can cause chronic eye strain.  It’s likely to discourage you from delving into the hobby and enjoying its space. If you are fortunate enough to be near natural lighting or directly adjacent to a window, that’s an ideal setting.  If not, there are multiple halogen lamps and specialty lighting available that provide superior indoor lighting.

Ergonomics of the hobby space is crucial. The hobby table should accompany all that you require in order efficiently work on the project.  Consider purchasing this flexible hobby table that can adjusts to your preferred height. Optimize vertical space with ample shelving to give you additional storage and easy accessibility.  Ditto to the chair, especially if you plan on sitting in it for countless hours.  It may or may not be critical for it to be on wheels, but it is important for it to be comfy. 🙂

So make your hobby or your kid’s hobby succeed and design with optimal functionality in mind.  Children’s Legos and jigsaw puzzles need happy homes too.  Think about it. Have you really invited your hobby into your home?

Don’t leave them out in the cold garage or dark corners of the basement.  Unattended hobbies generally find their way there. Invite them back in or send them on their merry way.  Love them or let them go.

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The Challenges of Housing a Hobby

No matter what your passion, craft, or hobby, it needs a proper home.  We should honor and respect our interests with pride of place. A little organization goes along way.

I can still vividly recall (over 20 years ago) my son’s obsession with Legos. He would incessantly build kit after kit and display them with pride on every horizontal surface of his room, refusing to deconstruct any one of them.  Eventually, we ran out of space (duh) so I had to convince my beloved Lego-maniac to re-create a new space in the playroom, break down the projects, organize and sort their separate components into bins. Despite his resistance, he soon realized that it was a lot more fun to play with the Legos in this way because he was able to continuously create new designs and structures.  The bins were organized with like shapes and so he was able to access the pieces very easily.  In retrospect, the old “sets” just sat there collecting dust.  They did not provide my son with the same endless amount of joy that he got from the actual assembly process. Granted, it fulfilled an immediate sense of gratification but then once they were assembled and completed, they became merely frozen statues he never played with.

There were other hobbies too. My family (self- inspired) had a love for jigsaw puzzles.  It was such a fun and engaging activity that set a great stage for intimate family interaction and a natural flow of conversation. The sheer joy came from the family’s participation and our team effort to complete each puzzle.  We set up a card table in our den, which was a designated space for the current puzzle in progress. This was an ongoing activity that often found its way into the wee hours of the nights.  Admittedly, there was always both a sense of satisfaction as well as a sadness that transcended, upon completion of each puzzle.  I recall with delight how we would fight over who could place the very last piece down.  As to preserve these memories, we glued and framed most of them, and decorated our playroom walls. Glancing at them provided us with immeasurable joy as it rekindled the moments we shared.  We since moved from that home and as “empty-nesters” with less space, it was time to bid them farewell.  I took photos of all of them, and then donated them to a Senior Care facility for others to enjoy.

So if this blog has a teachable moment, here it is…if you have a hobby that still brings you continuous pleasure; whether it be crafts, home decor, carpentry, books, coins, etc., design a beautiful space for them.  Chances are, if your space is inadequate, your hobby won’t thrive in that negative environment.  It is so much more inviting to delve into a hobby where you’ve created the proper home and organized all its accompaniments.

These are some key elements you should consider;


  • Ergonomics of the work space is crucial.  The hobby/table must accommodate all that you require in order to be efficient while working on a project.  Make sure that the space matches your needs.  Ample shelving surrounding the space will give you additional storage and easy accessibility.  Ditto to the chair…it’s a essential to have a comfortable chair to sit in for countless hours.  It may or may not be critical to be on wheels, but it is important for it to be comfy.


  •  Lighting is also an integral component of optimum workspace design.  Poorly lit hobby spaces do not emit high functioning environments and can cause chronic eye strain. It is likely to discourage you from pursuing it further. If you are fortunate enough to be working near natural lighting, or directly adjacent to a window, that’s ideal.  But if you’re not, there are multiple Halogen lamps available that can provide superior light in which to work by.


  • Space matters.  Anticipate and factor in the future and allow for expansion.  Hobbies grow. Too often the space is outgrown in a short period of time because it wasn’t designed for growth and change.


So make your hobby space succeed for you and design it with optimal functionality in mind.  Think about it…have you really invited your hobby into your home?  Don’t leave it out in the cold garage, or strewn all over the floor. Unattended hobbies generally find their way there. Invite them back in or send them on their merry way.  Love them or let them go.



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