Find More Time to Craft: Crafters New Years Resolutions for 2021

One thing people always say when they find out that I sew, knit, and do other crafts regularly is “I wish I had time for that!” And honestly, I get it. It took me a long time to get into the groove with making. But over this last year I’ve worked hard to find more time to craft and the effort has been well worth it. To do it, I’ve had to pay a lot of attention to the things that have slowed my progress, as well as thing things that have helped improved my focus. The result has been a year where I’ve gotten better at planning and completing projects, carving out time to work, and prioritizing making. Most importantly, I’ve spent more time doing things I really love doing. And in this article I’ll share with you the most important things I’ve learned so you can make more time to be creative too.

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A hand with a thimble on it sewing the binding onto the neckline of a brown dress. A pot of tea and a small pink teacup are visible in the background.
One of my crafters new years resolutions for this year is specifically to make time to sew more clothing.

Focus on the Benefits of Making to Find More Time

I find it easier to keep a resolution if I first get really clear on my “why?” Personally, if I’m not making regularly (4+ times per week), I get really cranky. And if I don’t express myself creatively on the regular I get pretty depressed. Crafting is essential for my mental health, so when I notice I’m not doing it, it’s essential that I find more time to craft.

Because of this, my crafters new years resolutions for last year consisted entirely of finding a way to build at least an hour of crafting time into my weekly routine. This was a great resolution because it left me free to change up when and how I was crafting as my life changed. For a while, I spent every Friday afternoon working on a big project. When I finished my dissertation, I turned my morning writing our into craft time for a few months. When I decided recently that I really needed that time to work on blogging, I shifted to knitting for a while before dinner and weekdays and taking an hour or so on Sunday afternoons to work on more complex projects.

The important thing about making the resolution the find more time to craft is that it focuses on consistently doing the thing, not an arbitrary number of completed projects. At this point, I usually have several projects going at once so I always have something I’m in the right headspace to work on. I do finish projects eventually, but since that’s not the primary purpose of my resolution or crafting practice, it doesn’t effect my feelings of accomplishment.

For a lot of you, mental health and stress relief may be the reasons you craft too. Your reason may also be something different. It may bring you joy, provide time to be with a crafty loved one, or serve as a side hustle. The point is, knowing why you’re doing it makes it easier to craft a resolution that will get you where you want to go.

A brown desk with a copy of Sarah Simon's Watercolor Workbook open to a practice page. Book is surrounded by assorted painting tools, books, and a mug.
I recently started working on this water color workbook to get the relaxation benefits of painting without the stress of planning my own projects.

Clear Out Your Crafting Space and Learn from Your UFOs

We all have projects that we never managed to finish. And for a long time these UFOs (unfinished objects) really haunted me. I felt like I couldn’t start something new because I hadn’t closed the door on my existing projects. And so instead of making the effort to find more time to craft, I just stressed about my old undone projects. Feeling guilty about the wasted time, effort, and supplies did me no good at all.

Clearing out and letting go of those old projects really helped me to move into a new creative phase. I first did it as part of a larger Konmari session a few years ago. It felt so good to get those old projects out of my space! Not to mention how great it felt to narrow down my supplies to only things I was excited to use. Now I regularly look through my projects and supplies so I can clean out things that don’t bring joy.

But the thing is, clearing out things isn’t going to help you if you just chuck them out without thought. First, you need to sit down and ask yourself “why didn’t I finish this? What went wrong?” Was the project not at the right level for you? Did you end up hating the materials you chose? Was the set-up and clean-up too complex or time consuming? Did you not have enough light in the spot you were trying to work. Does the project just feel stale? Did something bad happen while you were working on it?

So, if you’re looking for one big project for your crafters new year’s resolution, try using that energy to do a thoughtful clean out of your crafting supplies. This can help set you up for a year of joyful crafting!

Find the Money

One of the main ways we make our priorities manifest in the world is by allocating resources to them. And one of those resources is money.

When I didn’t budget for materials, I didn’t craft. And when I only budgeted half the amount I needed for a project, that project usually ended up a pile of stuff that never got used. So even when I did find more time to craft I didn’t have a good project lined up to work on. It was a vicious cycle cause by failing to locate my resources, both time and money, intentionally.

But when the pandemic hit, I started moving around my budget a bit. Money previously allocated for shows and restaurant meals instead went to craft supplies. Now I budget around 100$ a month for crafting. That’s usually more than enough for 1-2 projects, using the types of high quality materials I love. Often, I spend about half of that on a The Crafter’s Box subscription box, but sometimes I’ll skip that in favor of a self-directed project. What matters most is that I’m making tools and supplies for creativity a priority in my budget.

Schedule the Time

In order to successfully keep your crafters new years resolutions, you have to find out where crafting is going to fit into your life. And it may not always be where you think it will.

As much as I’d love to spend my evenings making, after 8:30 or so it just doesn’t seem to happen. Sometimes I’m tired. Or I have to wash my hair and it takes longer than it thought it would. Or the second I sit down an cat ends up in my lap. Have you ever tried to quilt with a cat on your lap? It doesn’t really work.

A white cat sitting on the lap of a woman who is trying to wind a hank of thick, cream colored yarn into a ball.
Figaro is the prime reason I can’t seem to get anything done after dinner. Here he’s thwarting my efforts to wind a skein of yarn into a ball…
A white cat sitting on top of an in-progress quilt in an attempt to thwart my crafters new years resolutions to find more time to craft.
… and here Figaro is laying on top of the quilt I’m working on and demanding belly rubs.

So, I get up early and get in a half hour or so most days before work. If I’m lucky and not in charge of dinner I sometimes manage another half hour right after work too. I also have found a spare hour or two on most Sunday mornings, which is a great time for more complex crafts. I’ll usually use that time to set up simpler things to do during the week. All these little bits of time add up in the long run!

The trick is to find little bits of time and to be ready to adjust whenever life changes. My evening crafting time tends to fall off in the summer because I go for more evening walks. That’s fine. And whenever my work schedule changes I have to readjust too. But I’m now in the habit of asking “when will I make?” every time things change, and that makes all the difference.

Are any of you working on any crafters new years resolutions this year? Is it to find more time to craft, or something else? Let me know in the comments or over on instagram!