Downsizing in your 50’s and 60’s is a unique and challenging exercise! We have lived full and wonderful lives and just by the sheer force of societal consumer pressure accumulated lots of stuff. But now as we get a little older, we see the connection between stuff and happiness had a tenuous connection and we are starting to unravel the psychological dependence to our possessions.

We sometimes start with clothes which are perhaps the most obvious. This, however, involves establishing a lifestyle, not one single purge! Books, pictures, and collectibles are more intense and take a little more time.

So, after downsizing thousands of postcards and pictures, I have decided to now take on my handmade jewelry collection.  Many of us have precious hobbies that we have dedicated hours of tireless effort to. We have learned techniques, studied and become experts. We love what we have created. Do you have craft room overflowing with treasures?

I have personally created literally hundreds of tiny cabochon necklaces and now need to get down to 100 for giveaways and 20 for my own use 🙂  Sounds easy? Hmmm. Here’s a short video I recorded to discuss how I framed my dilemma of downsizing handmade crafts.

Handmade Treasures

Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges is to get rid of the things we’ve made by hand. Products born of those little heart projects that became an expression of our creative self. Many women have hobbies that have been part of their life for a long time! Quilting, knitting, painting, coloring, sewing, soap making. Embroidery, metalwork, woodwork, and jewelry creation are all examples.

When it comes to downsizing clothing and kitchen equipment you can adopt a rather objective point of view. But when it comes to craft and homemade items that have been an expression of your personality and creative skill, things get a little more emotionally complicated.

Here’s how I approached this challenge with my cabochon necklaces.

Take a Deep Breath

This ‘letting go’ is not a punishment. You are throwing away your creative talents or any part of yourself. You are just simplifying your life. You are being realistic about what you need in your world to celebrate your passion or craft.  You may want to keep everything, but I doubt you are reading this article if that is the case. As we get older,  we think about how our family will have to deal with our possessions, and handmade items can be very emotional. So let’s make it easier for them.  Celebrate the beautiful things you have made. Don’t rush this part of the process.

Think about why and when you started making these items. Was it to fill a gap, heal a wound or just because you loved the textures, the challenge and the fun. The secret at this first step is to just smile at what you created and let it go.

Here is where I started:

Choose One Representative Piece to Keep

The next step is to choose a small number of items that represent your creation. One is ideal. But it depends. If you have twenty quilts, choose one. If you have 50 scarves, choose two or three. Like me, if you have 200 cabochon necklaces, choose 20.  In that piece is all the passion and love you put into this hobby. Make it one that you absolutely love, that makes you smile and even cry. Hold on to it and put it in a special place. Make it a celebration of your love for this craft.

I chose to keep 20 of these cabochon necklaces – they can be work on a black band around my neck and I can alternate depending on my mood. I can give them away one at a time if someone admires them. Here they are.

Find a New Home for Your Creations

The next step for me was finding a place to donate my necklaces. I chose to give away 100 to women who are joining my She Cruises adventures this year. They will make a lovely gift.  The rest I gave to a local charity shop that I know attracts the kind of woman who will appreciate these little eclectic treasures.

If you would like one and are ok sending a few dollars in an envelope to cover postage, I am happy to send you one. Just leave a comment in the section below.

If You Want to Keep Creating!

If like me, you have stopped doing this hobby, you can be a little more ruthless. If you are still knitting, painting or creating keep going, but perhaps have a strategy for letting the new creations go. Depending on what the items are, consider selling them on Etsy, donating to a hospital, or giving as a gift to a needy family or charity shop.

My suggestion is to try to let 99% of the collection go and then make every new one you create something you share. This may be impossibly hard and some people find that they love to hold a collection of their handmade goods close to them. So, if that is the case, of course, continue to knit, sew, design, make and build.  But in your heart give the creations a different significance in your life and let them go as gifts to new homes every few months.

Come Join Us

I know this is hard and doing it with a group of like-minded people might help. You are invited to join our website at and Facebook Page at

We are a unique group when it comes to simplifying our lives and downsizing. Dealing with a lifetime accumulation of stuff we understand the complexity of this process. We are letting go of things that are woven into the very texture of our lives. Let’s do this together!

I’d love to know how you dealt with the downsizing of your handmade craft items. What is your creative talent? How are you letting your creations go?

Let's Have a Conversation!