“It’s Not You, It’s Me…” How to Break Up With Old Hobbies

Last week we talked about carefully choosing new ideas from the “inspiration overload.” This week I want to bring the discussion around to the hobbies we’ve already chosen. Let’s just say that for the last few years I’ve had fun trying out lots of new hobbies, anything I was interested in, and recently I’ve been trying to focus in to the few I most enjoy. That means I’ve had to release a few old hobbies to make more room for how my life has changed.

A long time ago I mentioned how some people can feel compelled to finish watching a movie even when it’s lame. (I’m one of those people.) You might feel compelled to finish a craft project, even if you don’t care about it any more.

Guess what? Your project won’t have hurt feelings if you stop working on it and leave it unfinished. No one else will think less of you.

When you work on a hobby, it helps to know why you enjoy it so much.

  • Am I doing it to learn a new skill?
  • Am I doing it because I enjoy the process?
  • Am I doing it because I enjoy the result?

A couple of years ago I loved making a garden on our apartment balcony, and I decided that since we were growing plants, why not grow something we could eat? I chose an orange tree. There’s a reason no one grows citrus trees in that part of our state, but I was undaunted.

For the next year we careful tended to that tree, bringing buckets of water to it in the hot summer, moving it inside in the winter. Worrying about it when all the leaves fell off. Giving it showers and compost and iron when it looked pitiful. Painstakingly taking care to remove scale organically, because who wants to eat an orange with pesticide on it? We waited and watched for our tree to bear fruit.

Finally the tree produced one beautiful, round orange. It grew bigger and turned from green to orange, and then on Christmas Day we picked it. We cut into that orange with anticipation of tasting that sweet, organic juice, but… it wasn’t that delicious, in fact, we didn’t even finish eating it.

A few days later Doug mentioned that he was glad we had the tree, but he thought it was time to see it go, and I agreed. The story ends when I listed it for free on Craigslist and within an hour received forty responses. A lady came and picked it up, and I hope she likes her new tree. That was the most expensive orange I ever had.

That experience was more about learning a new skill, and we liked how the tree enhanced our garden balcony. I think I’ll choose low-maintenance plants next time. I figured out that I was putting more into it than I was getting back.

When I evaluate my hobbies, I ask these questions:

1. Is this hobby giving back to me as much as I’m putting into it? (like my citrus tree)

2. Was I just interested in learning about it? Am I done now and ready to move on?

3. Am I more interested in the finished result than the process?
I feel this way about knitting. I like the idea of knitting, but mostly I just want a finished baby hat. Someone else who enjoys the process can make it, and I can buy it from them on Etsy.

4. And probably the most painful question: Is shopping for supplies more fun than the real hobby?

The lesson we learned last week was:

Just because I could, doesn’t mean I should.

This week’s lesson can be:

Just because you started it, you don’t have to finish it.

It’s perfectly fine to move on from a hobby to free up your time for something new in life. Let’s discuss. What hobbies are in your life right now, and what changes have you made?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Very well said..one look at my closet and I would say I like shopping for projects better than I like doing them..thanks for giving something to ponder today
    Dianne´s last post…Easy Baby Shower Gift Idea – Painted Onesies

  2. I think it’s one of the hardest things to face, especially when a certain standard is set for what a “well rounded” person should be able to accomplish. It’s really sad when someone does something only – only! because she feels she should, rather than because it’s a genuine necessity or simply because she enjoys it. And it goes the other way, too, when people think their hobby or craft isn’t sophisticated or complicated enough to be worthwhile…*sigh*
    the cottage child´s last post…Gimme a Spring Break Friday- 7 randoms

  3. Thanks for the timely post. I am currently sorting through my craft/junk room and trying to decide what to keep. I think I need to accept that I’m not a scrapbooker anymore, I feel so bad giving it up when I have the supplies to do it.

    You hit me hard with question 4, I could easily just collect fabric rather than sew with it.
    Marci´s last post…Milk Bone Cake

  4. I have that same exact issue… a closet full of craft supplies that I will “one day get around to.” The BF and I decided this year we were going to start brewing our own beer. It’s now March and we have yet to purchase the supplies. After reading this post, it reminds me that I need to scale back. Sewing, cooking, crocheting, scrapbooking, and photography are enough! And then some! Thank you again, as usual, for a great post :)
    Tara´s last post…Bites- The Ultimate Sriracha Burger

  5. Interesting topic. I love my hobbies, but I find that I do have a hard time leaving things unfinished. (I also will watch movies to completion once started, no matter how dumb they are). If it’s a project of love, something I’ve been dreaming of making- I finish it faster and with more attention to detail. But if it’s a project that just seems too big or that someone else has asked me to make for them- I can’t find the energy to work hard on it. Maybe because I won’t get to enjoy it once it’s complete.
    I like crafting (that’s my hobby) but I can’t limit myself to one niche. I enjoy the variety and I think that’s what keeps me interested and refreshed. This past year I embraced the fact I am not a quilter or scrapbooker and now enjoy being a crafty lady. I’ve also told more people NO than I ever had, so that I can enjoy the projects I work on without the pressure to please.

  6. Harpreet says:

    a very nice blog

  7. Yes. This is where I am right now. Sorting through the mess – all of that “inspiration overload.” :)

  8. This is a great post. For years, my only hobby was reading, and then less so as I had my children. Now that they are older, I took up scrapbooking and I can honestly say that I LOVE it. I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like, and I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never scrapbook every picture I own, but I still really enjoy the process, as well as the result. I’ve recently gotten a really good camera, and had planned to do more with photography, but I haven’t had the time. I’m not sure I really want to either. I’m still on the fence with it.

    Other than that, I’m trying to get back to reading, but not to the extent that I feel compelled to finish a book if I hate it.

    • I had the same problem with the feelings about scrapbooking every photo. What works for me is two fold. One, use the delete key liberally. I put photos on my blog just to satisfy the grandparents that aren’t worth spending the money on to permanently memorialize. Two, I keep a “duplicates and spares” book where anything that was worth printing, but not worth putting in an archival album goes. These are the acid free slotted albums from Hobby Lobby. I don’t label the photos, but do try to label the first photo of the month so I have a rough idea of when they are from. Bonus for me of this method is that I can pillage these pictures in the future without taking apart my scrapbooks. Kids need photos for a poster for school. Sure, take them out of those slotted albums. Graduation project down the road. Why not.

    • Doug and Marie in BC says:

      Kathy, I was a photographer in the Service for over 5 years, and prior to that as well. When I came out of the Air Force, I sorta left Photo behind. I have several cameras, 2 of them digital. So, I have the knowledge, have the tools, am still able to take great shots when one turns my crank, in fact did one a month or so ago after a snowfall, of the sun coming through the snow laden trees. However, it is only part of what occupies my time. At 85 I still do all the cooking and Marie does all the baking. Still create recipes, have oodles of them
      and if they are particularly great, post them to various sites
      I inhabit. Have never had the urge to blog, nor do I think at my age that I will! Have been on an Apple computer since 1994 when at age 68 I bought a used one!Now use a laptop, and fix them for other folks.
      And do find time to read best seller fiction, to rest my brain! :-))!! Cheers, old Doug in BC

  9. oooh, i have a story just like yours but it involved tomato plants. let’s just say i am not doing that again. being in the throes of having a 7 month old right now makes it hard for me to envision a future where i have the time/energy to do a craft. at this point, i have to be honest and say that the only hobby that is both relaxing and somewhat good for me is reading. so that is what i am focusing on for the present. i will assess the bags of yarn/felt in a couple of months and see where i go from there!
    Danielle´s last post…teef

  10. I was happy to read in Tim Gunn’s latest book that he used to be a sculpture but that didn’t mean he was obligated to do it for his whole life.

    It’s freeing to leave old hobbies behind. I tried to grow food too and spent so much time and money on it.I was so frustrated. Now I go to our local farmer’s market and support our area farmers.

    We need to be nicer to ourselves and let go of the things we are no longer interested in.
    jana´s last post…How to Reverse Text In a Document Using Microsoft Word on a Mac

    • I completely agree. Hobbies shouldn’t be an obligation, they should be fun!

      I think the time I’ve spent learning how to grow vegetables makes me realize just how inexpensive they are at the store. Like Barbara Kingsolver said in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, “Labors like this help a person appreciate why good food costs what it does. It ought to cost more.”

      • Your reference to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle made me smile. After reading that book, it took every ounce of willpower I possessed not to sprint to the nearest garden supply store and buy everything I needed to start growing my own food. I have a black thumb (and I know it), but she made it sound so wonderful. Happily, I regained my senses in time to avoid wasting a bunch of money!
        Kate´s last post…Siblings

        • Yep, I’m with you. I started reading it again this week (it’s an annual spring read for me), and this time, I was reminded how content I am having a larger percentage of my budget go to food if it means supporting people doing things “right.”

          I want to garden, I do… I’ve just learned to be content with a simple herb garden and support farmers at the market for the rest.

          Rachel, I hope you’re enjoying amazing produce over there. I truly miss it — that’s what I miss most about living outside the U.S., actually.
          Tsh @ Simple Mom´s last post…7 Principles to Simplify Your Family Life

  11. This was a well timed post for me. I am nearing a natural breakpoint on a hobby I’ve had for quite a while. I’ve used the NYTimes non-fiction bestseller list to guide my reading, finishing five of the top fifteen books every week since 2000. I had a gap from the time when I was getting married and I have nine more books to closes that gap. When I finish, I need to decide if I’m going to continue following the list or not. It was a wonderful way to find new authors and topics during my twenties, but my free time with one and a half kids is much less than it used to be. Some weeks it’s a breeze to pick out books that interest me and I’m excited to read and some weeks it feels like a chore, which is NOT what I need more of.

  12. Katherine says:

    I have actually just been dealing with this myself – and my hobby was blogging. I started in late 2007 and focused mostly on homes and décor. Posting on what I was doing with my home in particular, plus a mix of things that were going on in my life at the time. I lived far away from my family and I found it to be a good way to stay in touch and feel connected. I found over the years that it was becoming more of a job than something I enjoyed. More like, I need to find something cool to do, so that I have something cool to post to my blog. Ugh. It was exhausting and a chore that I no longer enjoyed.

    I have really struggled with the idea of quitting, but finally this month, I pulled it down. I’d post once a week, then once a month, then not for months. It just didn’t seem worth it and pulling the blog really gave closure to this hobby. I realized that I can still be a part of the community without having to create content myself. Once I realized that, it was ok to stop. Maybe one day I’ll be back, but for now, this is what works for me.

  13. “There’s a reason no one grows citrus trees in that part of our state, but I was undaunted.” Oh, Rachel, this post made me laugh out loud – and I relate to a lot of what you said. I have stacks of craft materials going untouched; I haven’t quite decided what to do with them yet. And I think your statement about having more fun shopping for supplies than actually doing the hobby is spot on. I could spend hours in craft stores! Maybe THAT is the hobby!

  14. someone once pointed out to me that my hobby is collecting hobbies – i’ve got… a few, let’s say. i’m feeling guilty about wanting to switch from paper scrapbooking to digital (because it means i need to buy a bigger computer 10″ isn’t quite big enough…). i’ve felt guilty about quitting cello lessons when i wasn’t doing enough practice to justify continuing (after a year). i planted a garden and killed it. i want to crochet, make a quilt, write a book… i’m definitely not one to finish a project just because i started it. ;) this year i’m trying to scale back on my hobby-related obligations so i can figure out what it it that i really enjoy doing, rather than just doing because i said i would.

    • Feeling guilty about a hobby… this sounds familiar.
      I do classical ballet. Dancing is such a big part of me, it always has been. I felt that after 6 years of nothing else but my twins, I deserve something for only me – before that I felt too guilty to take time for myself. Thank goodness, my sweet husband supported me from the start and let’s just say he is happy about the results too :)
      A dancer dances. It only took me 35 years not to feel guilty about it. I hope I won’t need to wait until I’m 80 to live guilt free.

  15. yet another excellent point! I often have to remind myself that I do hobbies for fun in my free time to relax. When hobbies become uncomfortable obligations that bring stress and guilt in my life, I could just get another job and get paid for my efforts :-)
    SillySimple´s last post…The story continues…

  16. I’m the kind of person who feels guilty if they don’t finish what they start. But you are so right, hobbies should be fun! Some of my tastes and interests have changed from drawing and painting to more digital artwork and design, and it’s ok to give up on some things at this point.
    Emily Joyce´s last post…Four Reasons to Celebrate Lent- Even if Youre Not Catholic

  17. I agree with you to a point. I have a girlfriend that continuously starts projects and never finishes them. What a waste of money!!!

    • Yes, it’s a lot easier to drop a hobby guilt-free when you don’t jump into too many, too fast with too much money in the first place. I guess that’s part of last week’s post about thinking carefully about what we start.

  18. This newsletter came at the perfect time for me. I spent a couple of years exploring new hobbies & I’m now settled into what I really enjoy—but feeling SO guilty about the “ones I left behind!” I’m looking for a place to donate my hobby things. That way I won’t feel so guilty.

  19. Christine says:

    I had to quit knitting. All of my girlfriends/housemates loved knitting. They took it up together. They would sit around together and knit and chat. Knitting was a way to be a part of the group, so I did.

    But I hated it. I just hated knitting. Why spend all that time working to knit something that was then misshapen and horrible to wear when I could have gone to target and bought the same thing, only pretty, for half the price and none of the work? See? Knitting was lost on me.

    So I gave up knitting and a small piece of my friendship, unfortunately. I settled for having tea with my housemates while they knit and buying my scarves at target. Some of my friends still knit. It’s amazing what they can make. They send me baby sweaters for my kids and cute knit toys.

    And I don’t miss knitting.

    • I used to be in a sewing group that met once a month. It was really fun because only one of us actually did any sewing while we were there, the rest of us just talked. Sometimes I took clothes that needed to be mended and sewed on buttons. We had snacks and tea but the rule was that the cookies had to be store bought so no one felt the pressure to impress with homemade cookies.

  20. Jacqueline says:

    How timely! I have recently come to the realization that I am no longer a scrap booker. Yet I still have not brought myself to actually clearing out the clutter I have for it. I’m inspired, it is going on my “to do” list. Now if I could only make progress on my list…

  21. It’s good to be reminded that hobbies are supposed to be fun! This will help with my decluttering agonies, but maybe in a different way than you would expect. My unfinished projects are all things I would find fun if I made time for them, so I will keep them and work on my schedule instead. If I do find anything that doesn’t sound like fun, though, out it goes!

  22. Great post- especially that last question! I am drawn to growing food too, but it is an awful lot harder than one realizes. I also have realized I love cooking, and the great thing with that hobby is the project is usually done by the next mealtime, all supplies and finished products get eaten up (no storage/display issues) and I can save money making my own. I decided I’ll focus just on growing some herbs and tomatoes in the summer, and otherwise go to the farmers market or grocery store, with a healthy appreciation (post-reading “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and seeing “Food, Inc.”) for high-quality, humanely-raised food.

  23. My hobbies have changed through the years. I used to read fiction, not anymore. I used to read a lot of self-help and personal development books, now I do that by reading those type of blogs online! I would love to try to grow a tomato plant and some basil and cilantro, but since I have a fairly brown thumb, you’ve got me a little scared now Rachel, lol! I just spend so much on fresh herbs, it would have to be cheaper to plant I would think!
    My other hobby is collecting and reading about organizing. But not so much about getting it done, or keeping it that way! I love to buy pretty baskets and boxes to store my stuff! I have tried to put a stop to this as well, unless I have a very specific item or space that needs to be held!
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…WAHM- The Struggle with the Juggle

    • Herbs are a lot easier than vegetables, and if you accidentally kill them, you can just spend $2 and buy a new little pot and try again. Cilantro plants don’t live very long anyway, but basil lasts all summer in the sun. Herb pots are smaller and easier to manage than big vegetable plants like tomatoes and peppers that require a lot of water.

  24. I honestly only have hobbies I truly enjoy. I don’t even have a lot of them and I am way too lazy to do something I don’t really love to do.

    There is a but though. I suffer from the same perfectionist thing you have with watching movies, only I do that with books! I love to read all sorts of books, but sometimes I don’t read for weeks on end because I don’t like my current one but I am determined to finish it. How stupid is that!!

    So please tell, did you find a solution yet? I’d love to know! (I am working on my nasty perfectionism by the way, that will no doubt be the long term solution, but I’d like to have a short cut for this one lol.)
    Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady´s last post…How to make watching TV more fun

  25. Okay, now you have gone from preaching to meddling . I cycle through what I do, some hobbies go dormant for years. I have learned not to get rid of any supplies because I will cycle back no matter how much I think I won’t.

    Right now I am more into sketching and my drawing art, rather than my art quilting, but it all works together. I will be a better art quilter with improved drawing skills.

    I am also doing more writing now than I used to.

    • I didn’t mention getting rid of supplies, I still have some supplies from hobbies I don’t do often. This post is more about choosing what you spend your time on and not having regrets that you can’t do everything.

    • I purged my life of excess hobbies about 10 years ago. But I never could give up my knitting needles even though I hadn’t used them in forever because I had three children 6 years & under. I knew that one day I would knit again. So I kept them and haven’t regretted it. Now I’m at a stage in my life where I can knit again.

      I’m a season and cycle girl too, so if something doesn’t take up too much space, like knitting needles, I say keep it. That said, I purged my yarn stash at the time because it did take up space. I don’t regret it because now I choose yarn by the project.

      • I tend to cycle through hobbies as well, so I can relate to these comments well. My bugaboo was keeping large stashes of supplies for my hobbies — quilting fabric, yarn for knitting, paints, and such — that I didn’t like or wouldn’t ever use. This year I have gone through my fabric stash and purged it of all fabrics that I did not truly love, and gone through my yarn stash and assigned each to a specific project, and donated what was left. Now I am in a quandary wondering if I will ever make Ukranian Easter eggs again. They were so beautiful and so satisfying to do, but it has been many years since I used the dyes — how long is too long to keep supplies for a beloved hobby?
        jennifer´s last post…On my needles – the Raring to Go Edition

  26. A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at rug making. After I made three small ones, I felt ready to make a big one for my kitchen floor. It took me two years to finish, and there were periods where I really hated the thing but just kept going because I knew it was something I didn’t want to look back on and regret. But, I knew this going in – it was a finite project that was very forgiving in terms of attention to detail – so when I started it I was also starting a commitment to myself.

    I’ve started other hobbies I love the idea of, knitting for one. But I’ve never finished even a small project, so I never got to the point where I made a commitment to a goal. I recently gave away all my needles and yarn and just let it go, and I’m so glad to have the shelf space back!
    Liz @ lizoh.co´s last post…My Vision for Blogging- Business Plan for Blogs

  27. LOL – “the most expensive orange I ever ate.” I can agree, unless a hobby is really enjoyable and fruitful (pun intended) then don’t let it steal any of your precious time. Do what you love and love what you do. I hope all is well in Italy!

    Jessica, CA US

  28. Well, reading is my most cherished hobby and has been so since I was six so that is an easy one to keep. For the rest, I’m a crafter out to my fingertips. Only in textiles though. I used to do all sorts, weaving, embroidery, sewing, knitting, tatting, crocheting, quilting. Two kids and a house came along though and the joy of crafting wilted. But I still felt I should be crafting and I should enjoy it! Until this fall when I cleared out my craft room and only kept the materials I truly loved and saw a use for. That meant clearing out about 2/3 of it all. So now when I go in there I do things I really like to do and want to do and the joy is back! So decluttering saved my joy for my hobbies!

  29. This is spot on right now. I am thinking seriously about giving up scrapbooking. Love the finished result, and buying the sweet little embellishments, but I have not had time in the past 2 years to get a single page done. Just thinking about beginning my son’s 1st year is so overwhelming and I not sure when it will get done. I have loads of scrapbooking stuff, but I think it is time to pass it along. Know anyone who is willing to buy? :)

  30. Don’t be so hard on yourself about the single orange and its lack of flavor. Orange trees are irresistible at about 30 yrs. of age!! :) Perhaps you’ll re-visit the idea later on in life—and scoop up someone’s unwanted tree (that’s got a few years under its belt).
    As for acid-free scrapbooking, I’ve found that it’s impossible to do at home. All the supplies and embellishements must be taken on a girls’ week-end in order to manage quality scrapbooking time. These days it’s so much easier to make albums online.

  31. Love this!

  32. What a timely post! I just said to my husband last night that I’m breaking up with scrapbooking. I used to enjoy it, but now it seems like one more thing I have to do. I hate dealing with prints and it’s so much easier to do online if I want to make a keepsake photo book.

    I’ve also been thinking about starting a vegetable garden since we moved into a house with a sunny backyard. But, instead of jumping in, I think I’ll take it slowly and start with just herbs this year. If it goes well and I enjoy it, then maybe the following year I’ll add a vegetable.

    Thanks for the validation!

  33. Rachel, I am loving this series! I have dabbled in hobbies here and there, and I have much debris to show for it. When we move later this spring, I am hoping to move only the items I really will use and give the rest away (as I give up the dream of finishing it or even starting it) to someone who will use it NOW. The stage of life I’m in just doesn’t offer me much free time, so I don’t see the sense in having my house be a storage unit for the next 5 to 7 years. Thank you thank you thank you.
    Minnesotamom´s last post…Monday Face

  34. Thanks, Rachel. I feel like you are always giving me “permission,” in a sense, to do what I felt or thought all along. :)
    I think for me scrapbooking is out and blogging/digital photo keeping is where I am at now, but it’s been hard to let go of something I used to spend so much time on. I love the end result but it’s just not practical anymore. I set myself a goal to get to a certain point and then stop, so I want to crack down and finish and then be done with it. Maybe I won’t finish those last couple of months like I was hoping to after all…
    Nicole aka Gidget´s last post…Intentional Community

  35. Not sure if you have watched/remember The Cosby Show episodes where they keep making fun of Denise and her incomplete projects/hobbies.

    You have penned it down very aptly – should have a clarity on why one is pursuing a hobby. At the same time one should figure that out soon , otherwise the incomplete projects can weigh one down.
    Been there & guess , am still there :-)
    Anu´s last post…The Case of 10 lb Carrots

  36. I think the distinction between “I like the idea of knowing how to knit” and “I like the process of knitting” is so important for every hobby! That is a thought process that has taken me quite a while to learn. What I discovered about myself is that I enjoy creating a *finished* product. And it is unrealistic in this season of my life (with a baby on the way) to take up a new hobby, such a knitting, when it would just make me feel worse to see the basket of untouched knitting than it would to actually knit! I still have some of my supplies for various hobbies, but knitting needles (no yarn stash) and paint brushes and a quilting square can actually be packed into a rather small Rubbermaid container when you put your mind to it!

    When the time comes, I will still have the tools I invested in but, for now, I stick to projects that can be easily finished in a weekend. And I buy my knit baby hats on Etsy, too :)

  37. Jacquelyn says:

    I clicked on a link to this blog randomly… totally what I am going through right now! I appreciate your blog posts. I guess I thought I was the only one that had these troubles (:

  38. This hits home as my crafty-brain is going into overdrive thinking about all I am going to make for my little girl. I love sewing and hope to use it as supplemental income once I’m a SAHM, but do I really want to sew EVERY LITTLE THING? Nope, I don’t think so.

    So I’m trying to figure out what is a)easiest and b)will be most treasured by my baby girl. I still have the blanket my mom sewed me…but the bumbers and frills she sewed onto everything that stood still I wouldn’t even know about if it wasn’t for pictures. Great post!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…The Babymoon and The Gender Is

  39. We used to have a pantry where I kept potential craft projects on the shelves and I loved it… a cool room, albeit tiny, with with wide shelves and lots of eye candy… but nothing got done, so I set up lists and schedules – still nothing!!! ANyway we remodeled our kitchen and “lost” the pantry to open space – which is so great for our bigger than average family. And I had to do the projects or get rid of them… Well I gifted them to friends and bought no birthday gifts for a year… And they loved it!!! I gave one friend a ceramic bowl ready for painting and some paints.. She never looked back!!! Didn’t want to take the first step but once she got going nothing could stop her!!! Similarly with fabric paints!!! It was such fun to give gifts that folk actually used rather than just another old chocolate bought at the last minute. So really our projects that are our guilt traps can be a real blessing and inspiration to others… you really can move them on!!!

  40. I agree wholeheartedly.
    Once I signed up for two classes at a local community college. I liked one of them, but the other one was more stress than I could handle at the time.
    Thankfully, I was able to drop the class without receiving a bad grade.

    My logic was…I’ve already wasted the money. I’m not wasting the time too.

    • “I’ve already wasted the money. I’m not wasting the time too.”

      Exactly. Perfect.

  41. The challenge I have is a short attention span and cravings I want to deal with NOW! I have oodles and oodles of hobbies – it’s the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none phenomenon. For 2 mths of the year I will be ALL about knitting… then I get bored and move onto sewing for 2 mths… then I get bored and move onto stamp-carving for 2 mths… then card-making… then back to knitting… then onto crochet… then back to sewing… it’s vicious. I have a hard time parting with my plethora of hobbies, because I love the variety and multiple creative outlets, but I also know I NEED to whittle down… so am trying to balance space limitations, mess creation vs end satisfaction & pleasure. Any tips that might help?!?
    Natasha´s last post…Do you see it too

    • You sound just like me!! I don’t know if you’re a spiritual person, but for me I had to ask God to direct me to the talents He wants me to cultivate. I feel that I have a purpose on earth, and while it’s great that I’m good at a lot of things, it’s important to spend my time wisely. I now have a set time each week to cultivate what I feel are my most important talents, and another night to do whatever I feel like doing. That way my strengths get stronger but my curiosity and “creative ADD” get satiated as well. :-)
      KaseyQ´s last post…Fresh Homemade Bread Is This Easy Who Knew

  42. Every month my husband and I reassess whether I should stop selling on Etsy. (And, each month he reminds me that we agreed to give it a year.)

    I have a cute shop, I’ve made good virtual friends on teams, we support each other, I’ve learned TONS about listings and photographs…

    But, I’ve only had 8 sales in 5 months.
    Now for some that’s great. For others, it’s stinky.

    And, I guess I’m not really sure what my goals really are – so I have no opinion.

    If I get into the wedding game – which I could – I could get some pretty nice bulk sales. But, then I have lots to wrap, pack and ship.

    This would be growing from a “getting rid of vintage stuff” to an truly morph into a PT job – which sometimes seems to already have those hours. Hmm, lots of thinking to do.

    Thanks for prompting the questions.
    Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D´s last post…On the Level – Getting it Straight and a GIVEAWAY!

  43. For me so many of my “hobbies” are just my way of learning how to do something. Today I made a loaf of homemade bread from scratch for the first time (no breadmaker!). I wanted to try it just to see if I could do it- and I can! I also know that the only way to really know if something is going to be a good “hobby fit” for you is to just try it and see, like you with the orange tree. Last month I tried my hand at making tissue paper flowers, and they turned out beautifully. But the process took longer than I anticipated, and I realized that I would not be making large bouquets of paper flowers anytime soon. For me, my main hobby is trying new hobbies! There are a few I stick with- paper crafting, photography, and writing- but the rest just give me something to write and photograph!
    KaseyQ´s last post…Fresh Homemade Bread Is This Easy Who Knew

    • That’s how I felt a few years ago. My main hobby was “collecting new skills.” It was such a neat time of learning.

  44. Scarpbooking. Ugh. I have supplies that I bought before I had two toddlers and a baby. I’m trying to process: do I give away the supplies or finish out what I have by making simple albums?
    sandra @ eastern journey´s last post…Are you kidding me

  45. This is such a KICKASS post!! I think we all could use a reminder!

  46. I pick up, put down, and then pick back up several of my hobbies, so over time I’ve learned to give a certain amount of room to my sewing, knitting, and gardening supplies. But recognizing that those hobbies do come back around in my life has helped me recognize those hobbies that don’t come back around…your post reminds me of this as we get ready to sort our house for the remodel. Maybe it really is time to give up the pastels set and box of painting supplies that I loved for ten minutes!
    Maggie @ Maggie’s Nest´s last post…Bone Broth 101 &amp Slowcooker Chicken Soup

  47. Oh Rachel – you hit this one! I LOVE to garden but after throwing out my lower back two times and killing myself working the soil, I may need to re-think this hobby before I plant my spring veggies. I love doing it but I think it may not be the right “season” of my live to do it. Thanks for the post! :)
    Paula@Simply Sandwich´s last post…Teamwork

  48. I so appreciate this! My husband is an amazing artist in ways I truly envy. He can sketch out anything beautifully, paint it, conjure gorgeous images out of thin air and I wish I could do that. I’ve tried and tried and I just can’t. No amount of sketch pads or charcoal or fancy paints will give me talent. But you know what? I’m a great cook and he’s not! And we have to eat! So we’re both happy :) Rachel, did you keep your worm composting? I’ve been thinking about starting a worm compost box myself….If you did keep it, where are your worms while you’re in Italy?

  49. Oh, the joy of picking out all the fabulous colors of cross-stitch floss for a beautiful sampler! I’m thinking I should just find a way to display the floss. :)

  50. Great topic! I like to dabble in this and that but after having our daughter, I knew I needed to pare down. Tending tomatoes and flowering annuals takes a lot of time and energy, so last year I decided to become an herb gardener who occasionally pulls weeds from perennial gardens. I might add a pretty potted annual to the mix this year but we’ll see. Spending time together and playing with my children is a very rewarding hobby. Gardening, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, baking, tennis, yoga, spinning, etc. will always be around, the children will not.

  51. This is something important to think about- like when should my girls stop doing ballet???
    priest’s wife´s last post…Choose Your Own Excuse

  52. I’ve narrowed it down to photography and blogging with the occasional sewing project tossed in.

    I used to think I liked baking, but then I realized I just like to eat brownies.
    Megan@declutterdaily´s last post…Day 51 – Tuesday’s Thrift Store Treasures- Aussie Edition

  53. I am going through this right now! Last Christmas I decided I wanted to make my own stockings, so my mom got me needles and yarn… that was over a year ago and I have yet to even cast on a stitch. But then I realized what I would truly like to take up (from my youth) is sewing, so I invested in a new machine yesterday. And material. And ribbon. And pillow forms. And I’m going to do it because it actually is something I like to do. With the knitting, I just wanted beautiful stocking. But I can buy those.

    Then there’s the scrapbooking/craft supplies we all seem to get consumed by. I used to scrapbook a lot. Then a little bit. Now hardly ever. But I got overwhelmed b/c I felt like I HAD to scrapbook EVERY. LITTLE. DETAIL. I’m over it now. I only scrapbook the really special and beautiful photos and just put then rest in albums (when I actually get around to printing them.) That’s because my other favourite hobby is photo books. So much easier than scrapbooking. And all our photos are digital anyway!

    I could go on. I love baking and reading so I make time for those. I don’t make crafts with my kids but I sometimes sing and dance with them. I don’t run, jog, play soccer or tennis. But we occasionally go for a walk or a bike ride. We don’t watch TV but we watch movies.

    It’s about all about the balance. Sorry this is so long, it’s like it’s own blog entry!

    BTW, love your blog :)
    Mag @ funktion rambunktion´s last post…Out of the mouths of babes

  54. My guilt comes in when I think of how much money I spent (and my husband makes more money than me, so I often think of it as how much money of his I spent) on craft supplies that sit dormant. However, I am with the rest of you in deciding to get rid of them if I no longer wish to continue with the project.

    I always thought my hobbies were: reading, writing, photography, etc. when it really seems my hobbies are: reading, eating, sleeping, and watching TV. Maybe I’ll break that cycle once the weather warms up a bit more.

  55. I would have to say that my current time-sucking hobby is blog-hopping. I spend a lot of time online as I am building a business through my own blog, but I also enjoy reading about others lives and how they think. I have to be careful as I will add too many blogs in my RSS, or hop from blog to blog and be online for hours with nothing really productive being done!
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…The journey of a work-at-home mom

  56. Thanks for this reminder — I tend to feel guilty about not following through. I love to sew quilts, but I’ve been accepting over the last year that I really have no interest in sewing clothing, even though I want to like it, since it would be so useful. A group here is organizing a craft supply swap – maybe I’ll send the last of my languishing sewing patterns

  57. loved this post – I definitely got hooked on buying scrapbook supplies for awhile…buying is definitely not a cost effective hobby :)
    jodi @ back40life´s last post…Happy Sunday

  58. As many others have said, this is something that I’ve known inside but it’s lovely when someone else puts it out there so concisely.

    After reading other comments I realize that my hobby last year was learning new things. I did a LOT of crafting. And I realized I really wanted to learn something else: photography. Much to my surprise, my husband and in-laws surprised with me a fancy schmancy DSLR for Christmas. I was excited… and sick to my stomach. Once I had the camera in my hands, I realized I liked the idea of taking good pictures more than the idea of actually taking them! I returned the camera and my husband and I bought bikes with the money instead. It was the best decision ever!

  59. Your post describes exactly what is going on in my life. I am a new quilter, just learned as of January. And in 3 months I know I like it, LOVE IT, love the process and love the result. In fact, so much that I have started to downsize my other crafts and will be putting them in lots to sell or give away.

    And in the process of being excited about learning about quilt blocks and designs, my attention has turned from food to fabric. I lost seven pounds!!
    don_mae´s last post…My New Weight Loss Program

  60. i love the collecting of supplies, yard sales, second hand shops, i am always looking for plates to break,

    and i really like the completed projects but getting started always gives me trouble

  61. I used to try to hang on to my old hobbies, until I realized some of them I didn’t enjoy. Painting for example: I like having a finished product, I like being able to say one of my hobbies is painting… but when I actually paing I spend most of the time worrying the watercolours will run and ruin it.

    I used to write my hobbies in my to-do list – they made my list look happier, but they started to feel like chores I needed to “get done” rather than something I enjoy doing.
    Layla´s last post…Envying Charlotte’s life

  62. Oh, breaking up with hobbies. Awesome. I’ve found it’s better to just not get into a relationship to begin with! :) Not that I’m not interested in trying new things, I just try to have a realistic idea of what I will actually spend my time on and what I say I want to spend time on.

    Generally, I know that my hobbies have to be mental, not physical. I just get frustrated with things that I use my hands to make, with the exception of cooking (though, even that sometimes). I enjoy reading, writing, and honestly, decluttering. I also enjoy rearranging my home and purchasing things that will make it more beautiful. I would rather spend my time learning about some interesting historical event or writing a book than crying over my newest knitting project.
    Jennie´s last post…-right now- in true soulemama style

  63. “Just because I could, doesn’t mean I should.” –Couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for such a thought-provoking post (as usual). :)

  64. I am new here, my first comment. I love it because you take the things I think and write them so eloquently.

  65. Such great (and freeing) wisdom.

    And, really? That has to be one of the best blog post titles e.v.e.r!
    Kat´s last post…If Your To Do List Seems Too Long…

  66. Being a notorious “don’t finish what I started” but “feel bad if I don’t finish the movie”, I smiled when I read the title and knew I needed to read on.

    It all ties in together doesn’t it – the pull to make what others are making, the need to be creative, the feeling of having to finish something if it’s not serving you any longer.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful post.
    Alex T´s last post…SOS Japan

  67. Ok. I have this thing with scrapbooking — it was fun buying the cutesy, colorful stickers. And I did create some pages, but it was difficult coming up with new ideas to display them — nothing looked quite right.

    Then it got to the point that I realized that the choices were kind of overwhelming and keeping me from doing anything. So I haven’t “thrown the baby out with the bath water yet”, but I do plan to change the bath process — by using the “less is more” strategy.

    That’s the only way I have found that I can accomplish anything. I haven’t been able to knit, because I can’t have any type of distractions or else I will forget the process. Plus most directions are not that easy to understand (for me anyway).

    We were able to grow a small kitchen garden for a few years. It’s probably better to start off with the easier plants to grow, because it’s easy to get disheartened otherwise. That’s what I do with houseplants or my flower garden — grow the hardiest plants that will be more forgiving to lapses of attention.

    Blogging is different. It’s an ongoing process that I really enjoy. I just put it out there in the ether, and continue to update the process. It has been my nest out in the ether — that has been my launching pad for learning new ideas. So it’s definitely something that I will continue to do, regardless.

    So good topic.

    Suzy’s last blog post… http://www.savvysuzy.com/2011/03/22/resiliency-in-spring/

  68. Also, we moved from a single dwelling home to a townhouse, but I haven’t been motivated to have a container vegetable garden here. Only gardening I do now is with drought resistant flowering plants — that don’t need a lot of watering or tending to.

    Technology has been a good thing in a lot of ways, but it has made life more complex — instead of simplifying. So I am finding that I NEED to take the easiest approach to getting the basic done. Chao! :)

  69. Yup … it’s a struggle I’ve dealt with for years, as I am immersed in a LOT of hobbies. I used to wonder where all this would take me, and it took me to a company that LOVED that I could design for every single department. They have kept me very busy for the past 5 years. However, I have learned when it’s time to let a hobby go. I am now more a cardmaker than a scrapbooker, and there’s a ginormous Beatrix Potter alphabet sampler cross stitch that I started when I was pregnant, and now my dd is 12. I may never finish it. But I’m ok with that now. A book called Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher was very helpful there ;)
    Dawn Lewis´s last post…Kenny K Krafty Girlz Challenge 38

  70. You’re so right -especially the part about buying supplies!! It is SO much more fun to gear up, plan, and prepare for a project sometimes, than to actually DO it! LOL… I think I need to take this advice, especially about the KNITTING and freecylce all my yarn! :) Thank you!
    JulieK´s last post…Taxes Certainly With H&RBlockcom Giveaway

  71. I LOVE scrapbooking, buying all the stuff for it, the creativity, etc… It’s a lot like 3-D, colourific newspaper/desktop publishing design, which I did for years. But really, I HATE scrapbooking. I don’t like dealing with the pictures, I can’t stand the idea of cutting a picture into shapes or different sizes, and I’m always afraid I’ll want to use the piece of whatever for something else later. And worst yet: I don’t want to keep the junk around my house. BAH.

    I run my own business doing direct/in-home sales. Every order gets a thank you note, as do my hosts. I decided that rather the buy pre-made thank you notes, I would make them myself. A choice colour envelope, a neutral-but-interesting cardstock pre-cut and folded into card-sized shape, a “Thank You” stamp and a candle stamp (and stamper ink and gel pens)–I get all the joy of creating the stuff, and then I get to GIVE IT AWAY! I average about 50 cents per card, plus about a minute or two of work. My customers get a hand-created item with a personal message. Everything fits in one small basket. When this set of paper and envelopes runs out, I can just buy more paper, maybe I’ll even mix it up and get different cardstock and envelopes. It really gives me the joy of the hobby without creating more clutter.

  72. Wow. Do you know me? Your four points describe me to a T, especially number two. I am such a hobby-aholic, but I’ve never thought of it that way, that I actually just love learning about them. Maybe that’s my hobby! I’ve said ‘I could make that’ so many times it’s not funny. I’m a very creative person, but I need to learn to channel my creativity into two or three things rather than a kazillion. I’ve started now, whenever I have an idea, writing into a notebook, then coming back to the notebook later when I have time to do something about it, rather than going straight to the shops to buy all the materials (which is an awful lot of fun!).

    I recently realised that I love gardens, not gardening. I’m not sure how much time and money I’ve poured into learning about how to be an awesome gardener, but I’ve worked out that actually I just want to grow a small patch of vegies and enjoy other people’s gardens.

  73. I love this article, but I think a great “part 2″ would be WHAT do we do with unfinished projects if we choose not to finish them? Your story about the orange tree was great…selling it on craigslist but unfortunately, that can’t apply to the 5 scrapbooks I’ve started and dread finishing. I think what I’ve decided to do is finish 2 of them (my wedding/honeymoon one and my son’s first year). The others are travel/high school/college ones. I could take the photos out, put them in regular albums and scrap the pages, I suppose. I am just soooooo done with scrapbooking…It takes SO much time just to put a single page together for me! Thanks for the great article though and the “permission” to let go of hobbies. :) Love the positive reinforcement!