5 Best Podcasts for Creative Entrepreneurs

Podcasts, eh? What did we used to do all day before we had all these amazing shows to listen to? Well, I for one used to get a song stuck in my head and sing the same three lines to myself over, and over, so yeah, thank God for podcasts – saving people who work alone at home from a slow descent into sing-song madness. I listen to all sorts of shows, to entertain me while I run, to help me fall asleep, and, increasingly, I’m listening to podcasts to help me run and grow my business. I want to share my five favourite work-related podcasts with you today – some are more specifically geared towards creative entrepreneurs, some dig deep, some are more generalized, but all of them are amazing and well and truly worth a listen.

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The Mood Booster – Creative Pep Talk with Andy J Pizza

When I get a bit bogged down in business admin, or I’m having some sort of creative confidence crisis – which is oh so often, let me tell you – Creative Pep Talk is always there to, well, give me a pep talk. Host, Andy is so passionate and insightful about being a creative that it’s impossible not to walk away from an episode feeling energized and remembering WHY you wanted to do this work in the first place. It’s a show that will help you overcome setbacks, whether it’s things in the real world, or that nagging voice in your head. It’s funny, it’s helpful, it’s a truly comforting voice in amongst the sea of depressing statistics about working in creative industries – I really couldn’t be without it.

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The All-Rounder – The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper

A lot of the YouTube and podcast content I consume about business is geared specifically towards working in the creative industries or e-commerce, The Side Hustle Show is different for me, it covers industries from dog food blogging to knife sharpening – and while obviously not every bit of information is relatable or directly applicable to me or my entrepreneurship journey, I love the show for being a consistent source of inspiration – it’s the chance to hear people talk about their own entrepreneurial journeys: the challenges they’ve overcome, the lessons learned and the highlights too.

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The Eye Opener – Ctrl Alt Delete with Emma Gannon

While I do love working from home, alone, I think I definitely run the risk of ending up with my head up my own butt. Having only one opinion on something, hearing only one voice – I don’t think it’s ideal when running a business. Ctrl Alt Delete is one of my favourite podcasts because it gets me out of my own head and exposes me to amazing conversations, different experiences and stories than I would ever come across rattling about in my own head. While many of the guests are entrepreneurs, this show for me is less about literal advice and more about just getting the chance to think about something interesting – I often feel really inspired to write after I listen to this show.

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The Handmade One – Dear Handmade Life

I found this show while I was frantically trying to work out why I’m so bad at selling on Etsy – this show has given me a lot of good points to work on, but actually, it’s done a lot more too. One of my favourite aspects is that it tends to deep-dive some of the more nitty-gritty aspects of running a creative business – thing such as Pinterest strategies, sustainability in business and the differences between selling wholesale and retail. Some of the episode titles might not sound as sexy as some of those from other entrepreneurial shows, but at the end of the day, a lot of the time, running a business isn’t sexy. It’s important to visualise, to dream, to have goals… but it’s also really important to understand some of the legal aspects of being a working creative.

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The New Find – Raw Milk with Beth Kirby

Okay, so I only came across this one recently and I’ve only listened to a handful of episodes, but I just had to share it here! From the very first – two part – episode, the show had me hooked. Beth is engaging, inspiring, experienced and incredibly knowledgeable and she’s very free with sharing her lessons learned here on the show. I feel like I’m gushing, but honestly, she explained Instagram in a way that changed everything for me – I actually get it now, rather than just feeling like I “should” use it. I absolutely can’t get enough of this show right now and I’d really encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already – but pro-tip; you probably want a notebook to hand while you do, this show is absolutely packed with information you will not want to forget!

So, ta-dah, my 5 favourite podcasts for creative entrepreneurship – what do you think? If you have any suggestions, or any gems you think I’m missing, please let me know in the comments – I’m always on the hunt for enough shows to fill my days… lest I go back to singing Part of Your World over and over to myself…

 

 

 

 

Print on Demand: June 2019 Update

Hi, friends.

Welcome to the June 2019 update post for my Print on Demand work. I post work to a few sites, including Redbubble, Tee Public, Society 6, Zazzle and Merch by Amazon – but in this update post I’m just going to focus on the three that do the best for me, as otherwise this post will end up being a novel. Also, just to add a disclaimer to this post – I am very new to print on demand, I’ve made a few sales, but I have a LOT to learn, so this post is more like a diary entry and much less of a how-to.

As I mentioned in my Etsy update post, June has been an a-typical month as I was out of the country for most of the time. Of course, the amazing thing about print on demand is that it is still working for me even when I’m 4,000 miles away from my laptop, but it does mean that I didn’t really spend any time putting up new work, or analysing any sales or lack thereof!

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Stats for various stores

  • Site name: Redbubble (TimorousEclectc)
  • Sales of all time: 40
  • Sales this month: 2
  • Listings added: 6
  • Listings total: 255
  • Profit this month: £1.88
  • Profit of all time: £15.65
  • Hours worked: 4
  • Site name: Tee Public (Timorous Eclectic)
  • Sales of all time: 35
  • Sales this month: 6
  • Listings added: 5
  • Listings total: 157
  • Profit this month: £16.60
  • Profit of all time: £83.00
  • Hours worked: 4
  • Site name: Society6 (Timorous Eclectic)
  • Sales of all time: 5
  • Sales this month: 0
  • Listings added: 2
  • Listings total: 130
  • Profit this month: £0.00
  • Profit of all time: £21.60
  • Hours worked: 4

Where am I at with the stores?

With Tee Public and Redbubble it’s the same few designs that sell for me over and over again – which in some ways feels good because I’ve obviously designed something well. It can also be a bit disheartening, because I uploaded those designs months ago and nothing else I add now seems to generate any sales, or even interest. Additionally, the designs that seem to work for me are simple text-based designs, and not the ones featuring my artwork. Don’t get me wrong, I love making text-based designs too, but I would love to develop my artwork design skills so that in time I can sell them more – but it’s hard to know where to start in terms of learning?

Society6 is totally different for me. I’ve only had a few sales there, but I’ve sold some higher ticket items like duvet covers – which is really, really exciting for me! I actually need to stop thinking of Society 6 as “another POD site” and do some more research into what works well there, and then start designing specifically for that site, I think.

Screenshot_2019-07-01 'Florida Theme Park Snacks - Hand Painted on Purple' Spiral Notebook by TimorousEclectc
This is one of the new designs I put up this month – can you tell I’m missing my Florida vacation?! This was also a return to uploading work painted with acrylics. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, but I know with practice I can do more with the style.

What’s going well?

Between the 3 sites, I do reliably make a little money each month. It’s not much, but it’s enough of a trickle to fill me with hope that this can go somewhere and grow into something. Quite a few of my design Pins on Pinterest get a lot of traffic and some click-throughs, which again, right now might not count for much, but shows me that I’m doing something right, and that if I keep working, things can grow. Basically I feel like I have a mountain to climb, but I do at least feel like I’ve found the start of the path.

What’s not going so well?

the trickle of sales is very much a trickle. I think a lot of that is my fault though – I think for a while I’ve sort of been cranking out quite a high number of designs basically on a whim of what I liked, and not spending enough time researching trends, what styles do well on the sites and things like that.

In my head I think I definitely lump all the POD sites I use together, but I think I need to rectify that and separate them out into totally different markets with different demographics.

What am I going to be spending my time on in July?

I think I’m in one of those situations where what I’m doing – cranking out a lot of designs – isn’t really working and I need to accept that and change tactic a bit. For July I’d like to invest time in really getting to know each site as an individual and to be able to better understand how to design for them. I want to look at what’s out there, how my designs fit in, and come up with a plan to tailor what I’m doing for that site in the future.

Screenshot_2019-07-01 'Love this Life - White Brush Lettering Motivational Quote' Acrylic Block by TimorousEclectc
One of the text-based designs I released this month – again, I feel like it might be more than a bit vacation inspired!!!

What goals am I going to report back on in the next update?

Rather than worrying this month about increasing income directly, I want to be able to sit here at the end of next month with a much better plan to guide me going forward. In literal terms, I want to take apart my “POD notebook” and start separating ideas, strategies and sketches out into site-specific notebooks. I’m naturally a very impatient person and I also generally learn best by doing, but making random designs and seeing what sticks is exhausting a bit disheartening. Obviously, not every design will sell and that’s to be expected, but I’d like to improve my ratio a bit at least and ensure that I’m creating portfolios full of work I’m proud of.

That’s it for this month’s Print on Demand Update – not super meaty this month as I haven’t been focusing a lot of time on Print on Demand in June. I’d love to connect with other people who sell on POD platforms – so if thats’ you, or if you have any questions in general, please come and say hi in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Minimalism and Nostalgia – What I’ve Learned.

If we were to make a scale running between “cold hearted bitch” and “tears up at every Disney movie ever made”, then set me up with some Kleenex because I am most definitely a nostalgia loving, sappy, kid at heart. Even for those who would consider themselves more “practically minded” than me – the person who kept every sketchbook I ever filled as a kid (spoiler: they were all filled with pictures of horses and ‘fashion designs’ – all named after birthstones or zodiac signs. The fashion designs… and the horses) – I think the idea of tossing out irreplaceable childhood mementos and memories can be pretty daunting. I mean, I can’t just go out and get some Tazos if I decide I want to get into it again, can I?

And of course, as I would point out with all aspects of minimalism – if you want to keep all of those mementos, then you do you – there is of course no right or wrong here, BUT, what if you do decide you don’t want the entire space under your bed to be occupied by Beanie Babies and souveniers from a theme park that doesn’t exist anymore? Well, here’s what I did – what worked for me, and what I regret.

Method One: Put things away in a cupboard? (AKA the “Out of Sight Out of Mind” Method)
 
The first thing I did came right at the start of my decluttering journey, and to be honest, didn’t work that well for me (I mean, there’s probably a reason everyone advises to leave photographs and sentimental items until the very end, but hey, I’m a rebel). I chickened out of even dealing with all the ornaments and trinkets I had amassed from 18th birthday gifts and the like, and instead I put them all in a box and we shoved them at the back of a cupboard somewhere. Some people like this approach, the idea is that you put them away for some months and then if you don’t miss them, or feel anything when you take them out, then they go bye-bye. Of course, the cupboard we shoved the box in happened to also house the Christmas tree, so when my box of precious, irreplaceable items came back out it was during the annual Christmas Tree stress-athon (“Which cupboard did you put the tree in?” “How should I know you put it away!” – Christmas is not Kenny’s favourite thing in the world.) We plucked the box out by accident, thinking it housed the sparkly reindeer (as you do). So, as I looked back through my items it was less of a ‘well thought out reunion’ and more of a quick rifling through newspaper and trying to make a split second decision before the “high up cupboard” was closed again and out of my reach (I do not ‘do’ ladders, for everyone’s sake). In amongst this I sort of realised that this just hadn’t worked for me, because I hadn’t dealt with the emotions associated with the items before I put them away, I just had that decision to make from scratch when I finally took them back out, which made the whole excersise seem a bit pointless (and we never did find the sparkly reindeer last year). It took me just as long to decide how I felt about things then – and at a much more stressful, less convenient time – than if I had just gone through the process properly in the first place – because of course I didn’t actually want to keep the ceramic owl I painted when I was six, I wanted to ‘keep’ the memories associated with it, so physically hiding the owl didn’t help – it was never about the owl.

Method Two: Taking Photographs of Items and Then Getting Rid of the Actual Items (AKA Let’s Get Digital, Digital)

Another thing people suggest doing if you have a bunch of bulky items that you only keep because they remind you of something or someone, is to just take a photograph of those items and then toss the giant stuffed bear/vase you hate/hat that hasn’t fit you since you were eight, and hey presto, a giant box of memories can be condensed down to the size of a flash drive. It sounds great, and for some things I did like this – like, for example with my childhood sketchbooks, I took a bunch of photos of the meticulously labelled sketches I made of outfits for each of The Spice Girls (trust me, they have no idea what they’re missing out on here), and stored those digitally and then was able to get rid of those books and believe me, that felt great, they really did weigh a ton and take up hella space, but… that was about all I liked it for. During my degree (which is in art), I primarily kept visual journals, and again, these things were so bulky that they took up about half of my bookcase, and I mean, how often did I even look at them? So I did the same thing, I took photos and then tossed them, and boy, do I regret it. These pages were layered and textured – they were tactile and meant to be interacted with – the emotion that I felt both for and from them, came from physically touching them and seeing all those layers of writing, of scribbles, of images, and in reducing them to a 2D photograph I robbed myself of ever really getting to “experience” those pages as they were meant to be experienced again. The same is true of some stuffed animals I got rid of – it wasn’t what they looked like that held the magic, it was the feel of their ‘fur’ or their particular level of squishyness if you gave them a hug, and a photograph just doesn’t give you any of that.

Ultimately, I  regret getting rid of my journals – if I knew then what I know now, I would have kept them. With the teddy bears and everything else, I think ultimately I would have let them go onto new homes (and new hugs #sappy), but I think I would have less emotions about it now if I had made a clean break  – thanked them for their service and released them with love – rather than trying to kid myself that I could “keep ahold of them”  through the photographs. You cannot have your massive Eeyore and eat it, or something like that.

Method Three: Better Check Your Mum Doesn’t Want That Teapot

Marie Kondo cautions heavily about storing things in other locations – whether that’s hoarding 33 lipsticks in your desk at work or never fully moving out of your parents house; all of these items are still our posessions, even if they’re not physically in our homes. I totally agree with her there, and I did even go as far as clearing all my stuff out of the attic at my Mum’s – well, except the guitar, I mean, I feel like I totally might come back to that. One day. Not soon. But here’s the thing I learned with nostalgic items – it wasn’t just me who felt nostalgic about some of them. There were items I literally had boxed to go out to charity, but after mentioning them to family members they gratefully scooped them up – totally appalled that I would consider getting rid of them at all. The reason I didn’t feel like this was ‘cheating’ was because I had made my peace with these items and was ready to let them go, one way or another, but I’m not going to lie, it was easier to know they were going to my mum who would cherish them, rather than just releasing them into the big unknown. Of course, I have no idea if she still has the items (I mean, yes, of course she does, she is NOT into minimalism), but it did make it easier to let them go at the time. So while clearly this shouldn’t be your main method of letting go of items, it possibly is worth checking if that handmade felt Christmas tree bauble you made at pre-school means as much to someone in your family as it once did to you (Unless you’re a member of my family where my mum “forgets” to take my 23 years old felt bauble out of the Christmas Box, EVERY YEAR).

Method Four: Suck It Up Buttercup

I wish I could say that there was some easy way that worked for me; some trick or step by step process, but there wasn’t. I’ve taken several passes through my memories box at this point and honestly, I still don’t really have a shitting clue about what to do about a lot of it. I have days where I feel like my heart is being ripped in half at the thought of throwing some of these things out, and then I have days where I feel like my memories box is like a dangerous, emo, wormhole transporting me back to my teens – which it has to be said, were not great – and really, should I revisit those times? Is it healthy to keep the memories of these places and people alive? Is it healthy to not remember them?

Ultimately though, the best method that worked for me was just to sit down and really face the music, and go through it all, all at once. I had huge success in some areas – such as the afformentioned childhood sketchbooks – but I have not done so well in others – stuffed animals have faces, okay, so it’s harder, you have to like look them in the eye as you tell them you don’t love them anymore, oh jeez, here come the Toy Story 3 flashbacks…

Anyway, I have learned a few things along the way through doing this though, namely:

1. The memories that really matter to you, the people that really matter to you, you won’t forget, no matter what, so while I’m not suggesting that you throw out all the old photos of your closest family members and just keep the ones of you with random people at parties (that would be a hilarous photo album to show future children though), but just that if there are items you’re holding onto purely because you’re scared you’ll forget an amazing day, then it is ok to let go. You won’t forget.

2.  You don’t have to get rid of anything. I mean this in both the short term and the long term. Marie Kondo talks of the importance of decluttering once and doing it so thoroughly and properly that it is not an ongoing process, and while for the most part I do think that makes sense, I also know I had good days and bad days (or good months and bad months actually) when it came to decluttering and if I had tried to force anything I would just have ended up building a Beanie Baby fort and defending it with my life – so yeah, in the short term, if it really doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right; stop the process for as long as you feel you need to. And of course, in the longer term, even if you feel commited to minimalism, remember that there are no rules attached to minimalism, so you can keep every certificate you ever got in school, or have every wall decked out with 100 photos, that’s all totally cool – if it’s what feels right for you.

3. Not all memories are good memories, and by that I don’t just mean the ones that are obviously not good – like the time I was chased by a gaggle of geese at a farm park when I was a young child. I still can’t hear that awful honking noise they make without practically hitting the ceiling. I’m also referring to memories that “should” be good, but aren’t – for me, for example, that was basically anything to do with school. My anxiety crippled my life during my school years and while I always did really well academically (well, I mean, PE doesn’t count right?), I found that any time I looked at a school certificate or souveneir from a school trip, or even photos from back in the day, all I really felt was the fear and the shame and the guilt associated with my anxiety back then. I could consciously remember the feeling of our choir winning the competition, or of getting an A in maths when nobody thought I would (I did do well academically in school, honestly, but there was a certain floppy haired boy in maths class, so you know) – but at the same time as I was trying to focus on those memories, I would also feel the bottom drop out of my stomach and all those bad feelings from the past come back, and ultimately the bad feelings were worse for me than the good thoughts were good. So I got rid of everything from my school days – at least this way nobody can hilariosuly print an old school photo of me in A1 size for my 30th birthday or something…

So that’s it, that’s what I tried and how it worked, and what I know now, which admittedly is arguably still not very much. For me, this was definitely one of the most challenging aspects of shifting to minimalism, but I overall feel I’ve done pretty well in letting things go, but as you can hopefully tell from the hopefully artsy pictures that I have hopefully taken and sprinkled gracefully thoughout this post, I definitely haven’t gotten rid of everything either.

Ironically enough, for me the next step is to actually bring out more nostalgic stuff in the form of getting some digital photos printed (did you know we can do that??!?) and getting some memories put up on our walls. I very much like blank walls, but I very much like some of the people I’ve been lucky enough to know and some of the places I’ve been lucky enough to go to, too. The difference is that while sometimes I used to feel like I was living in a time capsule surrounded by so many memory triggers, now I can be sure to choose the photos of the times I really want to remember and then bring them out where I can enjoy them.

As always, if you yourself have gone through the decluttering process – KonMari style or otherwise – let me know what your experiences were, and hey, if you’re not into the thought of minimalism at all, let me know about that too!

Learning How my Hobbies fit in with my Minimalism

I realise I’ve always had a lot of ‘hobbies’, even before I was at an age to know them by that name. For Christmas, when I was two years old, I asked Santa for ‘scissors, paper and glue’ and from that Christmas morning onwards I have had an arts and crafts box (with plastic scissors at that age, I must add). It started as a small set from the North Pole and has ebbed and flowed in size over my years as an imaginative kid, a productive art student and even now as an ‘adult’ my arts and crafts drawers are still with me. And this is just one example of my hobbies. Over the years there have been many – from learning French, a recently rejoined pursuit, to skateboarding, which was boy-with-the-dreamy-hair motivated and was, mercifully, a short lived undertaking. But my point is that I have always had my day-to-day stuff that I could sort and declutter like anyone else, but then I would have whole drawers of ‘untouchable’ items because they were my art supplies. Or my makeup collection. Or 10,000 notebooks I had acquired for writing in. And while the specifics have changed over the years, I realise that I still have a lot of ‘hobby’ stuff that I just won’t even consider taking apart.

So how does it fit in with the life I want to live? Paint stained tables and drawers bulging with scrap paper are a far cry from the minimalist images popping up on my Pinterest feed – but how do I feel about it?

The first thing I did when I started thinking about my hobbies going forward, is gave some thought to the Miss Minimalist quote; “declutter your fantasy self”. For a long time after I was out of my teens, I held on to so many relics from my less-than-wild adolescance – Nirvana t-shirts, Hello-Kitty-dressed-as-satan backpacks and some seriously chunky black eyeliner pencils. I held on, not because my teen years were great (they really weren’t), but I think it was more to do with the idea that our teen years are when we make a lot of decisions about college and life and all those big scary sorts of things, as well as have first loves and do a lot of learning about ourselves, and frankly, I think I had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that time was past, and not being able to shake off the feeling that I wanted to go back for a do-over. Holding onto all those clothes and accessories really didn’t make me feel good though. I felt very confused each time I went to get dressed: it sounds dramatic, but honestly, being confronted with those garments in the morning would just have me being hit with waves of nostalgia, regret and panic about where I was now in my life. It was like trying to have multiple identities which, as well as causing some bizarre ‘fusion’ ensembles to appear, also put a lot of pressure on me in an area of my life that really isn’t worth stressing over.

Almost as soon as I started decluttering, I spotted this behaviour pattern, I realised that I was holding onto my past, and in seeing it clearly, I felt ready to finally say goodbye to that chapter of my life – have a little cry – and begin to move on. But for some reason, the same epiphany didn’t occur with my hobbies – like I said, the drawers and boxes that stored those items were always sort of invisible to me. They were given a pass through decluttering, because they were ‘specialist’ items. Well, no more. I slowly started to become aware that there were drawers I wasn’t opening, boxes I couldn’t recall the contents of, and in peeking inside, came to realise that they were all full of ‘hobby’ items. With each hobby I remembered I felt a pang of guilt that I was neglecting all these items, I felt shame that I was failing at keeping up with something that I really did want to do, and I felt pressure – how the heck was I going to fit this in? Eventually, a little voice in my head piped up to answer that last question, saying: what if I just don’t?

I love the idea of living a rich and full life, and so I see myself wearing a lot of (metaphorical) hats. I see myself being a polygot because I love studying languages, I see myself being someone who cooks a proper, elaborate dinner each night because I’m interested in nutrition (and because I freaking love to eat), I see myself by an easel, hiking in the hills, filming makeup tutorials, jogging, swimming and visitng the cinema weekly. I see myself doing a lot of things, I just can’t see when I would be doing them.

I think this is a key example of it not being a conscious pressure I place on myself – I don’t literally wake up each morning and give myself a hard time for not going out to photograph local wildlife and then combine it with a 10 mile jog home, but still, subconsciously I’m aware of all these boxes and drawers filled with all these ‘goals’ and ‘targets’ I’m failing to meet. On some level, I am still carrying all this around with me. I am still trying to remember the cheat codes to Mega-Bomberman, and retain the ability to speak conversationally in several languages, to ensure we get our 5-a-day in an innovative and exciting manner, and to pan an eyeshadow palette. It’s a lot of things to remember, really, given that a good chunk of my brain is already given over to remembering the lyrics of every ABBA song (‘cos those come hard-wired, right?).

So how did I go from having about 35,672 hobbies I never did, to picking out a couple that I wanted to continue with right now in my life?

1. Asked some really tough questions – what could I stop?

This line of thinking took me to some really dark places – dealing with the idea that I might never do something, led me to a lot of thoughts about my own mortality – you know, we only have so much time, we can’t do it ALL – I might very possibly die without ever completing Tomb Raider II for the Playstation One, or managing to master night-time photography. And you know what? In the end I realised that it didn’t really matter. While painting is fun and I’d love to be able to make beautiful desserts for my fiance I know that when the time comes and I’m on my deathbed I really won’t care if I ever did beat my sister’s score in the Wii ski-jump (not least because I know I never will). I know this is a really morbid way to think about things, but going to this extreme really made me realise what things were important to me – that added value to my life experience, and helped me grow as a person and express myself – and to be able to tell them apart from the things that while fun to experience now and again, were more weight and pressure than was worth stringing along.

2. What could I hit pause on?

After outright discarding a lot of my hobby items – buh-bye scrapbooking supplies – I was left with still a lot of things that I really did feel connected to, but that weren’t things I reached for everyday. For example, I had a lot of books on learning various languages, and a lot of books and tools related to learning calligraphy and hand lettering. I knew that while I was passionate about pursuing these interests, pursuing them wasn’t going to happen tomorrow or even next week and I wanted to find a way to keep them alive, but free myself from the constant physical reminder of them. I spent a lot of time online researching these subjects and for languages I found many great YouTube channels as well as the language learning website DuoLingo and I realised that actually, this combined with being able to store dictionaries on my Kindle meant that I could actually release ALL of my physical books to go to loving homes, but still be able to hit ‘resume’ on this hobby any time I like. As far as the physical ‘tools’ for hand lettering, or even my huge stash of printmaking supplies, I really looked at what I would ‘need’ to have on hand to get started again – what couldn’t I work without in the beginning? Everything else, I let go, knowing that if or when the time comes and I want to really get involved with these hobbies again, I will find a way to regain items as I need them. I trust that will work out.

3. Could items be loved more by someone else?

Then, when it came to the hobbies that I knew I was going to physically going to keep the items for- like the majority of my art supplies – I went through and tried to feel the joy, and workout if I’d actually prefer to let some things go rather than keeping them sitting in a drawer because ‘it made sense to’. In the end I got a big pile of coloured paper and pastels and various other bits and pieces ready to send off to the youngest budding artist in the family. On paper (no pun intended), it made sense to keep it ALL – paper is a non perishable and it would be a nightmare to try and find all those specific shades, weights and textures again – but in truth, I felt more joy at the thought of gifting them to someone else, practicalities be darned. For me, it was about finding the right balance between having still kept a ‘full set’ of supplies for my ongoing interests, but also that I wasn’t just holding on to so many things that I might actually never get round to using them.

Of course, deciding which objects to physically keep is only half the battle really. As with all of minimalism, it’s more about mindset than anything else, and I had to really have a big shift in my thoughts with my hobbies going forward. Right now, I want my biggest focus, or ‘hobby’ to be about being happy. About pursuing bliss and calm and fulfillment, and maybe once I’m feeling some more of that I’ll look to add in a couple more hobbies again, but for now, I’m liking the peace and quiet and the pressure-free space my home has become.