Saying farewell to a hobby, part two

In the original “Saying farewell to a hobby” post, I talked about how to decide if you’re not really into your hobby. Letting go of a no-longer-active hobby can be difficult, especially if part of your identity is wrapped up in that activity. (I know I still think of myself as a tennis player even though I haven’t touched a tennis racket in more than 10 years because of a rotator cuff injury.) But, if you make the hard decision to break up with the stuff for a hobby you’re no longer doing, getting rid of the supplies can be emotionally difficult.

The following are five ways to let go of hobby supplies to make the purging process less traumatic:

  1. Call up local enthusiasts whom you know are still into the hobby and let them take what they want from your house. They are more likely to use the materials than you are, and they will truly appreciate your generosity. Plus, as you pass along your supplies you can tell them stories and talk about how and when you acquired or used the items. You’ll get another happy moment sharing the history with your friends.
  2. Sell the supplies on a website whose community is dedicated to the hobby. For instance, if you’re a knitter or crocheter looking to de-stash your yarn, the website Ravelry has a marketplace forum that is perfect for you. Be sure to include shipping costs in the price of your goods, though, so that you don’t go broke getting rid of your items.
  3. Have a yard sale, but be very specific in your advertising to point out what types of things you are selling. “Woodworking Supplies Yard Sale” “Sailing Supplies Yard Sale” If you place an advertisement for your sale, use similar language and target publications people interested in these hobbies would read.
  4. Often stores that sell new supplies for a hobby also will sell “gently used” items on consignment. Call your local stores and ask about their policies. If they won’t sell them, usually they know who will or clubs related to the activity that could use the supplies.
  5. Programs and/or schools that teach the hobby — rock climbing schools, your local YMCA or community center, the high school down the street, a day care center (for adults or children) or seniors’ center — typically need supplies to help teach others about the activity. Make a few phone calls and you’ll probably find a program that is elated to take the discount or free supplies off your hands.

Sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Freecycle are great for getting rid of items, but I’ve found that it’s harder for me to use these sites for hobby supplies that I have some sort of bizarre sentimental attachment to. Even though I’m no longer using the stuff, I still want to know that it’s going to someone who is enthusiastically going to use it. This is probably true for whomever buys or picks up the item from one of these three websites, but my mind doesn’t process it that way. Weird, right?

Good luck with the final step in purging your no-longer-active hobby supplies. And, most of all, enjoy the space for whatever new will take — or not take — its place.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.

20 Comments for “Saying farewell to a hobby, part two”

  1. posted by Lori on

    I recently sold some of my crochet pattern books on Craigslist to a woman who was very excited to get them. It felt good to see them go to someone who is really into crocheting. It was also nice getting some money back to use for something else.

  2. posted by Loren on

    I still knit and crochet but I donated a MAJOR portion of my stash to a friend who was hosting a knitting circle for some ladies at her church. It was all cheap yarn, but they were glad to get it, and I emptied an entire drawer.

  3. posted by Camilla on

    I love sites like Freecycle and ReUseIt. People are THRILLED to get my stuff and it makes me feel good to give it to someone who will appreciate it.

    For craft supplies, don’t forget the children’s department of your local public library! They have small budgets, and lots of needs! And “crafts” encompasses a wide range of thing, even yarn for knitting projects for kids.

  4. posted by Dawn F. on

    I am part of my local Freecycle community and a few months ago a lady put her entire scrapbook supply stash on Freecycle and I practically dislocated my wrists emailing her back as fast as I could! I am a scrapbooker and I was OVERJOYED to be able to get 4 boxes full of random scrapbooking goodies. Paper, stickers, embellishments, etc. are expensive and receiving all of these items for free was a true gift!

    I shared the supplies with my fellow scrapbooking buddies so many of us benefitted from this woman’s kindness (she helped us by giving it all away and I helped her by picking it all up from her home).

    Also, one of our local scrapbook stores has an annual “yard sale” and you can rent a booth and sell all of your unwanted supplies, hand-made items, etc. It’s a fun and easy way to sell off unwanted scrapbook items.

    Consider giving your unwanted hobby items/supplies to a local boy scout or girl scout troop, your church, your children’s school and/or a child/adult daycare center – depending on the type of items you’re parting with.

  5. posted by chrisck on

    Donate yarn to senior centers (also knitting needles and crochet hooks). A lot of senior citizens would love to keep their hands busy and make gifts, but can’t afford to buy the yarn.

  6. posted by Sherilan on

    10 years ago I sold my spinning wheel to a teenager who was interested in learning to spin. I also sold a fleece (Goodbye Spike) and some tools at the same time. Many times since I have thought about taking it up again, especially now that you can actually buy processed and dyed roving and just spin if you don’t want to do all the processing. I nearly bought a new wheel last summer, but finally decided to make a hand spindle and see if I would use it. Not so much – need to relearn.

    I pass on yarn to people who knit for charity and my local yarn store also has a basket for donations. But this is yarn that I fell out of love with.

    I seem to enjoy fiber related hobbies which I will not touch for several years and then I start up again. The spinning stuff is the only one I let go of, but we’ll see if that lasts.

  7. posted by Nana on

    For those who find it difficult to get rid of hobby Stuff that they’re probably not going to use…take a photo!

    It works when disposing of other Good Stuff as well. I took pix of some of Mom’s Stuff, to send to my adult kids to see what they wanted…now I can look at the pictures if I miss any of that Stuff (and, guess what, I may look at the pictures if I come across them in a drawer every few years).

  8. posted by Marie on

    In reverse, this is a great way to fund a hobby that might otherwise be pricey. Several of my hobbies are only financially possible through used supplies.

  9. posted by Greg on

    I couple years ago I said goodbye to my snow skiis. I had held on to them since High School (Ski Club President) and Skiing for PE in College (it was great!). It seemed to be part of my sports identity – as I didn’t do other “team” sports. But time just did not allow for me to hit the slopes any longer and the equipment had become very dated. Still it was hard to say goodbye.

  10. posted by Joanne on

    The Ravelry Classified Group
    has a pretty comprehensive list of all the fiber related swap/sale groups in Ravelry.

    I found to also have some great deals for spinning, weaving and knitting.

    My local Guild also has a member’s “Yard Sale” twice a year. The problem there is the temptation to pick up something new! They also accept yarn and tools for charity knitting and educational events.

  11. posted by Vinod Singh on

    Does anybody know a good website for selling basketball cards? I have been trying to get rid of mine for years. Thanks in advance!

  12. posted by Dawn F. on

    @Vinod – perhaps you could go to your local comic book shop. Several comic books stores in our town buys and sells basketball cards (old and new).

  13. posted by Assess Your Hobbies To Free Up Space | Lifehacker Australia on

    […] Farewell to a Hobby Part 1 & Part 2 [Unclutterer] […]

  14. posted by Diane on

    These are great suggestions! I donated away most of my knitting supplies when I realized that I was no longer enjoying the activity. I kept just enough to be able to sometimes knit a scarf or other small item as a gift.

  15. posted by The Simple Dollar » The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Post-Book Lull Edition on

    […] Saying farewell to a hobby, part two I’ve had to let go of hobbies several times in my own past and it’s always been difficult. Part of me has wanted to hold onto the items from that neglected hobby as some sort of nostalgia – but that’s a really bad idea unless you have acres of storage space. (@ unclutterer) […]

  16. posted by E on

    Oooh this is hard. When I was a teen I was an avid horseback rider. A dear friend of my mother’s gave me my very own saddle, which I cherished and used often. Then we moved to another country; the saddle went into storage and I have been on a horse maybe twice since then.
    I would love to ride again, but it is no longer on my priority list. It takes some time to drive out to horse country, groom, saddle up and ride; at this point in my life I would rather spend that time with my family, or volunteering for a local cause, or educating myself to improve my future career. Perhaps one day things will change, but until then I have no plans to ride regularly.

    The saddle. It spent years in storage, and more years in my dad’s attic. Finally he lent it to a riding friend. When the time came for him to move away, he asked if he could give it to that friend… and as sad as it made me, I had to say yes. I still think about it, but I would really rather it be loved and used, than gather more dust. I don’t have any pictures, but whenever I think of horses I think of it, and of the friend who gave it to me. Which is really the important part anyway, when you think about it.

  17. posted by The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Post-Book Lull Edition | Frugal Living News on

    […] Saying farewell to a hobby, part two I’ve had to let go of hobbies several times in my own past and it’s always been difficult. Part of me has wanted to hold onto the items from that neglected hobby as some sort of nostalgia – but that’s a really bad idea unless you have acres of storage space. (@ unclutterer) […]

  18. posted by Teresa on

    After reading this post I felt a little sad. I played tennis for years and still have all of my equipment. I keep telling myself that I will play again someday but so far no tennis. I am into scrapbooking and a great deal of my life involves scrapbooking and I can not imagine giving up on it… Nice post.. Thanks

  19. posted by logoscoaching on

    I like your comment ‘enjoy the space for whatever new will take — or not take — its place’

    It is a big decision to fully decide that a once loved hobby no longer holds interest for you; it’s like finally saying goodbye to a favourite friend that you spent many happy hours with. However, by realising that a certain hobby no longer holds the draw that it once did means that a person is ready for something new and exciting in life; so getting rid of all the accessories from the hobby is really just the physical side of finally letting go of an area of life which has already let go of internally.

    Am loving your site Erin 🙂

  20. posted by Doug on

    I agree about the feeling received when I give something to a freecycler. Around here they’re a bunch of hoarders, grabbing anything because it’s free. I’m kind of partial to the stuff I’m giving away and want to think about it being used & enjoyed.

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