Do I have to give up hobbies to have a clean house?

do I have to give up hobbies in order to have a clean home?

The following comment was on my YouTube channel:

Sandy is not alone in this.

I’ve fallen into the same trap: 

If I enjoy this so much, more would be better, right?! 

It is that way with anything we enjoy – gardening, quilting, makeup, clothes, cooking, camping.

We can always add items to our collection of supplies that appeal to us.

In Sandy’s case, at least she’s selling them!

But often, we collect so many hobby supplies that it becomes overwhelming, and this lovely thing we once enjoyed becomes an overwhelming burden. And we think – I’ve spent good money on this, I should be using it!

Hobbies are GOOD things. It’s so important to do things that we enjoy. So how do we balance the needed supplies and keep them contained enough so that it doesn’t become overwhelming?

First, I’d like to share how I manage my interests, and then I’ll talk about what I think Sandy should do.

It’s easy for me to get passionate about activities.

I love to cook. But if the kitchen is stuffed full of equipment, I don’t want the hassle of rearranging the cupboards every time I cook dinner. If that’s the case, I am more likely to make boxed macaroni and cheese so that I don’t have to spend time pulling things out and putting them away again. I hate shuffling stuff around.

I simplified the kitchen and kept only the essential items I used regularly. That means I got rid of the crockpot, the bread machine, food dehydrator, deep fryer, specialty cake pans, and an insane amount of “handy” kitchen utensils.

And then what came out? The instant pot. Oh, the things it could do!!

Every couple of years, a new kitchen gadget becomes popular – George Forman Grills, Bread Machines, Rice Cookers, Instant Pot, Air Fryers, a steaming toaster oven. They are very enticing and often take up a ridiculous amount of space in our kitchens.

First, it helps me NOT to LOOK.

When I want time alone, I’ve learned not to do that by LOOKING.

I have learned that if I walk through Target once a week, look at magazines or watch home makeover shows on TV, I’m discontent.

If, instead, I spend time making sourdough bread and creating a new soup recipe, use fresh herbs from my garden, I am very content.

It takes an intentional shift from allowing things to come at me, those curated feeds, to slowing down and enjoying the process. To learn the skill of dicing vegetables with a chef knife instead of trying to find “an easier way” to do it.

I do let myself buy things in the kitchen – last week, I purchased new spices to experiment with.

But if I want something bigger that will take up counter or cupboard space, I make sure I take a lot of time evaluating if it would help me enough that it would be beneficial in my life or not.

It’s very beneficial to me to have clear counters

 – it means I can USE them whenever I want! So something that is going to horn in on that space, it darn well better make my life easier.

It gets easier to say no

I’m ten years into minimalism. In the beginning, it was more like two steps forward, and one step back. I still brought things home from time to time, only to declutter them later. And now it’s not so tempting to want those large gadgets.

That’s the kitchen – which is big and has room to organize those things I use regularly. 

Then I have hobbies like painting.

As artists, we can see the possibility in so many things. And it’s easy to collect supplies.

I have learned to narrow my supplies down to only the mediums I absolutely enjoy.

I have learned that I enjoy two mediums – acrylic and watercolor. Watercolor is challenging for me, so I have limited what I have to basic supplies – paints, sketchbook, and brushes. I avoid looking at more paint colors because I’ve given myself the goal of using only what I have and learning to do it; just like learning the skill of using a chef’s knife in the kitchen, I am learning the skill of watercolor. We don’t need 10 different chefs knives to learn to use them, and with watercolor, we don’t need a huge variety of supplies either – a few basic good, quality supplies is what I’m focused on – because I’m focused on learning the skill, not having the newest and the best supplies.

Acrylic paints, I have more things. I have canvases, brushes, and paints. To control the paints, I use the “container method” if the container is full, I don’t allow myself to purchase any more paints. I use a similar method for canvases – if the shelf is full of canvases, I don’t allow myself to purchase more.

We are more creative with limitations.

If I have 100 different colors, it’s harder to choose which colors to use. If I only have ten colors to work with, I am so much happier with the result. 

Although it’s challenging to shift your thinking from “more is better, and I can be better with more equipment” to making do with what you have and focusing on enjoying the process. Refining the one skill.

Ok, that’s a more typical hobby.

What about Sandy?

Her situation is different, as she has to store inventory.

I would use the container method – if you don’t have room in the container, don’t allow yourself to purchase any more until there is room.

Ideally, I would have a room that is dedicated to storing these collectibles. That could be a spare room, a closet, a garage, or even a storage unit. That way, there is some separation between work and home.

If you cannot get a storage unit and currently don’t have space in your home, then consider decluttering the things in your home that are in excess so that you can make a designated space for the collectible items.

This might mean reducing your clothing, linens, towels, and seasonal decor for your personal space so you can combine them all into one closet, freeing up a closet to store collectibles.

Or it might mean clearing out all the furniture of the guest room so you can convert the guest room into storage for collectibles.

It’s asking yourself hard questions:

  • How often do I use this?
  • Is this helping me live my life right now?
  • What areas of my home are currently unused?
  • How would I feel if I didn’t have _____ in my home/life?

It can be hard to give up things, like a bed in the guest bedroom. The idea of “what if” comes up – what if my sister visits and needs a place to sleep?

But if you don’t want to rent a storage unit for a monthly fee and instead decided to turn the guest bedroom into a storage space, it would be ok to put an air mattress in the living room or rent a hotel for her.

When we declutter, we need to focus on the benefits we’re giving ourselves. We’re not decluttering to make our life uncomfortable and have to “live without.” We’re decluttering to ensure we have space for what we truly enjoy.

And if that is switching out items in a booth at an antique store – think about how you can reduce things in your home so that living in your home and storing inventory can work together.

If you want to better understand how we can tell the difference between the activities we actually want to do and those we fantasize about doing, check out this article here.

Do I have to give up hobbies in order to have a clean house? As a minimalist, this is how I approach hobbies -

About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey after I'd been doing a yearly decluttering challenge for 4 years and started to see a change in my home. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, please join our FREE Facebook Group: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Maureen on 01/08/2023 at 9:40 am

    In my experience, it helps to first start doing your hobby, then take note of what you’re missing before buying anything.
    Whether it’s a good quality pair of hiking shoes, art or gardening supplies or anything else, knowing what you have a need for and buying that specific item is infinitely better that buying a bunch of pretty things from a store’s display, and then finding that you don’t need half of what you bought.

  2. Kathy on 01/26/2023 at 9:43 am

    This is great. Thank you. I am painting my office/studio which is so full of things I bought and never used, or used and saved for another day. I have been so anxious and stressed, I’ve had to stop many times. I found your website and while I’m still a bit anxious, I know I’m not crazy, weird, or alone in this. Thank you!

Leave a Comment