What to do with all of the stuff left behind what a crafter dies?

Jun 12, 2017

Once every few months I receive a call or an email that goes something like this:

“My Mom was a lifelong crafter and has died and we are cleaning out her crafting stuff. We don’t know what to do with it and wondered if you might like it?”.

I hate the thought of someone just binning a lifetimes accumulation of crafting materials – it just feels so wrong. So I normally tell them I will take it and then over time, I find places or people that can use it.

The last few months I have had a few very large donations from those who were in their later years when they passed away, so they had a lifetime of crafting tools and materials. I even had someone donate several beautiful older cameras from a man who had been a lifetime photography enthusiast but died without any family.

Every time I am given a donation, I remind myself:

“Don’t wait for best to use what you have. Make something beautiful with it now”.

What should you do to the items that you would like to donate?

  1. If at all possible, hand it over in some organised fashion. If it is just thrown into a bin bag, it makes it much harder to figure out what there is and where it could best be donated.
  2. Make sure it is clean! The chances of it being accepted as a donation decrease if it smells of damp, cigarette smoke or pets.
  3. Hand it over without any regrets. I think some people feel as if they should hold on to the stuff as part of remembering that person. They won’t be upset that you are giving it to someone else who will find joy from it. I promise.

So where should you donate the items to?

  1. Church groups tend to be a mecca for crafters and they often offer social crafting events.
  2. Girl guide and boy scouts are a great place to try too.
  3. Local charities also love donations – I donate most of my stuff to the Walton Lea Project, a local charity that provides supported employment for adults with special needs.
  4. Homes or care groups for the elderly are a great potential place to donate as they often using crafting to help with socialising.
  5. Refugee charities are always in need of various items – it might be worth emailing them to ask if they require the specific things you are going to donate.
  6. Use either Facebook or Google with very specific searches based on your location to find local organisations if you are struggling to find one that will take your stuff.
  7. If the charity is going to sell it on, then ask them if you can gift aid it.
  8. You local high street charity shops take items but they don’t always take what you might want to donate. Call them first.

I know it is a bit of an odd topic but I hope if you ever find yourself having to take on board the project of clearing out a loved one’s possessions, this will help.