Moving Tips for Crafters

The worst thing about being a crafter is that you have so much stuff on moving day. I’m not even talking sewing machines & sergers- did you know how heavy a big box of fabric can be? Insanely heavy. I had multiple. Multiple, multiple. Plus a few boxes of yarn. And there’s still fabric out in the big wide world that I’m coveting.

Thank gosh moving is finally over! Now I just have a mountain of unpacking to do. Although it was a painfully difficult move (I’ve never had furniture other than collapsible bookcases & a bed to move before- many big items like dining room tables made things exponentially harder), I learned a few things about what to do next time I move.

After taking my serger in for repairs it was returned without the top bit of styrofoam. Naturally, while packing I filled it with sewing related supplies such as chocolate & aspirin- perfect for those difficult projects.

1. It’s gut wrenching I know, but pack away your supplies early. Otherwise, you’ll be staring at your sewing machine for a month, wishing you were sewing but feeling too guilty about not packing to actually get any sewing done. The resulting lack of accomplishment on both the packing & sewing frontiers will make you feel even worse. Also, I always try to make an inventory list of my boxes. The closer I get to moving day, the less likely I am to actually include a box on my inventory list. A lot of last minute random chucking into boxes tends to occur. Once I’ve moved I want access to my things right away, but this time I could not find my umbrella swift (for winding balls of yarn). It drove me crazy. If I had packed it away from the get go (& not for whatever crazy reason separate from my ball winder) it would have been on my inventory list & I wouldn’t have torn my hair out trying to find it.

2. Invest in a good, hard sewing machine case or other specialty item to protect your big supplies. I’m something of a hoarder. My grandma escaped communist China, but she never ever forgot what it was like to live somewhere where ziplock bags, paper napkins & plastic to go containers weren’t plentiful. She has passed on her need to grab handfuls of free breadsticks & mini Barbie doll sized hot sauce bottles to her children & grandchildren & probably even some of her great-grandchildren. Seriously, my sister has a cabinet-tall stack of plastic to go containers my grandma has given her, convinced that she needed the dozens of lovingly washed containers she swiped from her old folk’s dining hall. This is why I can never throw away the packaging for anything, ever. So even though it’s been almost a year since I got my new serger & sewing machine, I still have the original boxes they came in, styrofoam & all. If I had been moving across country, I can see where this might have come in handy, but I recently moved one block from my old apartment. This was overkill. Some good, hard cases would have been smaller, lighter & easier to move with.

3. Set aside a small & portable project to work on while you’re moving. Knitting, crochet, embroidery or a backstrap loom are perfect. This way you can keep on crafting during your packing breaks, but will already have your main stuff put away. With the big stuff out of sight & out of mind you’re free to focus on your small project(s).

4. Make an emergency crafting kit. Put your essential supplies in a small bag or box. This should include all the materials for the small project(s) you will be working on during the move. It’s also good to have enough supplies to carry you through the first week or two of unpacking. But, be careful. This is an emergency crafting kit. Stick to just a pair or two of knitting needles, a skein or two of yarn that’s really calling to you (as long as you have a project in mind for it, and one of those hand sewing kits you used to get for free at hotels but can now purchase at the grocery store. Ideally, this is something so small you can stick it into your purse as you bid your old digs farewell. Or, you can do like I did & stick it into a shoebox. It then got lost amongst all our other boxes. Inside your purse is better.

5. Purge, purge, purge. Tossing things is obvious, but as a crafter you may have acquired a lot of things just because they struck your fancy at the time or were on sale, so I think it bears noting. Are you really going to make covered buttons with that tiny scrap of fabric that’s been sitting on the floor for months? Toss it. Tiny bits of 1/30th of a skein of yarn? If you don’t always make intarsia with a bunch of different colors, toss those scraps. Bookcase overloaded with crafting books? Host a giveaway on your blog if you have time. If not, donate your excess books & supplies to charity. A used bookstore will only give you a few bucks for a bag of books. By giving to Goodwill, you can claim the full value of your used supplies as a donation on your taxes (but I am not a cpa so don’t ask me if this can work for you). Also look into your local crafting shops. An amazing yarn shop near my house will exchange customers’ old yarn that they’ve never used but have kept in their original balls or hanks with their original ball bands; in return you get store credit.

By slimming your stash & having everything clearly labeled, you’ll be able to get up & crafting in short order after you’ve moved. Now if only I followed these guidelines. Next time though, which I’m hoping will not happen for a few years more.

If you have any tips I’d love to hear them. Please share in the comments!


13 thoughts on “Moving Tips for Crafters

  1. Pingback: Spinning, a renewed obsession « Disparate Disciplines

  2. Oh man, I am bookmarking this for the next time I have to move! I’m with purplepincushion; I’ve been moving almost every year since I graduated from high school…some things just never got unpacked! But somehow I still manage to hoard fabric like no other. I’ve been trying to be better about donating fabric I’m unlikely to ever use, though.

    My grandma sounds the same as yours, so I definitely feel the itch to stash McDonald’s napkins in ever nook of the car, just in case.

    • You never know when you’ll need a napkin! Or need to subsist off a drawer full of crackers- at least that’s what she always sent me home with when I was in college.

      The craft hoarding gets really bad once you add in other things. I actually have a small storage unit (finally getting rid of it soon!) of tons & tons of supplies & projects left over from art school. The crazy thing, paper is heavier than fabric.

  3. We used pros last time, but still- nobody trusts their babies to strangers! I used stash fabric to wrap delicate pictures and such and then on the day of, I moved the animals and the sewing machines- the movers thought I was crazy!

  4. We are nearly professional movers. We have become very efficient with our moving science over the years, and because of this we have also become “anti-hoarders”. When you move a lot you quickly loose all the extra baggage:-) We once sold pretty much everything we owned and lived in a camper for a year so my hubby could go to school. Where we live now is the longest we have lived in one place. This makes me want to pack up and move just to get rid of all of the unnecessaries hanging around!

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