Real Life Minimalists: Bheng

Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.

Today, I’m pleased to feature Bheng, who writes from the Philippines. Her story provides wonderful inspiration for those trying to declutter craft and hobby supplies! Please visit her blog to learn more.

Bheng writes:

Bheng

I am a crafty person, I live and breathe crafts. I prefer to make my own things rather than buy them.

I dreamed of owning a craft shop, one where I can sell crafty tools and teach them as well. While waiting for the right time to put up that venture, I thought I can start completing the contents of that craft shop. As a result, I have collected 4 years worth of crafty stash: 150 or so crochet hooks, 50 pairs of knitting needles, about 15 kilos of yarns, and 10 boxes of crochet thread, one 4-layer bookshelf full of knitting and crochet books, and magazines from all over the world and a lot of other tools that I thought “I would need someday!”.

All of these fit an entire room in our apartment. You can say that after 4 years, this right time never came. As a result, I don’t have much savings, because most of my money went to all these items that I bought.

After I gave birth to my first child, I went through post partum depression. As a result I lost interest with all the things I own. I also had some financial issues then, and while thinking of ways to resolve this I realized that I really have to let them go.

My browsing for ideas around the web brought me to your website. I read about minimalism and I just know, right then and there, that this is the answer.

You are right when you say that sometimes, we buy things because of the promise that they hold. You are also right when you say, that sometimes, we buy things because we feed our imaginary career. When I read about these in your website, I had goosebumps. I felt as if this website is written for me. It’s like your teachings has awakened me.

I sorted out my crafty collection. I opened up an online store in Facebook, so I can sell them to crafters in the Philippines. All the yarns and crochet hooks got sold out in a matter of months. This destashing is still ongoing, and I hope at the end of this year, I will be able to liquidate these items, and bring down this crafting into just a small hobby.

I started this activity last August and I have made a very huge dent in this pile of crafty things already. Not only did I reclaim more space, I also have some substantial cashback. It also allowed me to pursue my real career in life. Limiting the craft in my life has allowed me to also focus my time with my family, and my baby.

I am gradually applying minimalism to other aspects in my life. This is really liberating!

I also write about my journey to crafty minimalism in my craft blog:  http://www.handmadebybheng.blogspot.com/.

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

22 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Bheng

  • Me

    I think setting up an online shop to sell the stuff was a really good idea.

  • Bheng, you were so smart to open a store and sell the excess. As you see more and more open space in your home I believe you will become inspired all over again. I know I did. Many blessings on you and your family.

  • You are very talented and I hope that you will find more clarity as time goes on as to which path to pursue. Good luck.

  • Martha

    Great Post – thank you! You are an encouragement. It takes courage to realign your dreams to better fit current reality. I’ve been stuck in the “again someday” phase; everything I need to open a hand made chocolate shop is carefully packed and organized in my garage. At 70+ it just Ain’t Gonna Happen… Congrats to you, Bheng! Loved your blog, you do beautiful work!

    • Lilly

      Marth,a many things could happen when you’re 70+. If you want to open a store, your age is not a factor. Some of the factors are whether you are healthy and have the money and time to open the store. Blessings to you.

  • Thank you so much ladies for the wonderful and encouraging comments… thank you Francine for sharing my story :) I’m glad that I’m on the right track to being a minimalist ! We can all do this!

  • Wasn’t aware that online stores existed on Facebook. What an interesting niche. Great post!

  • Oh, Bheng, your story really touches me. My mother is, and always has been, a crafter with varied interests. She did open a craft store and I worked it as a teenager after school and on the weekends. Our home was always filled with craft supplies and half-done projects. At 78, my mother’s home is overwhelmed by these things still.

    I’m so proud of you for realizing at such a young age that things can own you in some ways more than you own them. And, of more importance, they can limit your choices and lock you into your current life path.

    You made a brave choice, found a new way to sell that’s more relevant in today’s economy and gained freedom and happiness in the process.

    Cheers,
    Ree ~ I blog at EscapingDodge.com

  • Angie Hall

    Bheng, thanks for being so open and honest! I, too, suffer from someday-I’m-gonna-craft-that syndrome. I have been guilty of buying thousands of dollars worth of scrapbooking supplies, knitting supplies, quilting stuff, etc. And when I realized I was spending more time trying to organize my stash of supplies rather than create with them, it hit me!

    We share something else, too. I, too, suffered terribly from PPD after the birth of both my children. Especially after baby #2, I was so sick that I didn’t want to create anything…all I wanted to do was get better…and I eventually did. And once I did, I wasn’t thinking about how to hoard more craft supplies…I was busy trying to make up for lost and lovely time with my friends and family. That is what life’s all about…creating a life worth sharing.

  • Great story, Bheng! I can relate, since I have been a crafter all my life and I got super excited about various things, making toys for a while, spinning yarn for a while, knitting for a while… sewing.. and I’m a painter by profession. I made small businesses out of my interest. But my interest in each thing waned very fast, and then I’d get excited about a new thing, learn all about it and think that that was it! No, not so. It seems like learning the craft was what interested me, but I could never make a long term commitment to any. Heaps of craft materials left over each time. I got rid of everything and now I keep a small basket of yarn for myself and a small box of sewing supplies, for personal use only. I’m even considering giving up my art career.

  • Linda

    Bheng, this was GREAT. I can so relate to it ALL. Plus you and your baby are beautiful. AND I loved the crocheted egg on your site! Carry on in beauty.

  • Linda

    Oh, and I also had terrible PPD. I think it’s so important to be honest about this, so we moms can support all moms who suffer. The whole mom thing can be so debilitating when everyone else seems to look like it’s so easy for them, and they’re in a cute outfit beside! So thanks for being one of the honest moms.

  • new mom

    Thanks for the inspiration….. your baby is so cute!

  • I can absolutely relate to saving things to use for projects. I think that if you have the minimalist mindset, you want to make the most of what you do have, and also value creation over consumption, so there is always an opportunity to save all kinds of materials for future use. On one hand, it feels great to get rid of a box of stuff, but on the other, it feels wasteful.

    Congrats also on setting up an online store – I think a lot of us imagine that we’ll do that with our unwanted things so that they don’t go to waste, but making an effort to organize and set up a store is a huge hurdle.

    I love these minimalist mondays!

    xo,
    lindsey
    fraululu.blogspot.com

  • […] enjoyed a guest post on the Miss Minimalist blog’s Real Life Minimalists section from Bheng who lives in the Phillipines. Bheng tells of her ongoing project to reduce the volume of crafting […]

  • Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

    I totally understand that moment where you felt that site was written just for you. I remember reading about minimalism for the first time. It is such a wonderful, life changing moment.

    Congratulations on clearing out your aspirational craft supplies. You should be very proud.

    I hope you minimizing continues to be such a great success.

  • Thank you so much for the encouragements and kind words. it’s great to know that there are a lot of you who can relate to what I’ve been through! I wish you all the best too! Francine, thank you so much , for sharing my story.. More power to you and and your website!

  • You turned lemons into lemonade! What I love about your story is that it is an example of someone who made a mistake and instead of wallowing in it, picked herself up by her knitting needles and did something to make it better. I’m in the process of selling my excess wardrobe (I GET the aspiration buying thing girl!) and I swear I now enjoy selling more than buying. I was just saying this to my dad yesterday that there are ways we can pick up a few dollars here and there if we open our minds. Isn’t the internet great?

  • Tina

    I was saving craft supplies when I realized it made more sense just to save the instructions. If I was ever going to make the item I could always go and buy the supplies. I have more to give away but I realized after making 3 small quilts I was never going to make a big quilt. I was never going to scrapbook I just liked the paper, etc.

  • rhino tee

    I did the same thing. I only kept a few of the basic supplies and removed all of the excess. It was hard, but I find that it is easier to enjoy the few I still like to do.

  • Tina

    I gave away a lot of paper and a lot of fabric. We took a cruise and I showed some women from other countries some of the scrap booking and paper crafting ideas we do in the US. THe instructor was impressed that I wasted none of the scraps. I just went through more quilting fabric and gave away all the large pieces I had bought.

  • Rachel Nichols

    I enjoyed the post, Bheng.

    But I was also glad when I revisited this blog to find Miss Minimalist is still writing books. I have just downloaded 100 Essentials onto my Kindle!

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