With the new year comes the yearning for all things new: job, body, hobbies, etc.
I have the new hobby itch, but I hate to accumulate stuff, whether it be supplies or the actual end results (goodbye, oil painting). Full disclosure, I don’t even keep 95% of my kids’ artistic endeavors. One of my son’s glitter-bombed projects never even made it into the house.
So outside of reading and writing, what do I consider to be a practical hobby? Well, I don’t want to spend a lot of money accruing a lot of specialized tools or equipment. I also want the product or results of my hobby to be useful and not add to the clutter of my multigenerational home. With all that in mind, here is a list of hobbies that I think fit the bill.
1. Visible Mending
Visible mending is where the art of needlework meets the practicality of clothes mending. Opposite of invisible mending, which makes clothes look unaltered, visible mending turns normal wear and tear on your clothes into beautiful forms of self-expression. It doesn’t take much to get started. You may even have some of the supplies lying around your home like needles and thread and scrap fabric.
When my family moved from an apartment to a house with a nice-sized backyard, I was inspired to grow my own vegetable and herb garden. After doing some research, I realized that my executive functioning skills were not top-notch enough to see that to fruition. However, I did plant some wildflowers and created a pollinator-friendly yard where I could stroll around and enjoy nature.
Foraging for food and medicinal plants, like gardening, gets you out into nature and gathering healthy foods. Unlike gardening, you’re not investing in tools and sweating trying to get nature to produce plants that weren’t already existing there. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the dedication of gardeners to bring life to their gardens, but for those of us who lack that type of go-getter spirit, foraging is a nice alternative.
3. Soap Making
I was once gifted a bar of handmade soap purchased from a small business. It made for a very luxurious bath leaving my skin soft and nourished. Now imagine being able to experience that with every bath and shower.
Depending on the soap recipe you are using, you could avoid spending too much to get started, and accumulating ingredients. Another bonus of making your own natural soap is that you know you’re going to use the end product (assuming it’s successful). However, if you don’t have attention for details and patience for measuring, skip this one.
4. Make Wax Melts
My husband and I love hand-poured, scented candles usually made with soy or some other natural, longer-burning wax. The thing about candles is that you understandably can’t leave them unattended. That’s where the wax melts come in. We use plug warmers that melt the wax using little light bulbs to safely scent our home.
Much like soap making, the recipe determines the cost and the number of ingredients needed to get started. Wax melts made from natural waxes like soy last longer and smell stronger than a regular paraffin wax candle. If you like your home to smell a certain way all the time or you have wax warmers in multiple rooms, it doesn’t take long to use up wax melt inventory. If you do find that you have more than you need, they make for great gifts.
5. Graphic Design
Do you like customized birthday party invitations? Were you wowed by your neighbor’s yard sale flier? Are you a creative person that likes creating practical art without the cost and clutter? Then you would probably enjoy graphic design.
I’ve dabbled in graphic design as a hobby since I was a kid. My dad was a graphic designer for some time and would buy programs for our personal computer to make things like greeting cards and artwork for school projects. As an adult, I love the graphic design platform, Canva, which I used to create graphics for my Facebook event pages, desktop wallpaper, and e-cards, to name a few. It’s one of the least expensive and clutter-free hobbies out there.
While everyone has their own definition of practical, I hope this list serves as an inspiration to help you find your way to your next favorite hobby and perhaps leave you with some space in your storage closet.