Keep a Craft Project Planner [for Focused Craft Shopping!]

You didn’t plan to go in.

But that four-letter word on the sign in the craft store’s front window lured you in like a large-mouthed bass chasing after a fat worm on a hook. SALE!

Excited, you head over to the yarn section, all proud of yourself that you’re going to get the supplies that you need to crochet that cute little blanket for that upcoming baby shower at a bargain.

Look at you!

But soon, after a minute or so in the soft sea of baby blanket pastels, reality hits.

You don’t know exactly what materials you need for that little blankie.

If you could just transport yourself back home to look for that pattern in your magazine rack among the 12 other patterns that you have on your crafty “To Do” list.

How many skeins do you need? What weight of yarn is recommended? Do you have the right size crochet hook at home?

Well, you could wing it and buy what you think you need. But we know how that typically goes, right?

You buy too much, you don’t buy enough, or you buy the wrong thing.

Why does this keep happening?

Why can’t you get it right the first time?

You Have S.O.S. (Shiny Object Syndrome)

Let’s confirm the diagnosis with this quick True or False quiz:

  1. You often enter a craft store with the intention to spend less than $25 but exit with a $100+ charge on your card.
  2. You’re a frequent flyer of the craft store returns or customer service line.
  3. When you watch those shows about hoarders, you secretly wonder if your own family might arrange an intervention for the mountainous mess in your craft room.
  4. You have craft supplies squirreled away in closets that are still in the original retail store’s bag.
  5. You qualify for at least a runner-up ranking in the “She who dies with the most craft supplies wins” contest.

If you responded “True” to any of the statements above, you’re an enthusiastic crafter who likely has a case of Crafter’s Shiny Object Syndrome.

Surprised? Probably not.

But, if you’re slightly uneasy about your quiz responses, don’t sweat it.

You’re in good company.

Craft shoppers, food shoppers, clothing shoppers, let’s face it…. all shoppers fall victim to Shiny Object Syndrome at one point or another.

It’s not your fault.

Retailers are well aware of this phenomenon.
So are Marketers.
Heck. You are too.

Craft retailers deliberately set up their store to encourage sales by bombarding your craft senses with seasonal displays and the promise of clever decorating options, new products, unique craft projects ideas and other delectable delights.

If that’s not enough, they throw in price reductions, coupons, membership points, exclusive savings, or other monetary incentives to entice you to buy even more.

No wonder you walk out of the craft store with an overflowing shopping cart, a drained craft budget, and your head spinning!

Crafter’s Shiny Object Syndrome will shipwreck your craft shopping ventures every time if you try to navigate the sea of creative options and discounted treasures without a map.

The good news is that Crafter’s SOS can be conquered. All you need is awareness and your trusty little guide.

The Scouts Have the Right Idea

You love to explore craft stores. It’s an adventure every outing, isn’t it? You might say that it’s one of your favorite hobbies. (Besides actual crafting, that is.)

You can, however, prepare for more efficient shopping adventures before you set foot into the store by knowing how to recognize, acknowledge and address the many scenarios that can potentially become huge SOS distractions.

Just like the scouts. They don’t plan on encountering or (even worse) getting bitten by a snake while they’re out enjoying nature, but they’re skillfully prepared to administer first aid for a snake bite should it happen.

Similarly, you can plan your craft shopping trip and equally prepare to conquer your SOS, which could potentially derail your shopping objective.

Plan a Shortened Itinerary

First and foremost, you need to zero in on what projects you want to work on in the near future and determine the supplies for those projects.

SOS Alert!

But, what projects do you choose? Any crafter worth her weight has a multitude of future project ideas (more shiny objects!) floating around in her head. You’re no exception.

Here’s the thing… If you want to successfully complete projects, have that sense of accomplishment and free yourself to do more fun things (perhaps another project), you need to focus your time, effort and craft shopping on a maximum of three craft projects at a time.

Yes. Three.

Fear not. All of your other project ideas are not going away. They’ll still be around for you. Pinky promise.

Take your time, but pick your top three.

Once your top three projects are identified, make the commitment to narrow your shopping focus on supplies for ONLY those projects.

This laser beam focus is the first step in conquering your Crafter’s SOS!

Your Shopping Plan should look something like this:
Get Supplies for My Top 3 Projects:
1. Project X
2. Project Y
3. Project Z

Now that you have your plan, you’ll need some more information in order to be prepared for a successful shopping trip.

Prep Step 1: Know What You Need

Take a sheet of paper for each of your top three projects and write the project title on top with a short description of the project below.

Next, dig out the instructions for one of the three projects. You may have a pattern in a drawer or a Pinterest pin or an idea you saw in an email.

Carefully review the project instructions and list all of the Resources Needed (Materials and Tools) below the short description. Be sure to note quantities, sizes or other details. Even if you have the items on hand, list them.

Repeat this process for the remaining two project sheets.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed your very own Top Three Craft Project Planner!

Don’t grab the car keys just yet though. You still have a little more prep before your trip.

Prep Step 2: Know What You Don’t Need

Scan through the three Resources Needed lists for materials or tools that you may have on hand. When you confirm that you have the resource on hand, put a checkmark beside it to indicate that you don’t need to shop for it.

Don’t rely on your memory. Make sure you find it before you make that checkmark!

Prep Step 3: Know What You Might Do

Take a fourth sheet of paper and write SOS at the top.

The purpose of this sheet is to help you quell your Crafter’s SOS while you’re at the store. Here, you’ll quickly jot down any new project ideas, fun items, or thoughts that you encounter during your trip. You can acknowledge these “shiny objects”, but not dwell on them which frees you to maintain your shopping focus on your Top Three priorities.

Add this SOS page to your Top Three Craft Project Planner.

Prep Step 4: Keep What You Know and Need With You

Remember to take your mini 4-page mini planner with you at all times. You never know when you might have a “shopping emergency”.

You’ve already decided on your three priority projects and have identified what you want to shop for.

You’re also prepared to pacify your SOS cravings by capturing any new ideas. (Write small.)

It’s Go Time!

OK. Now you’re prepared. Go ahead and grab your car keys and your trusty Mini Top Three Craft Project Planner.

As you navigate the aisles of your craft store, refer to your new Mini Planner often to help you purposefully shop for only the items you need. You can log your SOS moments along the way to save ideas for future projects, but remember to focus back on the top three project sheets to keep your shopping agenda.

When you get home, assess how successful you were at buying supplies for only your top three projects. Whether you stayed on course or went off the path a bit, acknowledge that you planned and prepared. With this approach and a little practice, your craft shopping will become more focused and productive.

Grab yourself a Thin Mint then start crafting away on that priority project.

When you’re ready to start another project, don’t forget to repeat your planning and preparation.

To help streamline this pre-shopping preparation, you may want to consider consolidating your projects into a more comprehensive craft planner. You can easily review all of your retained future project ideas (your distractions) in your planner, allowing you to reassess and re-prioritize the projects that deserve you want to focus on at any time.

Focused project prioritization will allow you to streamline your craft shopping and expedite project completion.

More fun. More done.

Choose, But Choose Wisely

Your comprehensive project planner can be achieved with a simple, yet systematic approach to saving your cache of project ideas.

The intention of your planner is simply to maintain a catalog of all your interesting future craft projects. Moreover, your goal is to use your planner to help you maintain focus on your current projects.

But what format should you use? Should you store ideas manually in a notebook or should you store them digitally on your phone?

You may like the idea of creating a physical notebook that you can flip through, and add drawings, doodles or manual notes on each project page.

Or, you prefer the idea of an electronic planner that’s accessible through your phone and other connected electronic devices.

The key is to really trust your instincts when deciding on how to keep your planner. Strongly consider how comfortable you’ll be with using the chosen planner format and the likelihood that you’ll continue to leverage the planner’s benefits to your advantage.

For the manual approach, you can simply start your craft planner with a three-ring binder and paper.

Conversely, download and subscribe to an appropriate app (Trello is a good one) on your phone to take an electronic approach.

Either way, you improve your chances of maintaining your crafting focus if your planner is in a format that fits your comfort level and lifestyle.

Of course, your planner will always be a work in progress as you continue to readjust your crafting priorities. The format should be flexible enough to add, remove or update your project catalog.

Craft Your Own Bad-Ass Planner

You already created a simplified craft planner by recording the essential shopping information in your Top Three Craft Project Planner + SOS.

Your comprehensive planner will take some more time (you have SO MANY project ideas), but each project page really only requires basic information similar to what you logged in our Top Three exercise.

Whether your craft planner format is manual or electronic, you need a template for each Project page.

A template is an organizational tool that will help you scan and find project details more easily because similar information is found at a specific location on every page. You’ll use these similarly formatted pages for your shopping lists in the future.

Additionally, you can save other helpful information, like a photo or concept drawing of the project, estimates for completion time, or cost of materials. If you like, include these headings in a consistent location on your Project template.

Your physical planner project template pages, which will be used to log shopping details for each project, could look something like this:

Once you have established your page template, be sure to print a new page for each craft project idea from your SOS shopping sheet or your latest Pinterest marathon.

Remember that your craft planner’s purpose is to safe-keep your “shiny object” project ideas for later review and consideration. With discipline, your craft planner is an essential tool that will allow you to become a more focused and prolific crafter.

Prepare to Plan, Plan to Be Prepared

Let’s face it, the planning process for anything takes some time and effort. Creating and maintaining a craft project planner is no exception.

Whether you choose a physical book or electronic format, carve out some time to get a start on building your DIY project planner.

Start your planner with your top To Dos, then graduate to adding more projects and more detail when you have the time. You’ll soon have your ultimate take-along project reference at the time you’ll need it most — during those shopping “emergencies”!

At the very least, remember to carry along your Top Three Craft Projects+SOS portion of your Planner whenever you leave the house. Critical.

Picture yourself in that little “didn’t-plan-to-go” shopping scenario. You know… the one where you spotted the SALE sign at the craft store? This time though, rewind it and insert your handy-dandy craft planner into the drama.

As you head over to the yarn section, you take a quick glance at your planner, which provides the details — the amount and characteristics of the yarn you need for that baby blanket. You also confirm that you have the correct size crochet hook in your tool inventory.

Let the fun begin! You’re free to truly enjoy shopping the various colors and textures of yarn available — your creative options for that baby blanket project.

At the check-out, you remind yourself that your project planner makes you one bad-ass craft shopper. You enjoy the creative experience without the stress of uncertainty.

Focused, ad-hoc shopping trips assisted by referencing the details logged in your planner save you money and time. Valuable savings that you can (and of course, will) apply toward the next craft project on your list!

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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