The series where we talk about having a thoughtful stash.
OK. So I titled this post "Why we stash" but I'm going to talk about me to start with. I would love to hear your reasons in the comments as I'm sure I haven't yet uncovered all my reasons. What I do know is that a standard part of beating any addiction, be it cigarettes, sugar, you name it, is looking at your motivation. In order to beat it you have to understand your triggers. So here goes.
The addiction in question today is stashing, which leads to the question - "why am I over purchasing craft materials"? What is the point of it? How does it make me feel before, and after, I do it? What behaviours am I engaging in, that have led to me having a larger than desirable stash? It's been on my mind a lot, and I have found a few initial answers.
The first is about lifestyle. Until my family recently went through our life change, I had a partner that worked a lot and I had three very small kids. As such, I suffered from a common modern ailment called time poverty. And what made it worse is that I had a lot of time to think. Doing housework for five people, especially when that includes three small grubby ones, means that I had oodles of time to dream up wonderful projects and objects and ideas while doing things that I was trying to not think about so much, like the washing. Not very mindful I know, but I have never mastered the practice of being able to be in the moment when sweeping. Instead I go to some happy creative place. The thing is that to create all those wonderful things I obviously needed materials and I didn't have much time to go shopping. I may have shopped big when I had the chance, and done a bit of online purchasing, so that when I could make the projects and objects and ideas I had the things on hand. But see the thing was I was time poor, so I didn't get to tackle even a fifth of the "amazing" ideas. Purchasing was a way of getting the thrill of making, without having the time to actually do the making. Sometimes by the time I got to look at the materials, I often couldn't even remember which passing idea I had purchased them for.
The second is another modern ailment - fear of missing out (FOMA). I buy linen when I see a perfect colour because I know I only see it rarely. I buy Nani Iro when it comes out and I love it because I know it is in limited supply and the most beautiful prints sell fast. I buy it even if I don't have a project for it. I do this with other seasonal prints as I know I don't find ones I love often, so when I do I purchase without even having a project in mind.
The third is one is even more painful to write as it is even more frivolous. I buy things just because they are pretty and I want to see them, try them, have them. I want to own the pretty things. Errgh. This one makes me like myself a little bit less ;) as it is not in line with my principles. In the last couple of weeks I have had big big urges to purchase some of tonofwool's gorgeous Cormo and also the new yarn from Woolfolk which comes in such pretty pretty colours. Some people like buying shoes. My weak spot is pretty materials.
The fourth one is that I buy because I am looking for perfection rather than making do with what I have. I could make a jumper from a yarn in stash and instead I try to match the pattern to the yarn to make perfection. Which is a totally valid thing to do. Totally. BUT it means that I am not using things that would be 90% right which is often good enough. And it also means that I miss out on the magic of some of the ideas that come from creating from what you have.
So what to do. Here is what I am going to try to do to combat each of these "triggers".
1. Time poverty - I'm going to go back to my visual diary and plan. I think I need to get real about what I actually have time for. Ouch!
2. FOMA - I'm not going to look. I'm not going to wander around the internet looking at shops. Pinterest yes, but online shops no. I'm going to make instead.
3. Owning the pretty - This one annoys me. I'm just going to shut. it. down. Yes they are pretty but if they are pretty without purpose then they make me less happy, not more. I'm going to remember what I tell my kids "stuff doesn't make you happy" and also the Mary Poppins quote "enough is as good as a feast". I have enough.
4. Perfection - I think I may have kicked this one in part. Since embarking on this challenge I have been wandering around my sewing room pulling things out with totally fresh eyes and I am super excited by some of the things I can make. The combinations I am going to get by making do are so exciting. I can't wait to show you some.
As I said at the top of the post, I would love to hear your reasons too.