The series where we talk about having a thoughtful stash.
Stash less has been a learning process for me. With practice, and with putting my ideas out there online, I've been able to more clearly understand my own behaviour and triggers around stashing. Over the last week or so, I've had a really big realisation; for me, the key to stashing less is actually a combination of having a budget, and having a plan. And not for the reasons I thought.
I thought that the budget was a way to control my spending a bit, and my making list was helping me be a better planner. I was planning to ensure I was making the things I really wanted to make and to help me not be so caught up in my crafty whims. But what I've found is that the combination of the two helps to eliminate many of the reasons why I stash.
Allow me to explain. My Making List 2015 is only a few weeks old, but it changed things for me. The first thing it changed was that I am not making so many random things. I did make some socks* but other than that everything I'm making are the things I should be making. This is unheard of. Often when I get the urge to start something, rather than starting something that needed to be made, I go blank about what to make and start something totally random. Then I feel pressure to finish the aforementioned random thing. Pressure that keeps me away from the things I really want to be making.
Having made my making list I can see my plans are slightly unrealistic. That is a bucketload of knitting for a person who knits in life's gaps. But knowing that my expectations are probably unrealistic is kinda good. It means that I've gained some drive to stay focused, while being aware it probably won't all happen. I want to reiterate that the list is actually a list of things that I really want to make. These are all the things that I often postpone because I am crafting to my whims. There is still time for whims but by having the list I am making things that will be much more satisfying to me.
I stated in the list post that writing the list clarified that I have all the materials I need in my stash. Before I wrote the list I was buying materials "just in case I have time" or "because I really want to make X on a whim". This type of purchasing now makes no sense as I really just don't have time for them. Win! Big win!!
So I've got rid of many of my reasons for purchasing. I'm not buying for time poverty reasons (to have things just-in-case I get the time) or for perfection (to have the perfect materials) as I know I already have the materials I need for the list. I'm not buying for having the pretty as I can see I have no use for it anytime soon. So the only reason I would be buying for stash would be for fear of missing out (FOMA) - and for me there are only a couple things I worry about missing out on - Nani Iro or Liberty releasing a new seasonal collection - and I'm trying not to wander internet shops so I am less likely to be tempted.
Oh my goodness! The joy of being free; free from desire and free from want!
Now I've heard a few rumblings from a few folks, in comments and whatnot, that a budget isn't for them. That they are the kinds of people that a budget wouldn't work for, that they like their freedom too much. And I'm with you. I love freedom! I love the idea that I get to choose and no one is stopping me. But the thing about stash less is that it is ME that wants to change my behaviour. So I'm the one creating the rules and wanting to put the brakes on. I've already talked about the freedom that has come from having the list, but then you add a budget, and the freedom only increases.
I set my budget at a level that meant there was some room for joyful purchasing, and I said I wasn't going to be super strict. I could still buy a grownup sweaters worth of yarn for myself if I wanted to, but as I can see I don't have time to knit anything for me that requires new yarn, I have extra cash to play with. I would really really like to stick to the budget and that creates opportunity cost; if I buy one thing I can't buy another. Knowing what I have to purchase for the list means that I am aware that I only have about $200 left for the year as a discretionary fund. Yes I may spend more than that. But I want to be really really careful to not overspend just to own the pretty or FOMA. I really want to put thought into it.
And here is the key….without the budget I could justify many many things for FOMA. And for owning the pretty. With a budget I have to make a choice with which kind of pretty I want the most. I need to really really want it for it to fit into the $200. $200 means maybe two purchases this year. And I want them to be for something truly special. I love that it has come to this. That this will be when I make a purchase!
The budget and my making list combined have made the process of stashing less feel like freedom rather than restriction. Freedom I have given myself. Such a useful thing to figure out.
Useful ideas, or not for you? Have they changed what you think about budgets? Or lists for that matter?
Click the link for other posts in the Stash Less series.
*Yes I did make socks. Totally random thing to make as it is the middle of summer here. But they are pretty! And make me happy so play on I say!
PS. There is another aspect of freedom that has arisen from not stashing. In the past I would buy because I wanted to own the pretty, but then it was like a big chain around my neck. I would see a pattern that I really wanted to make and more often than not I didn't have what I wanted to use in stash. Because I had purchased the pretty already I would feel pressure to use it and not be able to follow my creative whims. A big bummer and a clear case where the stashing itself is the restriction.