In 2016 we invite you to join us in your own personal Stash Less project. Stash Less is a project whereby we work towards having a mindful stash. Each month we will be posting a challenge for you to use in your own journey of discovery and change. Please feel free to join in at any time. We can't wait to hear what you find out! Last year's Stash Less posts can be found here but to follow this year's Challenge then please use the links below.
So big apologies for last month. I dropped the ball because of registration (and life) and I didn't post a challenge for the month. But I'm sure you didn't mind. It gave you a bit of time right? Changing your habits around purchasing means making better decisions over time, which means that extra time gives you more opportunity to shift?
Challenge #4 - Stop Shopping
So the challenge for this month is to stop shopping - unless you need something very specific for a project you are working on right now.
So what does not shopping actually involve?
Not shopping means more than just not purchasing. It means window shopping or online looking as a pastime. It means unsubscribing to yarn updates, latest pattern collection release emails and many many newsletters.* It involves not popping into the wool shop even if you are in the area.
It involves only walking into a shop to buy supplies for making with a list.
I still fail at this one, but the improvement on where I was is massive. I've made this change in my life slowly. Initially just with sewing and knitting blogs and stores. But over time I've extended it to all area's of my life. I can clearly see how my behaviour around all shopping has shifted and changed my perspective.
These days I get newsletters from my very favourite stores only, so in each category (knitting, sewing, clothes) it would be down to three or less. As I said, I'm still a work in progress :). Maybe you could get yours down to zero?
What is the problem with looking?
So why does it matter if we aren't purchasing? Why is does it matter if we are just looking?
Here's the thing. I actually think there are a couple of problems with shopping as a pastime. Pastime? Well, if we aren't shopping to purchase something we need, then we are using it simply as a pastime. And why is it bad for as a way to spend our time?
1. Window shopping leads to shopping shopping.
Maybe it's late at night you are a bit tired, and you forget yourself. Or you see something that you really really need. Or you find a pattern that you just know you are going to use really soon. Except that you don't.
You don't need it - otherwise it would be on your making list as something you need. Or it would be on a supply list as something you need. Window shopping creates needs (that aren't really needs) from of the emotions we have when we see them - excitement, longing, admiration and my old friend desire.
2. Shopping as a past time has us sitting in desire rather than creativity.
If we spend our time looking rather than creating, it means our heads are in the wrong place. When we get an email newsletter (eg. did anyone else get Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People collection today?), we get distracted by the new and shiny and follow the worm down the wormhole. And who wants to be in a hole with worms?
Window shopping as a pastime means that we are sitting with our future selves, looking at things we don't need, for projects that we know we don't have time to make - cause we know what is on our making list - right? It means we are looking at what we don't have rather than what we do have. It means we are sitting in desire rather than gratitude.
Window shopping means are not looking after our head space! Even if we don't see anything super sparkly that we want to buy, we are still looking for satisfaction elsewhere. It's like flirting with the barista** rather than appreciating the ace fella at home who just did the dishes. We already have a wonderful stash of materials at home. If we didn't, we wouldn't be doing Stash Less.
Sometimes we stop appreciating the wonderful stash we have simply because we've had many of the materials for so long that we almost can't see them. And window shopping? Well that is essentially looking for a barista to flirt with because we are a bit bored. It means our head isn't in the game, and isn't thinking about our values and our long term happiness.
We want to change our relationship to purchasing over time. We want it to be about meeting a need we have, in a way that fulfills us in the long term because it sits with our values - rather than giving us a quick fix of dopamine that makes us feel great for a few seconds, or maybe a few days while we wait for the mail to arrive. Living our true values gives us true freedom.
Over time we want to shift out of desire and into creating. Creating is a wonderful place to be - it's why we got into this making gig in the first place. It fills us up and makes us feel that crackle of joy that makes us feel truly alive. We want to be using our materials to bring us joy with substance and makes our hearts sing.
So talk to me, about your purchasing habits, your window shopping and your newsletters? Do you think they affect your behaviour? What are you going to change?
As always if you are posting on any of this then please add your links in the comments.
*I have my newsletters now down to about 2 or three - this was down from about 20 in the good old days before Stash Less.
** The first (and sadly only) analogy that came to me - and now I am wondering if the reason that I thought of it was because I've used it before on this here blog? I am in no way judging barista flirting as a pastime ;) and I really need to head to bed.