I've fallen off the Stash Less wagon more times I can count, in more ways than I can count. Each time I fall, I simply try to get more aware about why, and not let wagon falling allow me to justify returning to my old ways. I remember that changing any behaviour or pattern takes practice…. and that wagon falling is not an excuse for denial of the truth of unhealthy stashing (ie. hoarding).
I got tagged in a post on instagram recently where someone mentioned that since reading Stash Less they now always buy with a project in mind…. however, sometimes, the beautiful skeins sneak their way in to her bag. Her sweet little comment was "I don't know how?". Which I totally get.
Someone else on that same instagram post stated that even when she purchases special skeins, she doesn’t stash them. Instead she uses them up, as she would rather have special finished objects, than special skeins. What a lovely thought.
Which got me to thinking why I sometimes in the past have struggled to do the same thing. And how it can still be a problem for me. That said I've got better at it, in fact one of the breakthrough moments of Stash Less was when I started using my pretty stuff rather than simply hoarding it. But this is sometimes still an issue for me, and so many of you I suspect. Using the "special".
Sometimes my attachment to the “special” fabric/yarn leading me to purchase something new, rather than using a fabric I love that would be perfect for the project at hand. A weird trick of the mind not allowing me to make the obvious choice.
What happens to me is that I fall prey to the siren song of rolling around in Opportunity Cost; the knowledge that if we use the fabric to make A, then we can’t use it to make B or C or K. And so I enter into a kind of opportunity cost paralysis where I don’t use my very favourite things, the things that would give me the most pleasure to wear…. just in case. Just in case a better idea comes along.
The land of Opportunity Cost is a beautiful place to wander around in. It is full of shiny infinite possibility, each one fully realised in our minds eye. We can see ourselves wearing X and Y and Z, and looking smashing in them. Our future selves joyous in the three different dresses we have made ourselves from our single length of our favourite fabrics.
While using opportunity cost to weigh up our different options is supremely useful, wandering round in opportunity-cost-land is just wandering around in our imagination. You see opportunity-cost-land is a trickster land, a land of distortion. We can get so tangled in the beautiful possibilities that we “decide” that we can’t choose one option - because to choose one would be to deny the others the possibility of every having a life.
Not choosing means we are left with a length of fabric on a shelf or yarn in a (plastic*) box.
Rolling around in opportunity cost is like eating popcorn. It looks like a whole bowl full of goodness but even as you eat it, you know that it never really fills you up. The choice we are making is deciding by not deciding. Denying ourselves the opportunity of getting actual nurturing and joy from a using a thing we made from a fabric/yarn we love.
In contrast, to pick option, to use our special stash, is to acknowledge the opportunity cost of making, and do it anyway. By making a choice we are giving up opportunity and possibility, and we humans don't like giving up stuff. Especially not possibility. It's one of our favourite things.
Choosing is risky - because we might not love the outcome. And it’s brave - not because we are using the fabric/yarn (because lets get real, unless it is our mothers wedding gown, it really is just yarn and just fabric) - but because we are consciously choosing to outsmart our own programming. And that often takes thought, determinations, practice and guts.
I still hold on to special skeins and special fabrics. On occasion I”ve held onto them so long I no longer love them, which is simply a ridiculous tragedy. I’ve held on to them thinking about the many and varied possible projects they would be perfect for - and in doing so have wasted my actual opportunity to love them as a object I could interact with and enjoy.
I’m going to keep practicing how I want to live, and hopefully in time will do this better.
Is this a struggle for you?