I briefly touched on the feelings I have with my stash late last year when I was organizing all of my yarn and forcing skein after skein of sock yarn into bins that are stuffed so full they can barely close. I have reached that point where enough has truly become enough for me and I can admit that I don’t need anymore yarn, but I do have a really bad case of the “gimmies” when it comes to yarn. I want this skein of sock yarn for a project and this skein has cashmere and nylon in it, but look at the colors in this skein, and of course you always need a contrasting color for scrap socks or there is that fabulously eye searing see-from-space hot pink….
The more I think about it, the more it reminds me of the scene from the Simpsons where Lisa Simpson tries to choose her guinea pig and took hours to choose the perfect one. We live in a time where we are completely spoiled for choice because we don’t have to rely on ourselves to make our own materials. Sometimes, that choice just becomes paralyzing and you fall under the I need it all trap.
There is also the Want to Do’s that I would go as far to say that most people feel. There are only so many hours in a day that we have and there are things that we “have to do” and things that we “want to do”. The trouble is that the stuff that we have or need to do take up so much time and energy that we end up putting off the stuff that we want to do. I’ve also heard this called being time-poor.
I know I fall into this trap a lot more often than I would want to admit. I get up, take a shower, eat something, go to work, come back from work, figure out what to eat, and by the time I get that all done, I’m tired enough that I get on Ravelry or Facebook just to check something. Next thing I know it is past midnight or five minutes until I have to go and get my fiance from his job. Suddenly there is no more time to work on my knitting (something that I do love to do) and I have to go to sleep so I can get back up without being groggy for the next day. Add in days to do laundry or clean the house and that is basically my daily routine.
The last thing that I would say is a major factor for me in accumulating a large stash is the problem of Perfect Planning or Over Planning. This is where you spend so much time thinking about how you are going to do your project that you receive the same amount of satisfaction thinking about your project as you do making it. So by the time you get around to making it, you are already tired of it so the materials you got for it just get put up and forgotten about.
So, what? Am I just complaining about my stash and lack of time or am I actually going to do something about it?
Instead of setting an unreasonable goal for the new year or setting myself up for failure, I want to see what my triggers are in my stash collecting habits. There has to be a reason why I have collected such a huge stash that I feel like it is just way too big at the moment. This is why I am declaring the year of 2016 the Year of Stash Less.
Of course, with all challenges and goals, I will need established guidelines. As I’ve said before, I don’t want to set myself up to fail or to have unreasonable expectations which is why I’ve decided to keep it down to five points.
- I will not buy new yarn*, but if I am working on a project and run out of a certain color that I need to finish the project, then I can buy another ball of it.
- I can buy new patterns and tools for my crafting, but I will keep a limit of $50 a month. This will encourage me to cut down on spending, but still be able to indulge in new crafting supplies if I need them. It is all about being aware.
- I will accept commission yarn into my stash without feeling guilty about the leftovers.
- I will try to use up my leftover yarn so I can completely remove yarn from my stash instead of being stuck with half-balls of yarn.
- I will hold myself accountable on the blog and tell the blog if I fall down and break one of my guidelines, but I will not feel bad about it and just try to do better in the future.
The point of this is not necessarily only to get rid of some of my stash (though that would be a pleasant side effect). It is to be more aware of my spending choices and of my crafting habits. This will be an interesting expirament to become a more aware knitter.
*The only time I will let myself buy more yarn is if I go on a big trip for a craft fair like to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. But hopefully my spending habits will have changed and I won’t want to buy everything just because I can.