I read in a book titled “Buried in Treasures : Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding” by David F. Tolin, Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee that one of the reasons crafty do-it-yourselfers tend to accumulate extra stuff is that they don’t just see the items for what they currently are. They also see the potential of said items. What might be total junk to one person, is a gold mine of crafting pleasure for someone with what I would term the “proper vision”.
So if you recognize this in yourself (which I did), you have to counter that with awareness and total authenticity. Sure, it’s a cool idea, but will I actually DO this? No judging of right or wrong, just, will I physically do it. Do I have the skill, time (or in my case patience) to really make good on whatever crafty idea popped into my head? I do okaaaay with this. Sometimes I have to pass over something 2 or 3 times before I’m truly authentic and purging it. I figure if I haven’t used something in 3 years, odds are decent I’m not that inspired by it and can move it along. I feel I’m left with a fairly healthy attitude about letting go of stuff.
I have the fortune (good or bad, I’m not sure) of living in a Eichler style home, complete with the late 1940′s miniscule closet space and (gasp!) no garage. Sometimes I just have to get rid of things because I need space for something more important. It’s hard, but it’s doable when there aren’t other options. Yes, there are storage rentals… but at what cost? When the unit costs more than the worth of the stuff in it, should you really have it?
That being said, hubbie and I did break down and get a storage space for those things that were important, but we only needed once a year. It was either that or start tripping over them in the hallways. I piggy backed on that and tossed in the painting and beading supplies I likely won’t get to in the next year. This left just enough room for all the fiber goodies I’ve accumulated over the last 6 years. I do mean “just enough”. So far so good, right? Space is tight, but there is some wiggle room.
I really, really like the idea that new, pretty things can be made from discards. It’s been dubbed “upcycling” and I’ve been fascinated by it for a couple of years now. I like that the supplies are “free” or cheap, become nicer than whatever they originally were, and are good for the earth if reused. I like that if you could make some of your own things you might not have to buy more supplies later… cloth gift bags instead of wrapping paper. Save a shopping trip for the paper. Certainly, if you sold your finished, upcycled products, any supplies you got for free or really cheap would help the bottom line. Crafting has a very slim profit margin, usually because of the large amount of labor that goes into it. Saving money and resources is good, right?
Here’s the thing… I have this pile of clothing that no longer fits my son. There are t-shirts, jeans and dress shirts in the mix. I can see some great possibilities (and those I can’t can easily be googled). Most of these things are also in good enough shape to donate, so they could be given away. But, I’ve heard through various news stories over time that too many clothes get donated and can’t all be used. Is it truly useful to donate? I don’t technically have space but I could “make” it by shoving some stuff together in odd spaces. (I know I’m not alone in this.) I might have some true space I could squeeze into (if I finish a project or two). The clothing is currently all “free” to me right in this moment. But, could this pile of clothing is maybe a teensy bit over the top? Should I keep the clothing pile for the upcycling possibilities even though space is limited, or donate? That is my quandary.