stashing and minimalism and whatever else is trendy passing me by

The Next Big Thing is minimalism. Have you noticed this?  It seems like you can't swing a knitting needle without hitting a blog or website with the writer paring down or at least pledging to reduce, reuse, simplify, and generally rid him/herself of All The Excess. There's Marie Kondo's book (I haven't read it), people are moving into tiny houses, there are workbooks you can download to help you curate (yes, curate!) your wardrobe, and even the latest issue of Twist Collective, after presenting us with dozens of gorgeous patterns (I'd like to knit THEM ALL, please?) prints an article about how to minimalize your craft stash...hard to reconcile the two, really.

I get why this is happening. We've indulged ourselves in acquiring too much, we're sick of mass-produced crap that falls apart, we're becoming more aware of deplorable factory conditions in developing countries that make said mass-produced crap and we'd like to avoid buying it (easier said than done, alas), we're seeing the impact of our lifestyles on the environment. Not only that, we're still climbing out of a recession that made paying for the basics - food, shelter, clothing - a challenge for a lot of families, so we reprioritizing our spending and paring down out of necessity and learning to enjoy more with less.

I'm on board. Sort of. Sometimes I wish I could get rid of 75% of the stuff in my house so there would be less to clean up and trip over and fret about. But I also have two kids and a handful of creative hobbies, so it's not going to happen.

I've been knitting a long time and stashing for over a decade, so I have a lot of yarn, plain and simple. I also have a pretty good sized fabric stash that never gets smaller because I never seem to find the time to sew. (Though clearly, I find time to blog and fart around online, so I can't really claim that I don't have the time.) And let's not forget the large pile of felted sweaters from the thrift store waiting to be cut apart and sewed up into blankets and pillows and mittens and pincushions and potholders and coasters and softies. I have a tidy little box or two of embroidery supplies now too.

It's not that I'm not mindful about what I have and what I've acquired, but I know I'll never be able to embrace minimalism. I like having a wealth of supplies at my fingertips. I love being able to root around in the basement with the kids when they get the urge to make something and we have the supplies all handy right there and it's not all rare and precious. There is plenty to use and mess up and try again.

I know I have more than I need. Our house is pretty small and my yarn and fabric takes up more space than it ought. I would like my overall stash to shrink in volume. However, there's something about the current minimalist trend that strikes me as having too many moral implications, like having only 5 shirts in your closet makes you better than me because I have at least 15 t-shirts from Target in my drawer and I obviously don't need all of them, nor did I take a proper amount of time deciding just how those shirts fit into my lifestyle and fashion sense. (The one with foxes cavorting around it is cute and I needed another long-sleeved undershirt, so I just bought it. Done!) Doing things like filling out wardrobe workbooks and counting your shoes and logging yardage of yarn knitted up into a spreadsheet still feels like an awful lot of time spent thinking about your stuff.

Me? I'd rather use my stuff and enjoy it.

Of course, a lot of people are simply being more frugal and mindful (I know I use that word a little too often, but it's appropriate) about buying habits. But it seems to me that there are an awful lot of bloggers making Rules for themselves and committing to Challenges, and those are the kinds of things that make me run the other way. I've tried it. I tried committing to No More Yarn Buying and it just made me think all the time about buying yarn and as a consequence, I probably ended up with more than if I'd just left it alone.

Minimalist challenges are more opportunities to fail, is what I'm saying. At least, that's how it goes for me. I suppose everyone works differently, and if setting rules and committing publicly on a blog will help someone get her stash under control, she should go for it.

What about you? Where do you stand on the whole minimalism thing?

Oh, and I finished one project (will share later this week) and started another. All from stash yarn, so yay me!


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