18 June 2011

Busting that Stash: Buy Nothing Summer

Okay, I've been thinking a lot about the abundance of crafty stuff in our home, and not just because I've recently started watching Hoarders on Netflix. Nick and I moved from a three-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom place, so there's considerably less room for all of my supplies. I did downsize quite a bit before we moved, I swear; I even gave away several giant boxes of mixed media items to an artist in Connecticut and sold most of my yarn at a huge discount to a woman who teaches disadvantaged teens who to knit. We made many, many thrift store runs before our move... and yet the boxes are still piled up.

The problem is that everything has a potential use. I'm definitely not a hoarder holding on to completely useless things, but I do, admittedly, have many more things than I am likely to find time to use. I think the problem with letting crafty things go is that a use always turns up... eventually. And frequently after I've given said item away. Sigh...

The issue is that limited space really limits my options. Not only to I need to be super organized, which ain't my strong suit, let's be honest, but I need to get rid of more stuff. If I can't part with it by making donations, then the only logical thing is to part with it by USING it. I have already make a window privacy screen and a Swiffer cover without having to buy anything, so those have been small steps to busting my stash... but I completely countered that, I suspect, by giving in to my desires and buying a bunch of washi tape. (To be fair: I have used said washi tape every day since I've bought it, so I think it's a completely justified purchase.)

So, here's the plan: I'm going to buy nothing for my art from now until September 1st. No new markers, pens, or pencils. No giant dictionaries (ask Nick & he'll tell you that me + dictionaries = obsession). No more washi tape from Pretty Tape or Happy Tape.* No pretty yarns from Darn Good Yarns. [I have been coveting this one for weeks!] No boxes full of recycled wonders from the local recycling center. {This one might be impossible, but I'll do my best!} No yard sale treasures brought home to add to the clutter.

*Full disclosure: I ordered a huge stash of washi tape just this morning. Mwuahaha!

The only exceptions I'm going to make this are:

1) I'll definitely need to buy supplies for the classes I'm teaching. These items are strictly for student use and a required for my work, so these won't count in my Buy Nothing plan. I am, however, going to work on busting my stash by using as much of my own stuff (specifically: scrapbook papers, magazines, & other collage materials) as possible.

2) I might need to make an exception to this rule for business purposes, if I sell out of lockets or something in my etsy shop. This is pretty unlikely though since I think I'm well stocked on most items right now. Still, since I have a huge art sale on September 10th, it's possible that I might need to buy supplies for prepping inventory. Generally, this includes glue dots, zinc washers, and E6000. Maybe some 20 gauge wire or necklace chain. Possibly a spool of thread. Probably I have everything I need on hand or can make do without it if I don't. I am almost out of business cards though, which aren't a craft supply anyway. Just wanted to remind myself!

3) Um, yeah, so if I find something on the side of the road and I gotta have it; it's okay to bring it home. If I do bring something home; however, I must donate or trash something from my stash immediately to make up for it. I am, however, going to avoid my favorite "curb alerts" most of the time... I will be too busy making art anyway!

That's it! Eleven weeks (!!!) of buying nothing for my art. Can I do it? To be honest: I'm not sure! But I'm sure going to do my best! I'm pretty sure I have enough crafty goodies around me that I could craft all day every day for eleven weeks without running out of potential projects! I definitely have enough supplies to make:

  • a dozen or so art journals, especially if I make a journal using recycled cardboard and whatever random paper I find in my stash. It's totally possible that with a little ingenuity, I could double this number.
  • several full-size quilts or a bunch of smaller art quilts. (unlikely, but possible)
  • two decorative styrofoam head sculptures (hey, I gave away two!)
  • 20 or so embroidery hoop wall hangings
  • 10 mixed media paintings on canvas
  • about a billion hemp bracelets
  • 300 or so optical lens pendants (seriously)
  • umpteen Scrabble tile necklaces
  • several dozen bamboo bracelets
  • 5 dozen dictionary pencils
  • 1 funky recovered couch and 2 matching pillows
  • countless zippered pouches
What should you buy less of this summer? I challenge you to bust your stash this summer, too! If you are going to join in the fun, leave me a link to your blog and I'll post it here.

If you decide to participate, feel free to grab this icon and link back to Crafty Moira.

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  1. Wow.

    Good luck dear! I'll have a go at destashing (I've already started one project), but I CANNOT promise (mostly because if I do, I'll be a liar) that I won't buy any new supplies. I already know that I need some seersucker.


  2. You know, sharing links is just enabling other people.. just saying :P

  3. I decided several months ago to not buy anything new the rest of the year.
    Glue, pens and stuff like that are allowed if I'm out of it.
    Each Monday are sewingday for me, since my fabric piles needs to be used. Don't think it will be a problem for me to carry through that decision.
    Good luck to you.

  4. Laila - I LOVE the idea of setting a day of the week to be sewing day. I, too, have piles of fabric that I haven't been using. I recently destashed 3/4s of what I had, but I still have two giant boxes full of pretty fabrics. I recently discovered the work of Susan Carlson & I really want to try out the techniques from her book, Serendipity Quilts

    Amber - I totally considered not sharing those links, but then decided it would be unfair not to reveal the sources of my favorite crafty addictions! ;)

    Evan Becky - My stash is seriously out of hand. It's like living in a really messy craft store (best one ever! haha!) I have no idea if I can resist buying new supplies for myself, but I wanted to set the challenge to see if I could make it! [My boyfriend is rightly doubtful... haha!)

  5. Love the phrase "bust my stash". At the beginning of the year, I had an intention to do the same--work with what I have to make as much as I can, and not buy any new supplies. I think I went to the store and bought stuff within two days of making this resolve on my blog. Oh well. So I know better than to make such a declaration now. But I admire your efforts, and will watch with interest!!

  6. Andria - I think what's going to make it tricky for me is that I'm going to have to go to the store to buy supplies for class! So it's not like I'll be able to completely avoid temptation. I'm hoping by making a public challenge to myself that I'll stick with it... but I really don't know if I can! That's why I'm challenging myself: to find out if I can do it. [It helps, I must note, that I'm broke right now. But when I get another big check.... watch out!]

  7. Well, good luck to you, because it's an AWESOME idea. As I stand and contemplate the tower of craft STUFF in my basement, I know that I should be doing the same. But what you said in your post is right...we really DO eventually find uses for all these things; that's why it's so hard to ever get rid of them!

  8. Girl, if you are lucky enough to have a basement, hell, ya might as well hang on to it! haha! I'm forced by a small apartment into destashing like crazy. This is a good thing for me, for sure! Since my stash is way outta hand, I figure it's time to stop thinking of potential uses and start actually using my stuff. Some of the stuff in my stash has been around for years, just waiting for me to get around to using it! I'm hoping this summer will be the one! Haha!

  9. The last time I tried to take a moratorium on shopping for scrapbook supplies, I lasted 2 weeks. But I am taking your challenge. I linked to this challenge over at my blog. Good luck to you.

  10. I'm the lucky artist in CT that was the beneficiary of part of the destashing (THANK YOU AGAIN!!) I can back her up 100% in that she got rid of a TON of stuff (all sorted nice nice into little drawers now) and a couple styrofoam heads(I'm sure I'll find a need for these LOL).

    Here's my offer -- I have a basement (oh honey, I hope you're not reading this, hee hee) that's where my work areas are. If you need to destash anything, and you're hyperventilating a little, it can come live here for a trial period. Once your sure you can live without it, it can move on...of course, I get first dibs!

    I'm not making any such crazy promise....not in prime time yard sale season (although, I've been super good so far...avoiding CL almost 100%)...

    I think just moving my area to the basement was an eye opener on just how much I really do own!

  11. Diane - Thanks for joining the challenge! I am excited to have company!
    TSH - You are so welcome and I'm happy to hear you got it all sorted! :) I just might take you up on that trial period! I'll be working on sorting this week to see what be rehomed. :) And, I know that making such a rash choice in prime yard sale season is TOUGH! Especially since I'll be driving all over the state on a lot of Saturdays. I will just have to be strong :)


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