I admit it; I have a stash problem. This applies to books and tea and yarn and cloth in particular, but really I may have a stash problem in general. I hang on to clothing that “might” be useful and little, pretty things that “could” go into a crafts project. In part, it’s because I hate to throw away something that could be useful or usable; I don’t like creating waste. I also hate re-buying something that I already had but got rid of because I didn’t use / wear it very often, though, I admit that events where I’m giving a uniform of “white shirt and black pants” are fewer and further between than when I was in high school and college. Actually, I think it’s been years since I’ve had that requirement, which means I’ve finally given up on my theory that I should always own black slacks, a white blouse, a black t-shirt, and a white t-shirt. In fact, some of those items were in the stuff I donated a couple of months back.
The books are their own problem. As I’ve mentioned before, I like keeping my books. I like having them around me to read / re-read at a whim, as well as just create a comforting atmosphere for myself. And my book hoarding came upon me for a reason. Obviously, I like re-reading, but I have great difficultly paying money for a book that I’ve already read. This means that it can take me years to convince myself that it’s okay to buy a used copy of a book that I really like and really want to re-read but borrowed from a friend or library the first time. There was an incident in high school where I sold my set of a series (the first four books of the Sword Dancer series by Jennifer Roberson, if you’re curious). A year or two later, I really wanted to read them but couldn’t afford to buy them again (even used) and the library had never had the full set. It made an impression on my mind, and ever since I’ve had a terrible time getting rid of books unless I’m absolutely certain I’ll never read them again. At this point, though, I’m pretty sure that once I have the time to actually sort through the boxes of books in storage, I will actually be able to get rid of more than I normally would. Not all, not even most, but more. I’m also working on a storage solution that I’ll post about some day.
Among knitters, there is the term SABLE. It stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. I am nowhere near that point. No, really, I’m not. I do have rather more yarn on hand that I really need though. Some of it was purchased for projects that I just haven’t gotten around to, yet. Some is leftovers from projects for which I bought too much yarn. There’s also a decent percentage that is single skeins of yarns that I got as gifts or bought as souvenirs of trips or LYS (Local Yarn Store) tours – souvenirs that were just too pretty not to buy. The top right picture above is most of those skeins. Lots of silk and gorgeous multi-hue colorways. And that right there explains why I haven’t used most of them. I’ve had trouble finding / deciding on projects that use only a single skein of yarn and have a stitch pattern suitable for multi-colored yarn. I don’t wear scarves or shawls (though there are so many beautiful lace shawl patterns that I wouldn’t mind doing), and I can only use so many pairs of fingerless gloves. I really should just dig in and start experimenting. I may not be at SABLE, but if I don’t get off the stick it could happen. As a side note, the picture above showing the shelf of yarn is a little sneak peek of the storage solution for my room that I mentioned above.
So, I was inspired to write this post (last week) because my office manager / friend and I went to the Kyoto Art and Antiques sale again. This is the fourth (fifth?) time I’ve gone. The first time I got four kimonos and some fabric. The second trip, I was on a mission to find a jewelry box (I got a lovely Karaki sewing box that just needs some dividers and lining – and may show up here as a project some day), but I still picked up some fabric. For the last two trips, fabric is the only thing I’ve gotten. They have some absolutely gorgeous patterns and the prices are really good. As well as full rolls (the mauve and black in the picture above), they usually also have remnants both large and small and disassembled kimonos. On the more recent excursions, I haven’t seen as many of the full rolls of kimono fabric and a lot more bundles of smaller pieces, so I’m wondering if they’re starting to run out of stock / sources. Which would probably be to my benefit, because I don’t actually have projects planned for any of this fabric. Okay, I’m thinking of making a tail vest out of the bronze / black stripe I bought this time, but I have no idea on anything else. And this isn’t the only fabric I have stashed. I have some more mundane fabric. That is mostly leftovers from projects, though there is a few yards of peacock feather brocade that I want to make into a tail coat. The fabric is mostly stored okay, though as you might guess from the last picture up there, it too is part of the storage solution project.
So, yeah, I have a stashing problem. Part of me loves the idea of the simplified life, the magic of tidying up, the capsule wardrobe, and the ability to pack everything you own (other than furniture) into your car. The rest of me likes stuff. The potential of stuff. I love to look at that bookshelf and anticipate the pleasure of reading, pet the yarn and marvel at the brilliant colors, or finger a smooth piece of silk and imagine a lovely robe made out of it. I’m sure Sister would be happy if I got rid of everything. She hates seeing clutter often says she wants to get rid of all of her / The Household’s stuff, though I don’t know if she really could. In the meantime, she tends to just shove things into drawers and cupboards (which I hate). Me, I prefer to ruthlessly organize things, but they don’t seem to stay that way. I’d like to say “a place for everything and everything in its place” but I don’t have a place for everything, so it all seems to be in every place. Thus, I have the great storage solution project and maybe I can convince myself to de-stash a little. Just a little.