When I watched a couple of episodes of Hoarders, I had to look away whenever one of the hoarders said, “No, I have to keep that. I might need it,” or “Oh, I forgot I had that. I can’t throw that away.” How many times have I heard those phrases inside my own head while cleaning out drawers, shelves, or boxes? Although the show has not scared me neat, it definitely makes me pay attention to what I tell myself whenever I look at all my “stuff.”
My stuff tends to fall into two large groups: books and craft supplies. I am not a shoe collector, nor do I collect any particular collectibles (both of which my husband is very happy about). The problems I run into with the books and crafts are the niggling thoughts that someday I might read that book again, or I might want to use that 6″ piece of ribbon for a card someday. And I know why I don’t just give some of my books to, say, Goodwill or some other secondhand service. I want the next owner to care as much about that book as I did. I don’t want it to languish on a shelf or in a pile somewhere, getting old and ratty and musty. (UPDATE: I just gave away two large bags of books to the local library. Then I went out and got more books. Oh, well.)
The craft items are hard to give up because they’re pretty or they’re part of a kit I have almost finished or I had this idea of a new craft project…the list of excuses goes on and on. The main reason I have so much stuff (and such a variety) is that I love all kinds of crafts. I love to crochet (yarn, needles, books, pamphlets, more yarn, crochet thread); I love to sew by hand (thread, needles, fabric, felt, buttons buttons buttons, rickrack, ribbon); I sometimes use a sewing machine (thread, fabric, patterns, buttons buttons buttons, interfacing, trims, zippers); I used to cross stitch (floss, fabric, needles, floss, floss, books) but my eyes don’t let me enjoy that like I used to. Don’t even get me started on all the paper crafts (paper of all kinds, colors, patterns, sizes; rubber stamps; ink; colored pencils; markers; paints; embossers; scissors; punches).
The truth is, I’m really good at this stuff. And in life, it feels good to be good at something. So if I have to put up with feeling guilty for having too much just so the stuff will be there when I want to express my creativity in some crafty fashion, then I guess I need to make peace with the piles o’ supplies.
But I’ll let you know if I decide to finally have that craft-themed garage sale.