Earlier this year, I decided I needed to knit more from my stash and spend less money on impulse yarn purchases. Not knitting from my stash was starting to fill me with guilt, and I was buying more and more yarn as a substitute for actually knitting. So I spent a day going through my stash, letting go of yarn I would never use, and making plans for what I kept.
One of the first things on my to-knit list was a stashbusting sweater, using up odds and ends of purple and gray yarn that had been lingering in my stash for ten years or more. Brilliant plan. I was going to be the stashbuster of the century.
Then, after just two color repeats, I started to panic. No way would there be enough purple yarn to do what I wanted. So I went to the yarn store and bought three new skeins of yarn.
Another week passed, and I started to panic again. This time, there was no way there would be enough gray. So I went back to the yarn store and bought three new skeins of gray yarn.
After finishing the body of the sweater, I knew I would need just one more skein of purple yarn to get through the sleeves.
Can you see where this story is going?
Knitting a “stashbusting” sweater led to purchasing a whole sweater’s worth of yarn. To my credit, I did use up all the original stashbusting yarn, but ended up with about the same yardage left over from all the new yarn I bought.
If there’s a moral to the story, it’s that downsizing is hard.
Whether it’s your stash, your to-do list, or the contents of your closet, it’s always hard to let go. And if you’re like me, something inevitably creeps in to take the place of whatever you tried to let go.
This is just human nature taking over. We have a natural aversion to perceived loss. If I feel like I’m losing part of my stash, my subconscious kicks into overdrive to figure out a way to replace whatever it lost. Even though I ended up with a whole sweater, my subconscious didn’t want to lose any stash. That’s how I ended up with the same amount of yarn left over as I started with.
It would be easy to blame it on human nature and totally give up on the whole downsizing crusade. And it’s totally fine if you do. But if you’re committed to downsizing because it just feels right for you, then don’t let that silly human nature get in your way. You are stronger than that.
Downsizing doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process, and it takes time, effort, and a good handle on whatever tricks your subconscious likes to play on you.
Knowing this is the key to not giving up.
Give it another shot. And another. And another.
Maybe you don’t want to conquer your stash, or your to-do list. That’s okay. Maybe you want to conquer something else, like clearing your email inbox or finally writing that book. Whatever it is, these principles still apply.
Making room for what you want to do is hard, because your subconscious doesn’t like change. It will do everything it can to hang on to what it “lost” or try to get you to replace it.
Just be aware of what’s going on. Don’t beat yourself up. We all have a subconscious that plays these games. Notice what triggers you. Know that it’s a process, and keep trying.
It’s that simple. But it’s not always easy.
Previous posts in this series:
Ravelry Project Page for the "Stashbusting" Sweater:
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