Stash and simplicity (part two)

Moving country changes your perspective on accumulated stuff somewhat. Everything we owned was evaluated. Can we easily replace this? Do we really want to keep this? Do we want this enough to ship it given that we can only ship so much? If we want to ship it and we’ll be without it for 3 months, do we really need it anyway? We spent several days sleeping on the floor in an empty apartment after we sold the bed and shipped the good duvet. Most of our belongings were either given away or sold. We kept things that were irreplaceable, like the wedding pictures, and the computer, and the three volume complete Shakespeare dated 1926 in the front covers. And now we’ve been in our own house for five years, and the stuff does pile up… Books mostly, though there’s a lot of CDs and DVDs. Moving and shipping stuff is a trial even when it’s only essentials, so I want to keep the stuff limited. We’re not moving yet, but it will happen.

In Richard Foster’s book "Celebration of Discipline" one of the disciplines is simplicity. I’ve blogged about this before and he has a lot of good things to say. These are some of his suggestions from that chapter of the book:

Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.

Like that coveted skein of Wollmeise for instance? There’s been a feeding frenzy each time this yarn went up on the Loopy Ewe site, and for days before. Sure it’s colourful, probably nice to knit with and wear, but is it worth staying up all night hitting F5 to refresh the browser in the hopes of getting some? There is other yarn.

Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.

Spending the grocery money on yarn is a problem, and most people don’t get that far, but addictive behaviour is easy to fall into. Compulsively checking email, buying yarn just because it’s there and not because you want it or need it, it’s not good.

Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech.

"Do I really need this?" Sometimes the answer is "No." Sometimes it’s "No, but if you really want it, it’s OK." Anything that comes with a label saying "This yarn will change your life!" is probably exaggerating.

Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.

Knitting, spinning, your job, or any other time consuming activity, shouldn’t eat your life whole. Everyone needs some downtime.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a stash of yarn or fibre or whatever else. The bad thing would be addictive behaviour, and hoarding stuff just because you can. Who is in control, and why do you do what you do? Just a thought.

2 thoughts on “Stash and simplicity (part two)”

  1. Good post. I have reached the point with my stash that although I don’t have every yarn that I want I do have enough. I am keeping a wish list of yarns I want to try – but trying to keep it to company lines instead of colors so if a color is discontinued before I get to buy it I won’t be disappointed.

    I have been reading http://www.simplesavings.com.au/ and a book called ‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple: Embracing the Freedom of Living With Less’ Although they are from two different viewpoints they do say very similar things. Your posessions can own you – financially, physically and spiritually. Saying something is too nice or good to use can be a form of idolitry. Now to apply this to my life and possessions….

  2. Good stuff. I am sorta guilty of the Wollmeise thing and it is not worth being constantly connected to the computer day and night. I do have a big stash, but I don’t see it as a hindrance, although to some it could be. I do tend to not take that down time and I know that I should.

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