Four weeks have passed since we rolled into 2017 yet I have managed to avoid giving more than a cursory thought to my New Year's resolutions. I seem to have years like this every so often. It's a year where my sub-conscience thinks it can just sneak past the first month of the year without any honest self-assessment and therefore no doomed attempts at self-improvement. Years like this, I tend to put off thinking about making resolutions until the next New Year comes around because really, if you don't make that list by the last week of January, any momentum you might have had has probably already evaporated. So while I decide if it's too late for me, I've decided to turn my guilty conscience to my yarn stash and put it on a new diet regimen.
It's not like I haven't been attempting to get my stash under control for the last six years. (Not coincidentally, this attempt began a few years after I had discovered Ravelry and all its many paths to damnation.) I had managed to get myself to a point where I had amassed more yarn than I was ever likely to knit. As part of the effort to rein in my stash, I collected data in a spreadsheet in hopes that being faced with the undeniably cold, hard truth of numbers, I would be able to keep my yarn shopping in check. It sort of worked. For the first time in years, my stash was actually shrinking instead of growing. Victory, right? Well, maybe, not really.
I had been congratulating myself for the last few years on the fact that I had turned the ship around--I had reduced my yearly stash intake dramatically and I was consistently reducing my stash (admittedly, by relatively small amounts) every year. So why the panic now? Well, it's the rate at which I'm currently reducing my stash. Even if I were to never add another yard of yarn to my stash (a clearly preposterous notion) and I knit as fast as I could, I have two decades worth of yarn. I'm not yet so old that this exceeds my expected years left on this mortal plane, but when I consider how much I actually knit in a given year, and my current rate of yarn acquisition (reduced though it may be), my stash is, optimistically, about double that time. Odds say that I'll still be alive but that's an embarrassingly long time to be sitting on the same yarn.
Insert long pause filled with regret here.
But moping never accomplishes anything so I've been considering how I can deal with my stash problem and weighing the pros and cons of my various options. It comes down to this:
I've kind of ruled out option #1. I could probably sneak in a little more knitting into my life, but it isn't likely that I will. I have other interests and responsibilities that are not compatible with more knitting. Also, I never want to knit just to keep ahead of my stash. It really sucks the joy out of it and I knit for joy, thanks.
Option #2 has more appeal to me, but the logistics of it are a bit of a stumbling block. I haven't worked up the nerve to KonMari my life yet (as tempting as it seems at times when I'm sorting through the clutter) and there is a part of me (possibly the hoarder part of me) that recoils at the notion of all this stuff just going to landfill. But how do I find the people that will want my unused knitting stuff and will anyone want to pay the hefty Canada Post parcel rates? The more I ponder the question, the more sensible it seems to find options that keep trades local, even if that significantly diminishes the pool of potential traders and buyers. I'm hoping that the Ravelry community will be where I find that potential pool but I'll be exploring other options this year, including The Bunz Knitting Zone. (For that one, I'll have to break my current moratorium on Facebook, but for the environment and my storage space, I can make that sacrifice.)
Another question I ask myself is, can I get anything like fair value for my stuff? What's "fair" is obviously subjective and I know I cannot hope to get what I paid for my stuff. It's a loss I'll have to swallow and I can consider it just reward for poor judgement. But that said, I'm also not interested in giving decent stuff away for nothing. Not exactly. For the things that I don't think I can trade or sell easily but are absolutely usable, I plan to donate to the Textile Museum of Canada. I can't think of a more appropriate way to donate textile-related supplies. The TMC conducts multiple sales of these donations throughout the year. This helps raise funds for a worthy little museum that receives 3/4 of its funding from donations, and it reaches a population that is already primed to want this sort of thing and because the sales are so affordable, it can get good, sometimes unique, materials into the hands of crafters and artists who might not have had the means to obtain this stuff otherwise. In my mind, there is value in that.
It's time to cull the stash. It might hurt, and I may even have a few regrets, but it will be a mental and physical burden lifted off my shoulders. It might even be the stepping stone to getting the rest of my house in order once I see how freeing it is to just let go. It's also a thousand times less painful than restarting interval training.