When I read The Happiness Project, one thing that stayed with me most was the part where Gretchen Rubin talks about “spending out”. She confesses to having a hard time using brand new things for the first time (not wanting to ruin their “pristine glory”) and tells a personal story about a bottle of perfume that sat on her grandmother’s dresser for as long as she remembered. The bottle was full when her grandmother died, most likely because her grandmother was saving it for a special occasion.
I’m a total saver. In some ways, it’s a good thing. My savings paid for our wedding and the down payment on our apartment. But in many other ways, my saving is just crazy. I save my “good outfits” (just in case some fun, unexpected plans come up) instead of wearing them to work or to run errands. I save gift cards for the perfect purchase. (We still have three gift cards from our wedding almost seven years ago.) I save the snacks I bring home from Japan. I save the “good” pens for the “right” use, as if I don’t deserve to enjoy writing out my to-do list. I save the good stationery for special occasions (which, for the record, never happen). I save scrapbook supplies because I never think I’m good enough or creative enough to use them the “right” way. I save good art in the closet because I’m afraid to mess up where/how I hang it. I save (as pictured above) fancy paper for juuuust the right project. (Full disclosure: this is just a small portion of my paper collection…the rest is in bins in the closet. Shall I take a break while you call the Hoarders people now?)
I don’t think I’m alone in my saving (hoarding). I often hear to other crafters lament that it’s hard use up their “best” supplies. I know other letter-writing lovers who talk about “hoarding” their vintage postage. I know people who have a hard time making the first pen mark in a brand new journal. I have a set of teacups that my mother received as a wedding gift that sat in its original box in her attic for thirty-nine years before she gave them to me. (A year later, I have yet to use these teacups.)
One of my goals for 2013 (and beyond) is to spend out–to use up or wear out everything I’ve been hoarding. I am going to break out the new dishcloths that my mom gave us for Christmas in 2011. (See how crazy I am?) I am going to use up my fancy papers, even if it means dreaming up reasons to use them. I am going to spend the gift card stash and wear the good clothes until they cannot be worn anymore. I am going to hang up all the art, even if it means patching a few mistakes in the walls. I am going to crack open the journal I made five years ago and fill it up with messy handwriting. I am going to use up ALL of my stationery (I’ve actually been doing well using up this lovely stuff Naoto bought me!) I am going to fearlessly use my typewriter, knowing I can easily buy more ribbon for it, and use my vintage Dymo label-maker knowing I can buy more tape for it. And…I’m going to use up my washi tape–which is by far my most-hoarded supply. I don’t want my craft stash to become the perfume bottle of my existence.
Are you a saver? Is there something you would like to use up this year? Are you a spender? Any words of wisdom for the savers?