As I’ve been taking stock of my year, I have been looking at the inside and outside of the house, thinking about what’s been accomplished, what still needs work, and where I’d like to be. In going through things and taking my own mental inventory I realized that HOLY CRAP do I have a LOT of actual inventory.

Um….have I mentioned that I dont really wear jewelry?

The last few years have been rough ones, and although I’ve accomplished very little, creativity-wise, I have apparently been stockpiling for the craft-pocalypse, that dread day when all the yarns, paints, beads and baubles are “called home,” where they shall be judged and made to walk this earth no more. Well, honestly, mine never walked the earth. They sat in drawers, in boxes; basically wherever I could stuff them, and there they waited, glowering and making me feel bad about their stint in my purgatory.

My office had become a nightmare right out of Dickens. Ghosts of projects past, present and future floated about, moaning in distress as I labored under their ever heavier chains, realizing I would never really learn wood carving so I could turn Tiny Tim’s crutch into the personal statement of joie de vivre I knew he deserved. With some glitter be-dazzlement, probably, because why not?

Have I mentioned I don’t know how to draw?

Craft stores had been the Jacob Marleys of the tale, my partners in crime, whispering in my ear their promises of 40-60% off anything in the store. Think about how seductive that is: anything. Any single item available via a new coupon every single day, just begging to be turned into something spectacular…and while in the store I had no problem picking something up and imagining what dazzling thing I’d turn it into. It was only once it got home to its fellow captives that I’d forget that the hell that might’ve been…and anyway, when exactly was I going to find time to do it?

And like Scrooge I recently woke up, realizing…well, realizing quite a lot, actually. How I was sublimating my creativity by burying myself under all this stuff, stuff with great possibility, but very little probability. It had become a vicious cycle and the closest thing to hoarding I’ve experienced. I kept getting more stuff, and the stuff I got was added to the stuff I had, which it made me sad, so I’d leave and not do anything…until I got more stuff and did it all over again.

But if it’s true that the first step of fixing a problem is naming it, I’m on the road to recovery. First I contacted some crafty friends to see what they might be interested in, and then I started sorting, trying to keep a sense of humor about things, but addressing the financial tally was still a depressing eye opener. Even assuming I bought nothing at full cost, it wouldn’t have been a small number, only done in tiny increments. a couple of bucks a couple of times a week for a couple of years still equals real money.

But, still- it was great fun to be able to send a box of glittery stuff to a girlfriend who rides in Mardi Gras parades and makes amazing creations like this:

That is my old house in New Orleans. On a purse. In 100 percent glitter. Trust me, she will do FAR better things with my glitter than I ever could imagine.

 

At what point did I think Id need to draw really intricate dragons? Or learn 20 ways to fold different origami butterflies?

And still I sorted, filling two more boxes with friends with specific interests. And yet there was so much more stuff. Then I had an idea- I spoke to a teacher’s aide I work with to ask if the local school district in our impoverished city might like to have some stuff of their own.

The words were barely out of my mouth before she shouted that, yes, they’d take it- all of it. I warned her that those were famous last words, but she was undaunted. Many things were gathered, donated, and reports are they were very excitedly received, to the point of a near riot.

So progress is made, and much like sausage, it’s somewhat unpleasant to witness but a positive outcome has been taking shape. I’m not fully cured, and not sure I’d want to be. I’ll always have the creative urge, and my reach might always exceed my grasp, but some things I’m pretty good at, like chainmaille weaving. I unearthed this Mardi Gras colored dragon, for instance, and was going to give it to my niece, but hubby snatched it away, so it lives here still:

 


So the chainmaille supplies stay. The rule I committed to was that if it didn’t have a specific purpose I couldn’t keep it, but there were some things I just couldn’t quite let go of. Like this gorgeous rich blue tassel and little painted leaves. I have no idea what I’m going to do with either, but I just couldn’t drop them into the donate pile.

I’d like to think my sins and backsliding are minor, in the grand scheme of things. It took awhile to build this inventory up, but only a short time to deplete the worst of it. I’m going to add this to the ‘successes’ pile for 2017, not just for the cleanup, but for the understanding of the process.

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