Thursday, November 5, 2009

On Stash

A thread was recently revived on Ravelry about stashing and materialism. Someone pointed me in the direction of a post I made early in the thread over a year ago in which I stated that I didn’t really ‘stash.’ Obviously it’s safe to say that’s no longer true.

Let me say right off that I don’t feel one bit bad about my stash. It brings me inspiration and comfort. There is a reason why I have nicknamed the craft room the “Room of Happiness.”

I studied consumer culture as part of my degree so I am quite well versed in the academic theories surrounding materialism and conspicuous consumption. I won’t claim to be immune. In fact, I don’t think anyone in North America, knitter or not is immune. To a point we are all vulnerable to comparing what we have to what others have and many who make a deliberate effort not to consume conspicuously are actually practicing conspicuous non-consumption. That is, in my opinion, just another way of using your consumption, or lack thereof to define you. While conspicuous consumption may be far more prevalent in modern times than it ever was, humans have been defining themselves by their possessions for hundreds of years. We’re simply more aware of it now.

It is not wrong to have stuff. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with hanging on to stuff either so long as it isn’t causing you or others undue harm. My great-grandmother was extremely poor as a child. She married at 16 so that she wouldn’t be hungry anymore and throughout her life she filled her house with possessions. Those possessions brought her great happiness because she remembered when she had nothing. Yes, she was absolutely hoarding but her house was kept clean, her children and husband were always fed and clothed and no harm was done.

I’ve found that my stashing has highs and lows. There are times when I’m buying a lot (like Sock Summit or the great yarn acquisitions of January) and there are times when I don’t really feel a pull to buy yarn. I’ll likely continue to buy yarn and fiber. Some will be used immediately and some won’t. I’m okay with that.

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