Using stuff up

The massive Getting Rid Of Things task has started in earnest, as I’ve found a new home for the bread maker I never use. It’s a pretty amazing piece of kit, but it takes up basically all the working counter space I have (not an exaggeration), therefore I can rarely be bothered to clear the space for its overnight use.

Other large and rarely-used things will follow it out the door in the near future. But while I am all about paring down my belongings to the essentials, I am NOT about getting rid of my stuff that makes my flat a home. The whole de-cluttering fad is just a ridiculous way to make people feel guilty they are actually human beings who like things, be they super interesting conversation stimuli or just dumb shit they like for no reason. HELL if I’m getting rid of the neon dinosaur erasers that converse (and gather dust) atop my full-length mirror. They will follow me to every new place. No one should feel like they have to toss the things they enjoy having sitting around. Homes are made for living in; it should look like you live in yours. So I’m happy to pay storage fees on dinosaurs and nice books and miniature shopping carts.

What's the chat up there, guys?
What’s the chat up there today, guys?

That being said, the massive stash of fabric filling nearly 3 boxes in my closet was not making my home look ‘lived-in’, it was just sitting there doing nothing. Because ‘oh man, I will TOTALLY make something with this’ is a promise that rarely comes to fruition, particularly when you have about a billion project ideas floating around your brain at any one time. Then when I do open the box of things part of projects never to be, it mostly just makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. Ugh.

So when my friend Kristina said a few weeks ago that she was trying to use up her own massive fabric stash, she decided we should try to make quilts out of what we had. Neither of us had ever made a quilt. We were mostly just in awe of the super stylish one our friend Alex made for Kristina and Yann’s wedding gift. Inspiration! So we reserved this weekend for a hardcore quiltathon, during which we would bumble through it while drinking tea, eating snacks, and allowing Yann to more or less wait on us hand and foot. (Thanks, Yann!)

I think when you can make a task like ‘get rid of all my extra stuff’ into an event where you get to make stuff and listen to records and chat and have breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND AMAZING CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES made for you all weekend, it’s generally a win. I’m pretty sure I’d like to get rid of MORE stuff that way.

The other thing that’s nice about it though is not just getting rid of said stuff but consolidating it into something kind of new AND creating an inexpensive weekend-o-activity out of it at the same time (because obviously I’m also trying to save money).

I had considered keeping the quilt when I finish, but I think now I’ll give it as a gift or something. So I’m still getting rid of stuff! But in a much more designer way.

PROGRESS! This is about half sewn, half just laid out. Slightly wonky all around.
PROGRESS! This is about half sewn, half just laid out. Slightly wonky all around.

After about 14 hours of work, neither of us finished our quilts, but after one more day next weekend we should be close if not there. We did get loads done though. And it forced me, indirectly, to root through my sewing toolbox and weed out the unneeded stuff in there as well, so the consolidation is spreading slowly outward. (I had to keep that phrase even after I realised how backwards it is, because it’s probably a good indication of my brain function after staring at fabric and doing various angle and seam allowance calculations all weekend.)

Anyway, the moral of the story is, as Mary Poppins once so pleasingly put it, in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. (And also cookies if you’re lucky.)


PS: You should absolutely check out Kristina’s blog on art, fashion and tech, because she’s an amazing sewer and she’s also doing some rad machine knitting right now. AND Yann’s website, because in addition to cookies, he does all sorts of cool stuff with sound and games.

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