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15 Reasons to Build Your Stash

flickr: Luci_F

Last week I wrote a post called “15 Reasons to Bust Your Stash,” which was all about using up instead of buying more. This week I want to talk about building a stash, and the reasons why you should consider doing it!

1. Having a stash provides inspiration. Your materials will dictate the direction your project takes, and sometimes having a ready supply of stuff will help shape your project plans.

2. You will learn something about yourself by looking at the things you collect. Guess what, you like orange! I know because you have six cuts of orange fabric sitting on the shelf in your studio. And, you have a penchant for the nautical. And you like bavarian woven trims, and googly eyes. Learning these subconscious leanings can help you define your own style of crafting. Go with what you like!

3. You might never find that item again! When you’re shopping, sometimes you come across an incredible deal, or a unique item. It makes sense to buy it when you see it, lest you regret it later. Some people limit themselves to a certain quantity if they don’t have a specific purpose in mind for something, say only buying half a yard of fabric.

4. Save up some goodies for the lean times. Unless you are independently wealthy, there are times when you can’t afford to spend much, or anything, on crafting. Having a bit of a stash squirreled away means that you will always be able to craft when the mood strikes, no matter what your economic situation.

5. Because it’s okay to have some fun, in the form of buying cool supplies that you love. Just be sure that you do love them. My sister uses a term she calls “Bangkok Market Regret,” based on a time she bought some sneakers at an open-air market in Thailand in a frenzy of shopping. When she got back to the states, the sneakers looked cheapo, and not cute–something she would never wear. She just bought for the sake of buying, and not because she actually loved the shoes, and soon regretted it. Be sure to honestly assess the things you are buying for your stash, especially if you don’t have a specific plan for them.

6. It saves time. Sometimes you just want to craft. It helps to have something available immediately whenever the inspiration strikes.

7. Because you have something in mind. By all means, if you find some amber beads that are your mother’s favorite style, buy them. Just make a plan to actually use them. A specific plan, ideally with a date that you will do the crafting, or a deadline when you will be finished.

8. Because it can motivate you. Maybe you are suffering from crafter’s block. Perhaps a trip to your local craft store will provide just the boost you’ve needed to move beyond the block. If you already have something of a large stash, give yourself a price limit to work within (think Project Runway! Tim Gunn: “All right people, you have a budget of fifteen dollars!”). Actually, when buying supplies, it is always a good idea to have a budget to work with! It keeps you from buying stuff you won’t use.

9. Because you need it. You have happily been busting your stash and have worked hard to reduce the items in your storerooms, and now you need more! Perhaps one of the best reasons of all to buy more loot! You’ve been diligent in using what you have, so now you have the privilege of getting more.

10. Because you need something new to make your existing stash work. You need an 18″ zipper, a coordinating lining fabric or some matching thread. Shopping for small staple items can make you feel like you’ve gone on a shopping binge, but is more directly useful than just buying random pieces with no final plan.

11. Because you want to expand your crafting horizons. If you are going to try something new, you will most likely need some new supplies. You can’t needle felt without felting needles, right? If you have an issue with buying large amounts of stashtastic goodness, I advise two things. One, be judicious in what new crafts you embark on. Don’t start something that requires a lot of storage space and a huge cash outlay if you are already strapped for money and storage space. Two, don’t go crazy for your first project (or three). Buy just what is required to do one simple project, and reward yourself for completing that project by purchasing enough supplies for just one more project.

12. Because it’s your birthday, or your blogiversary, or you just sold your 500th item on Etsy, or you inked a book deal. There are reasons to celebrate, and instead of going out to a fancy dinner, spend that $100 on buying supplies. Or go out to a moderately nice dinner and spend the remaining $50 on supplies. Spin it however you want to your significant other!

13. Because nothing in your existing stash will do. You can’t make cloth diapers if all you have is a bunch of pipe cleaners and pom poms. Again, like with point 11, I advise purchasing a conservative amount of whatever you need to make.

14. Because you are making a gift for someone with specific tastes. My stash is full juvenile flannel prints (confessional!) but my sister is a chic urban girl whose signature color is red. I need to make a few small purchases in order to make her an appropriate Christmas gift, y’know?

15. Because you just got an economic stimulus check from the government! What else are you gonna spend that “free” money on?

Okay, so some of these reasons are extremely legit, and a few of them are thinly veiled excuses to do some retail therapy. The important thing is that you are aware of the size of your stash, and that you are mindfully adding to it instead of randomly and haphazardly buying things that you will never look at again once they hit your closet.

Thanks to Luci_F for the photo.