Shopping At Home

I may have told y’all about this before. It’s entirely possible, since I have The World’s Worst Memory and no blog title index. But then I think, “Hey! Maybe I’m not the only one with no memory of having discussed this!” Maybe you don’t remember, either. And it being the end of the year and all, it’s kind of timely. I don’t know about everyone, but lots of people I talk to get this kind of nagging itch around the first of January–one that has nothing to do with wooly scarves or cold-ravaged cheeks. It’s about Stuff, about having too much Stuff and nowhere to put it and no way to organize it and no good way to keep track of what’s there and what’s not, of what you have plenty of vs. what you need to stock up on. People who love you have probably given you even more stuff over the winter holidays, stuff you like and appreciate but that kind of adds to the stockpile of stuff you already have. And then there are those oh-so-tempting January sales.

My husband has a suggestion he makes when we’re in the store and I suddenly realize, “Oh! I’d better get some more _____”–embroidery floss or gesso or thread or beads or whatever. He’ll say, “You should shop at home first.”


“Shopping at home” started the day I bought a bunch of something that was on sale, something I use rather a lot of and so figured it couldn’t hurt–right?–to have a little extra on hand. And got it home and was trying to find a place to store it and opened a drawer and found–whoa!–the stash of it I’d bought *last* time it was on sale. Now I have so much of it I’ll never use it up.


Think I’m being vague just to be vague? No: you could fill in the above anecdote with oh, so many thing: hundreds of skeins of DMC floss, two-plus bolts of fusible webbing, the dozen tubes of pink beads, a drawer full of cheap foam brushes. Let’s not go on, OK? So I’m thinking maybe a really good New Year’s Resolution for 2013 will be to Shop At Home more often. Not just for stuff I know is out there–the dozens of foam brushes, for instance. But also for things I might not remember (snort) or might now be able to look at in a whole new light, given that whatever project I was working on when I bought the stuff has long ago been finished (or–gack!–abandoned). If you bought a ton of glitter back when you were making ATCs, and then you moved on to something else and stashed the glitter under the bed (in, we hope, some kind of secure container and not just in baggies, where maybe the cats have discovered it in the interim) and now you’re creating clay jewelry, well. What would that clay look like with a little bit of glitter worked in? You won’t know until you try and see. And if it’s a stash of something you’re pretty sure you’ll never use, think of it as gift shopping: surely there’s someone you know who would love to have whatever you found up on the shelf behind the macrame books.


So that’s my first suggestion for 2013: shop at home. Go through drawers and closets and bins and boxes and see what’s in there. See what you have, and then think about how you might be able to incorporate it into what you’re doing now. In the process, make an inventory–either analog or digital–you can post somewhere easily available so when you’re tempted to buy two dozens rolls of hot pink duct tape, you’ll be able to check and see that you did that last year. Oh, and the year before. And, really, what are you going to do with 36 rolls of that stuff?


Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.





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2 Responses to Shopping At Home

  1. cathy ward says:

    I love this idea – to shop at home. And I know I have MANY items that have never been used. I was thinking for 2013 I need to use EVERY rubber stamp I have purchased AND NOT YET USED …. at least once. Happy New Year!!

    • Rice Freeman-Zachery says:

      Yay for you! That’s an excellent idea–I’m doing the same with the stuff in my closets~~