Let's get a little personal.
While I've always been a rather organized person, I've also always had a penchant for collecting things. First it was books. I'd amassed a library of 5000 books in my younger years and enjoyed them at times, for sure, but also became acutely aware, when I moved with my husband to Michigan, that they became more a burden than relief from burden. As a family of four, our space was limited and decisions were required to make the most use of our space and to feed our mental health and the health of our family, as a whole. Not only was a book-purchasing habit financially ill-advised at the time, but they drew me away from acknowledging and dealing with stress in a healthier manner. Obviously, this doesn't speak to everyone who has a library of books at their disposal, but is only a comment on my own experience with this addiction.
And I've found, over the years, that my answer to stress or guilt or grief was to feed my addiction to acquire. Yes, I donated my entire collection of books to the local library book sale and moved exclusively to borrowed, rented or electronic books. But when grief became a constant friend a few years later, I found myself acquiring things anew. This time it was tarot decks and purses and clothes and things I felt would somehow provide a fulfillment that I was otherwise missing because of the loss I'd recently experienced.
It took a long time, four years actually, to recognize the habits I'd formed and how they negatively impacted my mental and spiritual space, and to take steps to rectify the behaviors and partake in a little self love by, well, not partaking, as the case may be.
2020 Has Been A Real BITCH.
I've reduced my wardrobe, purses, tarot decks, personal items, kitchen items, only to those things I truly value, that I use or take time to appreciate daily. If it had time to collect dust, that's time I'd forgotten what worth I'd assigned to that thing in the first place. And I'm aware now, more than before, the impact that unconscious spending and acquiring has on my life and the wider world. Last year, I had more than 200 Amazon packages delivered to my home, 200 boxes and bubble wrap and packaging in landfills, 200 trips to my door. And how many of those 200 items did I truly find value in? I actually went through my 2019 Amazon orders and only 19 are items I still have or would purchase again. Wow. Talk about an eye-opening exercise!
So I've become conscious of the waste I leave behind, and the distraction from the people and things important to me. And, as a business owner, I don't want to contribute to waste and clutter and things without value. Sure, I make baubles and sell baubles and love that people wear my baubles and enjoy them. I love that people value what I offer and that I can offer something worthy of that at all. But I want to do so consciously. Purposefully. Meaningfully.
Because of that, you may notice some changes to how I run my business and offer my products. It's been a journey in itself, finding solutions to product packaging, for instance, that are entirely eco-friendly, while still embracing a minimalist home. If you run a business, you'll know what I mean.... it can over-run your living space! So I was on the hunt for packaging I could buy in bulk (thus reducing the amount of deliveries and carbon emissions) but would fit in the space allotted to it, and was 100% recyclable.
When you receive a package from me, the entire box, from the packaging tape to the label can be tossed directly in your recycle bin. Easy peasy. No mess. No guilt. And an entire year's worth of supplies fits snugly in my office nook. No more overtaking cabinets or closets in every room of the house.
But it's not just packaging. While this may not be everyone's favorite change, I am no longer accepting any custom requests for anything not currently in my available materials inventory. I am only ordering jewelry-making supplies once a year, again to reduce carbon emissions and packaging waste. If I do not have a 24" chain to substitute with the 20" chain offered, for instance, I will not be buying chain specifically to accommodate that request. While I don't typically take custom requests regardless, if I should take one and it requires materials I don't have on hand, the request will (sadly) be denied. I want to push myself (and encourage any artist out there to do the same) to use what I have before investing in more. More, in my case, is simply a distraction from creation. I call it "decision overwhelm", when I see too many things and fail to actually start a project because I can't decide what to use. It's the same reason I reduced my entire wardrobe to essentials. I no longer have to spend time deciding what to wear and can just put on what's available and get on with doing things.
And, I'm sure, during the months to come, the need for more change will make itself apparent, and I hope you'll bear with me while I continue to transition to a sustainable, minimalist and ultimately happier way of life. It continues to be a struggle, but I'm daily working towards buying consciously from people and brands I believe in, for things I truly value, and to offer those things to others in return.
Stay creative, folks (and I assure you that you can do so with less)!
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