January Review

With the first month of my No Buy year finishing up, I thought it would be good for me to have a look at how things have been going this month. One month down, 11 to go!

No Buy:

I made it! I made it through the whole month without buying anything from my no-buy categories. I had a birthday gift to send (gifts are part of my allowed categories), and I took care of booking a flight to visit family (travel is allowed, and I didn’t want to not get a discount while it was available), but other than that, there were no other purchases outside of necessities. I feel good about making it through the month without really wanting to buy anything, and part of that has to do with doing inventories for each category, as well as my tracker for clothing and accessories. I think things will keep going like this for now, as I didn’t have anything on my wish list, and there isn’t anything that I’ve felt like I might “need” otherwise. There were a few new releases that I looked at online, but I walked away from the site knowing I didn’t need it, so nothing was purchased.

Books:

I forgot that I had a library book left to finish from December. I also tutor some students and I had to (re)read some classic titles to help them with upcoming essays. You can see where this is going, in that I likely didn’t finish reading both books that I set out to read – and you’d be correct. I was able to finish jut over half of the linguistics book, but the father of impressionism will have to wait a little while longer. I think having flexibility for this sort of thing is necessary, otherwise I’ll just be reading for the sake of completing a TBR, rather than enjoying the works as they should be.

Productivity:

I know this already about myself, but I forgot just how much more productive I am when I have my “perfect” amount of a full schedule. Granted, I’m getting a chance to express myself creatively while sticking to my goals, but I haven’t been at this level of “go” in a while. Knowing what had to get done – and things that could be pushed to later – allowed me to take on smaller bits of larger tasks throughout the month, rather than what I’d usually do, of setting out to do something big but not finishing it once I get tired. The clothing tracker is not 100% done, and I’m okay with that – I wrote in the majority of the categories I usually wear, and that matters more to me than a filled notebook where I can’t find where things are because I rushed the process.

Procrastination:

This was an interesting mix – I had some tasks that I’d hesitate to get started on, but others where I limited what I expected myself to complete, which made it easier to start. I also went back to using the 5/10/15 minute start rule (scaled up according to the task), where if after 5, 10, or 15 minutes of attempting to do the task, I still am not in the right headspace to tackle it, I stop and come back to it later. I find this most helpful when it’s for chores I like the least, as I tend to have a skewed perspective of how long something will take to complete (which I’ll talk about more in a future post).

What I will keep doing/what helped:

The biggest help? All the support I’ve had this month. IRL, my parents have been keen to check in and see how I’m doing, as well as lend an ear if I need to work through things – and my friends have been so willing to offer advice and feedback as I’ve been figuring things out. Online, my little community of other no/low-buyers sharing where they’re coming from, what their “why” is, sharing vulnerable moments – and offering support or another point of view has been so powerful to be surrounded by. Community is important to me in general, and being able to find other people in similar yet unique situations has helped keep the self-critiques to a minimum – and its hard to say I’m coming from a place of no judgement toward others and but then let the meanie voice run rampant for myself. So, thank you for the comments about how much something has hit home from my writing, to the dm check-ins, and anyone who has reached out in other ways – it has made a world of difference 🙂

What I will do differently in the future:

This month felt a bit like getting into university: a commitment to a long-term goal that has a fixed but flexible path to follow, with a lot of optional stuff on the side that I don’t have to do, but I sure tried to. While there’s no “wrong” way to approach a no/low-buy challenge, I do have a tendency to try to do more than there are hours in a day or I have energy for. Part of it has to do with the skewed time perspective, another deals with how competitive I am (in the sense that if I say I’ll do 10 more entries in the clothing tracker before bed, I would push and make it to 15 just to say that I could), and another part is pure curiosity for trying out different things. I think for February, I’ll focus on my planned content, as well as leave myself wiggle room for new ideas as they come up.

Later this week, I’ll go into detail about what exactly my February focus will be – as well as dropping some new printables for you on Saturday. Thanks for reading!

Using What I’ve Got: Yarn

I thought I was going to be able to open this blog post dramatically with a claim that I have amassed and used the equivalent metre-age (yardage) as a percent of the distance to the Moon. Thankfully, however, my yarn stash total – used and unused – works out to just under 26 km/16.2 mi. Who would have thought that taking a step back and assessing how much I have makes the volume of it less daunting? I’ve just frogged/unraveled a blanket, have left over yarn from gifts I made, as well as abandoned-projects-that-are-more-technical-than-my-skill-level yarn – so, I’m certainly not lacking craft materials.

The gap between my desire to make something and my skill level has only been the cause of over-buying yarn once. The remaining 23 km of yarn comes from either left over yarn from completed projects (I’m not great at estimating how much yarn is needed for something I’m making without a pattern), or from the idea of a project and the mixed feeling of “I want to have enough to make what I want, when I want” and “if I don’t have enough, I can’t make the piece.” Oh, and I’m a sucker for marketing when things are in my favourite colourways.

Most of my yarn, clothing, jewellery, home decor, and cookware fit at least one of these colours

Yarn, and other craft supplies, is one of the no-buy categories for the year – and I am planning to use it for various projects (maybe I’ll get a jump start on making for the holiday season this year). Crocheting is one of my hobbies that I can do on autopilot once I’ve figured out what type of stitch or pattern of stitches I’m using, so I like to pair it with listening to a podcast or catching up on my “Watch Later” playlist on YouTube. Or, if I’m feeling spicy, I can be alone with just my thoughts and not have any media on while crafting. For reference’s sake for project size, I’ve made both scrunchies and blankets, which are equally rewarding to me.

I have no desire to monetize this hobby. Frankly, dealing with the post office is about 30% of the reason I don’t want to, but the other part is the “quiet” that I have when I’m working away at any project. If something is for myself, it’s allowed to be imperfect and wonky. If it’s a gift, I’ll make a bit more of an effort or go over a line of stitches twice if necessary. In essence, I’m genuinely doing it for the fun of it and my brain is happy to see a physical representation of my efforts (as opposed to the majority of my work being digital or otherwise abstract). I don’t feel that I need to maximize my skill level, compete with anyone else (whether for sales or complexity of projects), or be perfect (crochet is great for this: messed up a stitch? Undo it and start again).

What I do desire, however, is to be able to minimize the stash of yarn. I find that when I have many projects going at once regardless of medium, I pick up new projects but never finish them. I tend to slow down when the stash is smaller, actually completing the projects I’ve started. I think two projects – one short-term, one long-term – is reasonable to have going at the same time, but more than that is unmanageable for me.

My major take away would be that slowing down and being more intentional would also be beneficial to my personal/for fun projects. Oh, and also remembering to make things for myself as well, not just as gifts.

Like this headband, made for me by me 🙂

What’s coming up next:

Next week will start off with looking at the rest of my categories for inventories, as well as the products that I’m looking to finish up using. Thanks for reading!