Haunted by Unfinished Business

Moving is a great time to start The 100 Thing Challenge since you have to handle most of your stuff anyhow. But it is amazing how easy it is to just move that box/bin/tote/bag (again!) without actually taking a look through it. I’ve decided to leave no container unconsidered this summer. I’m taking time each week to dig through my stuff to prep myself for My Things Challenge. It’s been fascinating, but also disconcerting. When I moved into My Summer Garden Cottage two weeks ago I began my inventory for the 100 Thing Challenge. My plan is to inventory my things, decide how many things I want to live with and make a list of them, and then to spend the next school year living with those items. As I unpacked I recorded each item as I gave it a spot in my new home. I got through the kitchen, bathroom, clothes, and books with no problem. But by the time I got to my crafts supply bin, my toolbox, and my paperwork tote I was wiped out. I was totally overwhelmed just looking at these three containers. I couldn’t muster the mental and emotional energy to deal with them. So I took a break and decided to come back to them later.

First thing Saturday morning I fortified with a good breakfast before tackling my craft bin. Sifting through and considering its contents brought up nagging questions like these: When was the last time I painted with watercolors? Do I even like the fabric I’ve brought with me in my last two moves? Will I ever have the heart to pick up #2 needles again after burning out on knitting socks two years ago? What is this thingamajig anyhow and what in the world was I going to do with it? These are tough questions for me. Especially that last one, since some of the items in my craft bin have been in there for about twenty years now! If I haven’t done anything with the thingamajig by now, chances are really good I never will get around to it. So I’m surprised it’s so hard to consider getting rid of art and craft supplies.

Some of these materials remind me of certain times in my life and projects I felt a strong compulsion to tackle once upon a time. I was inspired a couple years ago to make a wind chime out of found objects. Another time I was motivated to make a skirt from some pretty fabric a friend picked up abroad. During my international travels I have been diligent about collecting gelato spoons and ticket stubs for my scrapbooks. But I never got around to these projects so now their unused components just make me feel guilty. My interests have shifted. This summer I have my Summer Dream Job building a tiny house, which is requiring plenty of creativity. I’ve found a new art form and a new outlet for my craft.

Unfinished scrapbooks, a lonely wristwarmer with a half-completed mate, unhemmed pants all taunt me. I’m a finisher by nature. I like a sense of accomplishment and I like having things wrapped up. My craft bin doesn’t say “look at all this potential!” It says “look what you never finished!” I’m tired of being haunted by the ghosts of projects past, present, and future. So I’ve decided that I need to do one of two things between now and my next move: I either need to address this unfinished business and devote time to these projects or I need to let them go so I can focus my space, time, and energy on other projects and ideas. Some things I may come back to. Some things I may not. Either way, I hope my craft projects and I can rest in peace.