So back when I was still skating, our club decided to do a fundraiser where we worked to sell drinks at a major sporting event. We were outdoors in 110 degree heat, selling soft drinks and other beverages to the parched sports fans entering the arena, and we worked for a good 14 hours that day. I can’t tell you how many Gatorades and sodas I sold, but it was a lot.
In hindsight, it wasn’t that great of a fundraiser; once the money was split we all made much below minimum wage for our efforts and I ended up with the most horrendous sunburn. But more importantly to this discussion, it also completely killed my ability to view Gatorade as a consumable beverage. Before that day, while Gatorade wasn’t really a favorite drink of mine, I had definitely consumed with some level of regularity, at least when compared to other sugary drinks, which I had given up completely around the age of 13 or so. But after this day of treating the bottles not as a consumable item but just as a commodity, I couldn’t ever bring myself to look at them quite the same way again. I expect this happens to anyone involved in retail services – at a certain point you just have to deal with so much inventory of a thing that it loses all meaning as to what it is and becomes just another thing that you need to push through the sales line. At a certain level, the quantity overwhelms any other ideas attached to the item and it becomes somewhat meaningless.
So, why am I telling this story? Well, I think this mental shift is sort of happening towards my stash. My stash for so long has been serving a dual purpose – it’s nearly half fabrics that I had bought for my own garments and personal sewing projects, and half fabrics that I had bought for skating costume projects, both for me and for others. This has resulted in my having a lot of fabrics. SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy) doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’ve recently been sorting through my fabric stash and the more I go through it, the more I’m realizing that I’m experiencing something akin to The Gatorade Effect.
It’s challenging because it really feels like it is both a creative block and a weight on the back of my mind. I mean, looking back I can understand how I acquired such a stash, and there are certainly fabrics that I do want to keep (and projects I still want to make!), but there is so much that I just feel overwhelmed and stuck in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Truly, the amount of fabric that I have is beyond ridiculous. I know Marie Kondo would tell me to thank it and dump it, but it feels incredibly wasteful (and not at all environmentally friendly) to just toss it all.
Regardless, I’m definitely at a point in my life where I need to downsize, (not just in fabric but in everything, really) but I’m really struggling to figure out the best way to go about it. I don’t currently have the time to put it all on Etsy and sell it off piecemeal, nor have I been able to find a good destash option in my local area. I’ll keep looking for somewhere that will be a good option for giving it a new home, but there is entirely too much of it to just dump it all at a charity shop (nor would they probably want the large amount of specialty stretch lycra fabrics I’m looking to offload). I’ve listened to several podcasts, and Instagram-stalked several de-stash accounts for ideas, but nothing quite seems like the right option at this point.
I guess I’m just tired of being surrounded by things that, as Marie Kondo would say, no longer spark joy. I’m going through so many fabrics in my stash and I’m realizing that, in a sense, I’ve outgrown many of them. I listened to an interesting YouTube video that talked about The Taste Gap, which I’m sort of starting to realize may explain much of the state of my stash. My tastes have changed over time, and I really need to figure out which projects are still worth my time and effort, and which would really just leave me disappointed having spent time and effort on a garment that would have better fit my taste levels (and budget and lifestyle) from 5-10 years ago. While sparking joy is all well and good, and while I can definitely use my experience to help me figure out which fabrics would be worth saving for future endeavors, it’s a bit difficult when there is so much that it all just starts to feel like bottles of Gatorade.
I’d be curious to hear your ideas in the comments. Have you ever experienced something akin to The Gatorade Effect? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your stash? Does it also affect your creativity or ability to move forward? How did you deal with it? Do you have a reliable place for destashing? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!