A Word for the Year: Usephoria

My actual word for the year is calibrate, but one meaning of calibrate (to me, anyway) is to make things a little bit better, and that’s exactly what usephoria is about.

What is Usephoria?

Usephoria is a word I made up a few years ago and I defined it like this:

The joyful feeling derived from using something up or getting everything you need from something.

— Me, defining usephoria

It’s sort of a play on the word “euphoria,” and has to do with that sense of satisfaction you get when you use all the paint before it dries out, or make something completely out of your stash.

It doesn’t have to do just with crafting or making, unless you mean in the more general way of crafting a life that looks the way you want it. It can be a philosophy for decluttering, cleaning and using what you have in all aspects of your life.

What Usephoria Looks Like

Usephoria is kind of the overarching idea behind Minimalist Crafter, and really what I want my life to look like.

It means that I love the things that I have. (And I only have things that I love.)

It means I use the things that I have, because I love them. (No holding on to “the good stuff” because “it’s too nice to use.”)

It means the things I don’t love and don’t use (or that I’m finished with) I find a way to pass on to someone else or dispose of properly.

How it Works in Real Life

You can start with something easy like recycling plastic bags.

If you’re like us, your household has probably collected a lot of plastic shopping bags over the past few years. (We were pretty good about using cloth bags before covid, and I’d actually just made a dress out of plastic bags so we were almost out of our stash. But now we have a 20-gallon trash can full of them.)

Or go through your craft books and take a few you know you’ll never make anything out of to your local Little Free Library.

Use something nice you’ve been holding onto, whether it’s a craft supply, those placemats you got for your wedding you’re afraid to use (just me?), a “fancy” bar of soap or bottle of shampoo.

Enjoy it. Relish it. Remember how good it feels to use the stuff you like. Life doesn’t get fancier than this, so use it now.

Usephoria Challenges

If you want to give usephoria a try in your life, here are a few more ideas to get you started:

  • Clean out you T-shirt drawer. Donate things that other people could use, turn the rest into rags or make T-shirt yarn out of them (only keep them if you will actually do this and use the resulting yarn when it’s done).
  • Use an art supply you’ve been hanging onto. Bonus points if it’s for a craft you’ve never done before.
  • Start a scrap project with stash — this can be yarn, fabric, paper, whatever little bits you have lying around to use “someday.”
  • Clean out the pantry and cook something you find.
  • Go through your old magazines. If you really do make collages, you can keep some pages (or if they are craft magazines, you can keep patterns you honestly intend to make). Otherwise the vast majority of it should be recycled.
  • Clean out your trove of your kids’ art projects. Get them to help if you can. They are not going to want all of it when they are older, so enjoy looking through it, keep what’s really precious and let go of the rest.
  • Use all the shipping boxes that come into your house to hold donations.
  • Clean out your stash of cloth shopping bags and fill the discards with donations.

You get the idea.

Usephoria is an approach to decluttering and using things that is meant to make us feel good, to appreciate what we have and not feel guilt about getting rid of anything (or how long we’ve held onto things we were one enthusiastic about).

I feel like this goes really well with my approach to decluttering craft supplies because the intent is to keep the things you really love and want to use and happily release the rest.

Does this sound like your approach or something you want to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Image by L Gould from Pixabay.

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