The Joy of Usephoria


I love using the last bit of paint in the bottle before it dries up.

Getting every stitch I can out of a ball of yarn.

Reading a book and passing it on to a friend, giving it away, taking it to a Little Free Library or to my public library to shelve or to sell.

The joy of usephoria: using things up or getting what you need from something.
Love the shirts, then make a quilt out of them when they’re no longer wearable: that’s usephoria.

There’s something really satisfying about using things up, or getting all you want or need out of them and passing them on to someone else.

My friend Jackie recently asked me if there was a word for the giddiness that comes from using something up. It sounds like something there would be a perfect untranslatable word for, from the Japanese, maybe, or the Swedish.

I couldn’t find one online or in any of the collections of odd words that I own, but my mind wrangled with it and came up with one that’s even better.

Usephoria.

The joy of usephoria: using things up or getting what you need from something.
Like euphoria, but specific to when you use things.

Do you know this feeling?

When your pen runs out of ink and you know it’s because you’ve been writing your morning pages faithfully.

When you have to buy a new notebook because your bullet journal experiment has been going so well.

When you use all the pastels, your colored pencils are nubs and you’re making all the scrap fabric projects you can find on Pinterest.

There really is a great satisfaction to be had in using things up, in the way they were meant to be used.

We aren’t supposed to hold onto things until they’re ruined. The pretty candle left too close to a window so that it melts into an ugly lump before we can burn it. The fancy ink that dries out before you can use it. The linens that get permanently creased while tucked away in the cedar chest.

This feeling is the opposite of that.

I want everyone to feel it.

Love it and Use it The joy of usephoria: using things up or getting what you need from something.

This is beyond decluttering and organization. If you love those things you keep, show that love by using them.

If you love the potential that’s there in your yarn or fabric stash, you’ll love the finished projects even more.

Even if you’re not a crafter, usephoria is for you, too.

Use the fancy soap. Drink the good wine. Use the good dishes.

What the hell are you saving it for?

I have lots to say on this subject, challenges for you to try — for us to try together. Let’s clear out the stuff we don’t love and really enjoy the rest.

Let’s get usephoric.

Do you know what I’m talking about when I talk about usephoria? Is this a feeling you get often, or would like more of in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts and your usephoria stories. I truly think this should be a movement, and I want you to join me.

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One Comment

  1. I love your word Usephoria! I’ve been decluttering, repurposing, and refinding to get my through my annual late winter early spring slump. I feel like I have MORE stuff not less after donating a box to the thrift shop because I can find and use the things I love like the good dishes.

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