What is a depth year?
Right, so this project/agenda/self-intervention started when I read Michael’s post on Meeple Like Us about his decision to have a Depth Year (and he was inspired by a post titled Go Deeper, Not Wider over at Raptitude). Go read both of those posts.
For me, the gist is this: enjoy the things you have, boycott the Cult of the New, stop hoarding things, get rid of things that 1) serve no purpose or 2) bring you no joy.
Don’t buy new books when you have unread books on your shelves. Read what you have. Enjoy what you have. Share what you have. Get rid of what you have no intention of reading – whether it’s because of time or interest.
Why are we participating?
We have oodles of games and books and craft supplies… Enough to keep us occupied long after we die. Seriously. Note to anyone who buys our house or our stuff after we die: we will most certainly be haunting our bookshelves, game shelves, and craft shelves because there is a substantial amount of unfinished business on those shelves. You’ve been warned.
We have SO MANY unplayed games, unread books, and unused craft supplies. We would like to play, read, and use these things. We would like our collections to be better curated. Our shelves are full, so it’s time to cull.
Our Depth Year Guidelines
Everyone has their own rules and regulations for their Depth Year, tailored to their personal goals. Our ruling guideline is:
We should not be spending money on adding to our collections; we should be using our collections. That money can instead go to savings & retirement or charity (our Extra Life event, for example).
There are some cases where additions to the collection will be allowed – those instances are listed below:
We are only tracking our tabletop gaming collection. Video games (PC/console) and mobile digital app games are not being tracked for 2019. Games are so much of our lives… We met at a game table; Greg comes from a gaming family; my undergrad degree revolved around game studies research and my professional focus is on educational gaming and I maintain a website about gaming; we run a great gaming group that gets together regularly for board games and D&D and travels to conventions together. We are fortunate enough to have the means to maintain a large collection of games that our gaming group has access to – sometimes having access to our library provides the only access some folks might have to certain games. Our collection could be better curated, though. Our game room shelves are pretty well saturated at this point. It’s time to cull and curate.
To get through our unplayed list and purge games that we (or our gaming group) have little-to-no interest in playing.
- Sales/Trades: 2 base games out, 1 base game in. (getting rid of an expansion does NOT count as 1 out)
- Conventions: 1 game purchase each (SaltCON, Geekway to the West)
- Gifts to each other: 1 game gift allowed for birthdays
Things we get from other people, things that enhance games already in the collection, etc.
- Accessories & Upgrades: dice, component upgrades, box inserts, expansions for games we’ve already played, etc.
- Gifts from other people
- Games received for preview/review purposes
- Game purchases for our Extra Life event (these do not get added to our personal collection, they are used for giveaways and raffles)
- Items won via giveaways, convention Play to Wins, convention door prizes, etc.
We are only tracking our physical book collection. Digital media (e-book, audiobook, etc.) will not be tracked in 2019 (we don’t purchase much digital book media unless it’s for school/work anyway). Our bookshelves in our home library are OVERFLOWING. Books are a huge part of our relationship — our engagement involved two books, our first several dates were outings to used bookstores… I work at a library and I’m in library school… Books are everywhere. Again, it’s time to cull and curate.
To get through our to-be-read list and purge books that we don’t like, that have no purpose on our shelves, or that we have no interest in actually reading.
- Sales/Trades: 2 books out, 1 book in
- Gifts to each other: 1 book gift allowed for our anniversary and Christmas
- Educational: books required for school or work (Rebecca is in library school, that requires the purchase of some books, though access via the public library will be used as often as possible; Greg works in software engineering and sometimes needs to get books to learn new coding languages, etc.)
- Gifts from other people
Just stop buying craft supplies. We have an entire room full of craft supplies. We do chainmaille, paper crafts, miniature painting, and laser cutting. These are all crafts we would like to continue doing. We will not add any new crafting hobbies as they are likely to sit in a draw next to our clay tools and supplies, our felting tools and supplies, etc. We don’t need NEW craft hobbies. We do need to MAKE things using the existing craft tools, supplies, knowledge, and skills that we already have. We can make some pretty damn cool stuff, so we should do that!
TO MAKE MORE THINGS. To use the supplies we have, get rid of supplies we don’t need, and declutter our craft room storage areas.
- Glowforge supplies: supplies bought must be for a specific project to be made upon supply arrival – this is a newer hobby that we want to continue; projects should be gifts or functional objects for ourselves
- Making gifts for others: we will use what we have available already, but if a project requires something we don’t have on hand, we can purchase what is needed for gift projects (within reason, we should avoid projects that require new craft hobbies, new tools, 50% new supplies, etc.) — I see this mostly being things like adhesives.
- Gifts received from other people
We’re writing this down and putting it out into the world so that it’s “official” – we are doing this. We’re joining Michael’s group on Facebook so we have a Depth Year community for support and celebration.
There’s also the added motivation of not wanting to screw this up. We’re publicly accountable now. If someone asks how things are going, I’ll want to tell them, “Very well!” And if we slip up, we’ll know we need to do better.
We can look back and say, “Hey, this is what we promised. This is why. This is important!” if we find ourselves being tempted by shiny new games and books we don’t need.
We’re going to use this website to post updates on how things are going. We’ll share craft projects we’re working on (we also want to get previous projects shared). We’ll share what we’re reading and playing. And, please, if you’re up for riding along with us, leave us comments of encouragement, share your experiences with books we’re reading and games we’re playing. If you’re also having a Depth Year in 2019, feel free to share your own progress in the comments, as well! We would love to hear from you.