I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions, because I don’t like to be boxed-in, or having to be held accountable for pre-ordained expectations. However, this year I’ve decided to push myself in a direction that I’ve been exploring (and been drawn to) for quite some time now. And that is: Simplicity!
I’ve been watching videos, reading articles, and observing the trend of people divesting themselves of useless things, things that don’t add value to their lives (or “joy,” as decluttering guru Marie Kondo purports), and I find myself totally taken by that notion.
As so well put by artist Hans Hofmann,
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
The idea of living a simple life, one that is not tied up or encumbered by
material possessions has always been intriguing to me. I’ve never had any problems getting rid of stuff, as in leaving a whole houseful of possessions behind when circumstances forced me to leave the country with whatever I could carry on a plane, more than 40 years ago.
Me and Goodwill Industries (sic.) are very well acquainted, since I go through bouts of purging closets, cupboards, and the like on a regular basis, and everything I toss ends up over there. The local used books store has also been the–should I say lucky–recipient of my literary discards more often than not.
But here’s the thing: it seems that no matter how much stuff I get rid of, I can never experience the feeling of liberation that should accompany each purging exercise; I look around me and I STILL see a lot of stuff. It’s not that I’m a hoarder or that I’ve had too much stuff to begin with, so any efforts at weeding out go unnoticed. If you were to walk into my house, you’d see a home just as well maintained and uncluttered as the next person’s (so to speak). But I’m not satisfied that I’ve done enough.
So, and here is my resolution for 2017, I will make EVERY EFFORT to do a systematic evaluation of everything I own (notice I say “I” and not “we”–as in hubby and I–he’s not completely on board with this, although he is trying, bless his heart). I will go around the house and explore every corner, every drawer, every shelf, every nook, and get rid of everything that I haven’t used or touched in the last 12 months. I will deal with items of “sentimental value” in an efficient way, such as taking photos of those items and/or only keeping a viable representation of the object itself. For instance, I have boxes and boxes full of photos and mementos of our lives past, which nobody EVER holds or looks at. So they lay dormant in a cupboard outside our bedroom (literally “outside,” on the deck!). Oh, did I mention that our current house is only 1,100 SF of livable space, not counting the basement (which is also cluttered–probably a 2018 project)? This is the house we moved into when we left Georgia, and a 1,850 SF abode. Needless to say, I didn’t purge enough before moving, so I find myself running into stuff that has been stored in the most unlikely places, such as under the bed, couch, behind dressers, living-room chairs, etc., etc.
And then there is–you guessed it!–my SEWING ROOM! Or should I say, Sewing Trailer? Because literally, that’s what it is, as described in a previous post. Not only do I have a very small space in which to work, but it is chock full of quilting notions, fabric, tools, scraps, projects in progress, books, magazines, plus sewing machines (notice the plural). I does my heart good to see all that beautiful fabric that I may never actually use (that is the nature of a fabric-holic, which I confess to be). I also love, love, love vintage sewing machines–currently I own 4–plus my beloved Bernina, and my back-up workhorse, the Bernette, itself quasi-vintage, which sews like a charm although is missing some useful features such as the needle-down control. As much as I hate clutter, I have a feeling this will be my most difficult space to clear out. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll even include it in my 2017 Resolution!
Come to think of it, I think it’s going to take me more than a year to complete this resolution.