From Where I Sit – Functional? Beautiful?

Have you caught the de-cluttering bug? The message of urging (and urgency) on television and in books and magazines is relentless. That message is at cross-purposes with the pressure to buy, buy, buy.

we’re bombarded with the benefits of purging: breathing space; a calming, zen-like setting; simplicity. we’re shamed into it by the hectoring advice of real estate agents and decorators: de-clutter to depersonalize and maximize your square footage and selling price. we’re made to feel virtuous if we finally do it, especially if we repurpose, reinvent, or recycle our castoffs.

we’re urged to do it and likewise urge others to do it. This is especially likely if we have a vested interest. We want our senior parents to do it so we won’t someday have to when illness or death forces the issue.

I want us to do it to spare our children from someday having to. As children age it becomes painfully clear who values the same stuff we do and who’s likely to fill a truck (or more) for the landfill. I don’t want our kids saying, ?What the hell did they keep this crap for??

With that in mind, with spring coming in fits and starts, with our house not made of expandable materials, I’ve been systematically going through closets and cupboards, tackling the job in bite-sized chunks.

I’ve gone through my cookbooks. Who am I kidding? I don’t really enjoy cooking. My idea of baking is making a loaf of banana bread a couple of times a year. I’ve got tried-and-true recipes and meal plans that are simple and haven’t killed anyone yet. I know people who read cookbooks like the finest fiction. Not this kid. Out they go?after Hilary looks through them, that is.

I also went through our collection of movies. I forced Greg to take the old tapes of his hockey team competing in provincials. He’s the only clutter-free person in the family. Switched at birth, perchance? I’m hoping some friends with young children still have VCR technology because we’ve got some classic Disney to give away.

There are boxes awaiting delivery to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. They contain clothing, housewares, Roy’s neckties, magazines, stitchery kits. Some stuff?usually paper?is quite simply garbage and out it goes. Why have I hung onto all the plastic pots that perennials and annuals come in? Gone. I take pleasure in using things like linens until they’re ready for the rag bag. Makes me feel like a pioneer woman.

I look around and consider the fate of objects. To continue earning their spot they must be either functional or beautiful or, hopefully, both.

Of course, de-cluttering is only one aspect of the battle. The other is reducing acquisition. In the store the question must be do I need it, will I use it, is it beautiful? Now that takes discipline, from where I sit.

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