A horrible translation i’m sure of the Swedish precept that one should clear all “clutter” before one’s loved ones has to deal with the mess when you’re gone……..
My mother has been a proponent of this since long before the idea swept the trends index. She started doing this after my grandmother’s death when i was 21, a LONG time ago. (SHEESH, 40 years ago in fact.) Among other strange and wonderful accumulations, my grandmother had four sewing machines, none of which were actually ever used, eight cases of canned green beans, boxes and boxes of rags, fifteen bottles of bleach, needlework galore unfinished (none passed on, as they were crappy kits and mostly 70’s “design”) and all the other detritus that is inevitable when the collector grew up during the depression and two world wars—-that learned, desperate “don’t throw anything away, and amass whatever you can, because you don’t know when hard times will hit again.”
My mother’s house is sparely furnished, almost monastic, and i rarely send her gifts, as somehow they always come back to me…. If it has no function, it doesn’t enter her house. I’m fine with that though.
Years of no money as a single mother myself resulted in an overload of Things when i *did* have some money to spare, and then/now, as Greyman said every time we’ve moved, “the house is gaining too much weight.”
Himself and i decided we need to do the same. It’s painful in some ways, but there’s no one to pass things on to, dear Son excepted who lives a rather sparse and nomadic life himself, so if we’re not using it/don’t need it, why keep it? That “spark joy” thing, where if it doesn’t please you, get rid of it? I bet dollars to doughnuts there are little IG yummymommy’s getting rid of last week’s new skirt and buying another, but “donating” the “old” skirt to someone else, which just perpetuates the problem…..
I’ve come to realize, that especially in my studio, no one is going to want this stuff. It’s rare that even locally placed artists and crafters would take on a whole room full of someone else’s creative impulse/obsession/collections/projects buys, never mind any potential on line listings, without wanting to pick through it. A small box or two painstakingly sifted, when the leftovers add up to a good sized Uhaul does the de-clutterer no good really……. I know this for a fact: a few years back, a friend and i went to the house of man who had lost his wife, and he was trying to clear a lifetime and a whole HOUSE full of these things, and all i walked out with was this amount…. (I heard much later, that the poor guy couldn’t even give it away, and no doubt, most ended up in the landfill………)
In the last week, i’ve done three rooms: kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, and it’s funny because while i can’t see any change, i know the stuff’s not there 🙂
The bedroom is half done, and let me tell you, there are more clothes in bags than Greyman and i could ever possibly need, all from days of yore, as both of us wear limited wardrobes, by choice. My days of thinking a new dress or pair of shoes would change my life, are long long long gone. I admit, at one point i could have worn a different outfit and accessories every day for several MONTHS (all thrift store or made by self, but still…..), but now i live in two different modes: lounge pants and tshirt at home, leggings or pants and a tshirt/blouse for work, Greyman pretty much the same. We dress up maybe once a year, for his company christmas party, and it’s still a pretty casual dress up.
There’s a little back room off the laundry, that i am petrified to go into. There are large rubbermaid bins full of yardage i will never use, bags of thread and yarn that are probably too old to use (threads do age after all…), finished and unfinished projects, his college day textbooks, my sketchbooks dating back to the 90’s, things packed 10 years ago and never unpacked, boxes of rusty bits, and papers for that damned mixed media craze from 10 or more years ago, a box of old film negatives that really are not that crucial, and gawdzknowswhatelse–why do we do this??????? We never even LOOK at them anymore, never mind USE or enjoy them.
We don’t really buy things anymore. Oh, we replace a dead coffee maker, get new shoes, mitts, underwear, socks, and top up the coffee cup assortment when things get chipped or dropped, but we are no longer consumers. We don’t do birthday, anniversary or christmas gifts. I don’t go to the thrift shops once a week anymore “in case there’s something good”. We’re an advertiser’s nightmare, because we also don’t believe in “laser serum creams”, a new car every year, furniture that can’t stand up to real life with house animals, vitamins that act on a “cellular level”, trendy toys whether adult or not, body products that are Hogwash really, and 99.9% of what is advertised anywhere….. It’s not that we can’t afford them. We just don’t want them, we don’t believe the hyperbole and certainly not that they will improve our lives.
If we won the lottery, our lifestyle would still not change much. Except for that piece of 100 acres with a house and workshop/studio in the middle, all the sad animals no one else wants, and big fences all around.
So WHY do we still have all this Stuff? It’s got to go.
Ok, i had my coffee break from the death cleaning. Obligatory post photo, door valance made from naturally dyed scraps because this old house has strange air movements between the main part of the house and the laundry room.