“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”During a Recession, it might seem counter-intuitive to get rid of Stuff. Stuff with a capital S. During Lent we've decided to limit what comes in and what stays in our house. One of the firsts posts I wrote was about declaring hobby bankruptcy. I finally, FINALLY followed through--I gave away almost all of my hobby supplies. I kept my knitting needles (I'm still knitting) and my sewing machine (I have one project to finish). Other than that, I filled up a stranger from Freecycle's Prius with unused (and, in some cases, unopened) craft supplies.
- William Morris
It was a little sad for me, but it was cathartic. It was cathartic to admit that I'll probably never crochet again, mostly because I hate doing it. And I'll never do calligraphy--not because I think it's boring, but because, if I'm ever in a position, I'd much rather pay someone to do a master job at it rather than try to do a half-assed job of it myself. I'm never going to bake polymer clay because I hate the way it smells. I'm never going to pursue drawing. And I'm never going to do anything with a pound of unfinished wool.
All of that might seem like a huge downer, but it's not. I decided that I love to knit. I've been knitting pretty much everyday for the last six weeks, and I'm not tired of it. I made not one, but TWO whole pairs of socks, and I'm working on my third. Getting rid of all that other Stuff means that I don't have to feel guilty for not using it. No more "unfinished" projects. Enough is enough.
Decluttering with intention has brought me a lot of clarity. I know what I like and what I don't. I know what I want my house to look like, and more importantly, what I want it to feel like. I want to be able to have guests over at any time without having to worry whether the house is clean enough for them. I want to know where the bills are so they will be paid on time. I want to know what's in the pantry so I can buy what I actually need from the grocery store and not inexplicably end up with 4 pounds of butter in my fridge. I'm getting there. It's slow-going, but it's happening.
I had a HUGE wake-up call earlier this week. My in-laws are having the inside of their house painted, and they called us over to move the furniture away from the walls. I knew they had a lot of stuff for just two people, but it's very apparent when you have to pick it up and heave it to the center of the room. Some of this stuff, I'm positive, hasn't even been touched in over a year. Why have that? I don't want my house to look that way. It's not like they're compulsive hoarders or anything--not in the least. But Stuff just accumulates. Someone gave it to you, so you have to keep it. Or you spend good money on it, dammit, so you have to keep it, even though you have no intention of using it. Or it's on the bookshelf, so you have to read it, even though you hate Victorian literature (ahem).
I'll have you know that I only kept 5 skeins of yarn.