Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Quest



"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or know to be beautiful"
William Morris

Many of you will have heard this quote before. It may fill you with horror or fill you with hope. Me, I'm on the hope side. The statement itself makes me feel more tranquil just reading it and it inspires me to a better state of being. And this is because I am afflicted. I am a minimalist hoarder, a systematic and random collector of wonderful things, and have a fear of missing out on something wonderful. This makes for both chaos and an empty pocket. I am forever trying to keep on top of overflowing cupboards, boxes of things in 'storage' and waste a lot of time shuffling piles around. So I am calling a moratorium.

Yes, I have consulted all those de-cluttering sites and the like, and they do have many handy hints. But at the end of the day, most of the strategies don't work for me. I don't actually live in a messy or cluttered environment as I am lucky enough to have the space that it is mostly hidden away. But really, what is the point in having cupboards full of things that I "just might use one day"? For example, about four months ago I stripped the wallpaper in my bedroom and in the process filled a washing basket with the annoying bits and pieces that were lying about in the room. In the last four months I have not so much as looked in that basket let alone missed anything that is in it, and it is overflowing! I'd be willing to bet I could fill a room with baskets of that sort now.

I've tackled this problem before in many guises. As part of a house move, as part of spring cleaning, as a charitable act sending things to a place where they are more needed and even the old, "If something comes in, something goes out." But none of these strategies have helped me kick the habit. If I continue to see this process of sorting, de-cluttering and generally unburdening myself of these possessions as a chore, it will never happen. So, just like dieting, I think the secret lies in changing my mindset. And this is where William Morris comes to the rescue. The idea of living with things neither useful nor beautiful, seems like a luxury to my mind. Perhaps that is what I need. Given that we (okay I) am always looking for ways to make life more luxurious, this could be one of those secrets of the universe that only the select have mastered.

However, all of this is not to say that I am about to become a true minimalist. While I apprecaite the aesthetic for some, for me it would be a slow and painful death. So I decree that I am to become a Well Edited Maximilist! Following Mr Morris's principle combined with the emotional escape of finding better deserving homes for things, I WILL prevail.....as soon as I return from my shopping holiday.

9 comments:

sweetleaf said...

I too find myself with lots of misc little things hiding in my house :) I have tried all kinds of routines to help with this and the best by far is ~The Fly Lady~ check it out
I love setting the timer and when I'm done -I'm DONE!
http://www.flylady.net/pages/FLYingLessons_Decluttertips.asp

http://www.flylady.net/index.asp

K.Line said...

Great quote. Worthy undertaking.

TheSundayBest said...

The latest issue of ReadyMade, as it usually does, offers more helpful tips about this than the usual fare.

floraposte said...

Hooray for maximalism! Down with minimalism! But as for clearing out; little and often is really the trick. It is less of a wrench.

Skye said...

I'm a ruthless de-clutterer but I do have to fight collecting urges too. It's hard! We are about to purge everything out of our house and put the rest in storage so I'm preparing to be brutal. It's hard when things are gifts or have some sentimental value - that's the tricky part of adhering to Mr Morris's wise dictate!

Hammie said...

Pack it all up in a box and tape it down. Put it into storage with the date on the tape. If you don't rip that tape off for six months; it goes. I learned that after moving 8 times in 4 years and finding I just didnt unpack some things, and didnt miss them. That and Boo has broken everything else. Boo is an expert declutterer, especially when it comes to waterford crystal, carriage clocks and other stuff you wouldnt choose for yourself in a million years, but you seem to own regardless.
xx

enc said...

This quest sounds like a good one for you. You'll learn a lot about yourself.

Gervy said...

I love William Morris, and that quote. Please report back on your progress soon - if you (who has the discipline to drink lemon juice in water all day)can't do it, I don't think there's a hope for me...

Rachael said...

*happy* I love William Morris, and my Dad stuck that quote on my door a few months ago - I think he was implying I needed to do a big clean out! I love the idea though, I'm trying to do this myself.