Monday, February 13, 2012

Too Many THINGS, but Never Too Much LOVE

Lots to cluck about lately, but I've been so very busy that I haven't had even a spare second to think about blogging. As if our "typical" lives around here weren't hectic enough, I began the gargantuan job of de-cluttering, purging, organizing, recycling, pre-spring cleaning, redecorating, undecorating, and yes, painting the house – and I've been throwing away and giving away and re-purposing lots of STUFF.

What, your house doesn't look like this? Mine either. But shouldn't everyone have a goal?

My husband has adamantly declared NO YARD SALE – so I've held a few mini treasure sales [via Facebook] and they've been unexpectedly well-received. The attic is getting more empty by the day!

But this question remains. Where has all this STUFF come from? Granted it's all STUFF that I loved at one time or another, but geez...

I guess 25 years of marriage + two artistic, energetic children + dogs + rabbits + other weird animals like sea monkeys, butterflies, triops (look it up!), anole lizards + auctions + antiques and "finds" + social studies projects + dance recital costumes + musical instruments + clothes and shoes + sports equipment + a big house to store everything in = TOO MUCH STUFF.

Did I mention books? I've never seen so many books in my life.

I tend to be sentimental, so I have a difficult time getting rid of some objects because there are too many memories attached. And since my younger child is leaving for school next fall, I'm starting to sing the empty nest blues. But I'm also finding this purging of wretched excess to be strangely wonderful. I am absolutely loving being free of so many THINGS.

L-O-V-I-N-G it.

And with Valentine's Day swiftly approaching, what better time to ponder love?

What do you love? Do you love to de-clutter and cleanse, or are you more of a pack rat? Are there THINGS that you can't make yourself part with? Granted, I've gotten rid of a lot – but I still have a lot of THINGS, too. Unfortunately, I also still see more THINGS that I love. Every single day.

I promise you, it isn't mere materialism. Sometimes, for example, I just admire the shape of an object. It doesn't have to cost a thing. Other times, an object takes me back to a specific event or person. And at times, I am pleased and struck by the simple value of color in something.

I digress, but color evokes so much emotion. One can't mention Valentine's Day and love without thinking of what color? Red. Although red is NOT my favorite color, its impact and desire cannot be denied.

Look at this chinoiserie mirror. I can't help it. I just love it. Truly, madly, deeply. cluck! cluck! cluck!

However, my husband and I have decided that we're going to make a concerted effort to stay uncluttered. We're vowing to simplify. When one THING comes in, another THING must go out. That's our new mantra. So, no beautiful mirror – unless another beautiful object goes.

I have too many THINGS because sometimes, you know, I knew I just HAD to have it! Hey, it was the '80s! Sometimes, it was love at first sight.

Sort of like this. I could really go for this reddish-painted chest of drawers if I saw it in a shop somewhere. It would store lots of old valentines. Maybe I'm a hoarder at heart. Isn't the color divine? But where in the world would I put it? It can't come in, unless something goes out.

One of the rooms we've just painted is our kitchen; the walls are now a stimulating cross between tangerine and apricot and sunshine. No red here. And I do love the new color!

But let's stick with red and the Valentine's Day theme. Could you love these red cabinets in your kitchen, or would they be too much, day in and day out? I can't decide.

When I taught high school, my students used to lament about my red pen, telling me that I'd bled all over their papers. Red is great for correcting essays, but I realize now that it can be a little intimidating. If I taught again, I'd consider using another color. Red is still great for copy editing, though.

Look at how Paul C├ęzanne uses red here. Wow. Bells'll ring, Ting-a-ling-a-ling. That's amore. I would definitely bring this beautiful piece of art into my newly uncluttered home – that is, if I had the means. How about you?

To be sure, art is one THING that I haven't ever been able to live without. Since my son is an artist, I now love it even more. I have been unable to part with much of my children's artwork through the years.

I totally agree! Okay, here we have red again, so perhaps I like red more than I know. It's still not my favorite color, but it does have an appeal that no one can deny. Want to attract attention? Use red.

Want to make students sigh and groan? Use red. Make lovers swoon? Use red. Love, love, love these red peonies! My favorite flower ever.

I am passionate about many THINGS, but I do realize, of course, that they're just THINGS. As Michael Franti and Spearhead say, "The best things in life aren't THINGS..."

When purging my jewelry box this past week, I ran across one intriguing little THING. Something that I'll never, ever be able to part with. It doesn't sparkle or even have any red in it, but it sure did catch my eye.

Isn't that just the sweetest thing you ever saw? About a decade ago, I had given my daughter some costume jewelry to wear and/or play with, and she lost or damaged [I don't even remember what happened to it!] an earring. What I do remember is how upset she was about it. She even wrote me this little note and put it in my jewelry box.

I treasure her lovely note to this day.

I remember that I used the incident to tell her about her importance. How she was so much more important to me than THINGS. More important than any silver or gold or diamond earring or any THING I had ever owned. After all, the best things in life aren't THINGS...they're living and breathing...

In these dark times in our world and in our lives, might it not be better for us to place our focus on the simple things? Not THINGS? That's where the joy is. And that's where the real love is.

I'm getting rid of my clutter, my STUFF, but I'm keeping the simple things close – holding onto my love. This little note is a keeper, for sure.

What about you? What do you love? Happy Valentine's Day.


pve design said...

That note is worthy of a frame where you would see it every day. The freeing of clutter is so liberating.
Yes, the best things in life are free and easy!

Denise said...

So very true! Hope you're having a lovely vacation...