13 September 2007
For three days, I’ve been trying to get out of the house and get some errands done, now that I’m back in town. And for three days, I’ve been so busy moving back into my house, that I never leave the driveway! But, the truck is finally un-hitched from the trailer, and Friday is the day of errands.
In the process of re-integrating my summer clothes and shoes back into our tiny little closet, I was forced to look closely at my stuff, and justify keeping all of it. I even did some online research about uncluttering, and organizing. Some of the sites out there actually have some very good, helpful suggestions. They like to tell you you don’t really need the bigger house you wish for—that all you need to do is make more space in the one you have. That’s good news for me, and I want to believe it. But, I’m pretty skeptical.
I vowed to eliminate some items and make more space for what I really care about. I tried on every top in my closet—I got rid of six. In June, just before I left, I tried on every pair of shoes. That was more successful—I got rid of over a dozen pair. (And I labelled all my boxes!) Before that, as I moved summer clothes into the closet and winter ones into the storage closet, I tried on all my pants and skirts. I got rid of a bunch of stuff then, too. But, still there’s not really enough space. What the experts in uncluttering and organizing seem not to understand is the joy of having just the right outfit for whatever the occasion. And the perfect shoes, scarf, belt, jewelry—to go with that outfit.
And it’s not just about bedroom closets. One article I read suggested that one set of dishes is plenty! It subscribed to the theory that we ought to use our beautiful dishes all the time, and enjoy them, rather than keep them for special occasions only. I agree with that. A few years ago, Kyle and I acquired a beautiful set of pottery dishes handmade by an artist friend. They are our everyday dishes, and I’m proud to use them on a fancy table, as well. But, what about the holiday china? Or the wine and cheese-themed plates? And, what about all the stuff I use only once or twice a year when I host a big party?
One writer suggested that if you have a huge collection of board games (which we do, of course!) that you should take all the pieces out of the boxes and put them in labelled zippy bags! Just label the fold of the game boards and stack them together. Keep everything in alphabetical order and voila! It’s the boxes that waste your space, he wrote. Well, duh! But, I find the thought of dissecting the games completely ridiculous! In fact, many games print their rules on the box lids! That article was a joke.
I even found one article online about organizing and controlling your “fabric stash!” I know that we fabriholics often allow our obsession for pretty fabric to take over our common sense, so I thought perhaps this article would have something to teach me. But, it was full of ridiculous statements and false assumptions about keeping and storing fabric. I was apalled. Suggestions like: “keep only the fabric and accessories you need for the projects you’re going to do in the next year.” Like I have any idea what projects I might be inspired to work on this winter, or next! Or: “put everything you’ll need for a project into a large zippy bag and label it.” Yeah, right—what happens when I want to use the same trim on two projects? Or: “get rid of all your scraps”— now there’s a wasteful statement! I make scraps count until they’re smaller than a business card! And the one that really made me mad: “there will always be new fabrics to buy, so buying now just because you see something you might someday use is a bad idea.” Grrr. I cannot believe anyone would actually put that in writing! Anybody who sews or quilts knows that the availability of fabric changes constantly. Domestic mills have been closing with lightening speed for over a decade, driving production to far-off, often third-world countries. The home-sewing industry has been shrinking for years, and with the loss of over a hundred Hancock stores this year, and even the dreaded Wal-mart stores threatening to no longer sell fabric, it gets harder and harder to find what we need. I have one dear friend who literally had to re-invent her business because the fabrics she relied on became practically impossible to find. (The mills closed, the machinery was sold and disassembled and now sits in some Mexican (?) warehouse where nobody understands the potential demand for the fabric it once created.)
I know that those of us who actually have businesses based on fabrics are a little different than the casual home-sewers, but that doesn’t make the crazy statements more accurate. If you need help organizing your personal fabric stash, let me know! I have actual suggestions based on reality!
Anyway, I’ve come to realize that I am pretty darned good at organizing. The myriads of websites and newsletters on the subject don’t have too much to tell me that I don’t already know and put into practice. I keep a good home-filing system. Our home-based businesses are contained in areas unto themselves, with filing systems that work well. I’m learning to use the GTD system which makes my desktop happier. I try to put things back where they go after use. A few years ago, I worked really hard to organize our home so that like items are stored together in logical places. I firmly believe that there should be “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” But, I still have too much stuff in an attic I rarely access (although that’s where the holiday stuff resides). I still have a small business that makes my garage bulge at the seams. I still have a thing for cool shoes, cool purses, even cool coats. (Yes, I know I live in Texas, but that will change someday!) Bottom line: I still have a sweet little house that’s just not really big enough.
I found a quote I really like: “We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” —-Albert Einstein, scientist and philosopher.
My shoes and clothes and holiday dishes and beautiful collections all make me happy! I’m enthusiastic about them. So, in a decided twist on the way many people would interpret that quote, perhaps my “comfort” level in a slightly crowded house, is less important than my enthusiasm about all my stuff!
So, today’s photo is of part of my shoe collection. It reminds me of my three friends who helped me move into this house almost fifteen years ago and who told me they were happy to help, but if I ever moved again, I’d be moving the shoes without their help!