Recently, I had thrust under my nose a meme with a picture of a grandma type standing before her packed china cabinet with the caption "Some day all this will be yours" Then were was a line: "We don't want it!" The person doing the thrusting exclaimed, "We don't want your stuff!" I said, rather dryly, "Yes, I've seen that," and attempted to change the subject. The other person wasn't going to let it go. Which is ironic on a whole different level!
I've had a lot of time to consider this, and finally I wondered the following: am I supposed to get rid of the things I enjoy having around me, or enjoy using, just to satisfy someone who has never even been inside my home? Am I supposed to empty out my house and live like I'm in a hotel room just to make someone else with an obsession for minimalism happy? I have concluded that I do need to do another clean-out and have a couple of yard sales - as I have always done. However, I'm not going to worry about what someone else thinks I am supposed to do.
Last post had to do with cleaning out my stash. I am still working on that because I wanted to clear out a couple of Rubbermaid totes. I was hunting for some materials that I was pretty sure I hadn't yet discarded, and I also wanted to do a better job of storing some linens to make them more easily accessible. (If you can get at them easily, you will use them.) The result was acquiring the last of the Artbin Satchels at the fabric store (they are replacing these excellent ones with cheap Chinese plastics) and reorganizing some additional supplies and materials. I also ordered two more cubes for the satchels. This ought to do the trick. At least I hope so. The linens are happier and so am I.
Someone left a copy of The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning in our Little Free Library. I decided to read it. I learned a lot of things that would drive the meme-thruster up the wall. One is that you should clear out that which you no longer need or can fit into smaller quarters (this supposes you are downsizing), but that you absolutely should keep those things that are beautiful and make your surroundings feel like home. She advises including one's offspring in the decision-making so that something that means a lot to one or the other of them may be passed along. I don't have offspring, but I do have younger family members and friends who may have some ideas about things they hope I'll hang onto. They have been invited to be clear with me about what they'd like. (My lawyer tells me to create a trinket list, which I am doing.)
The writer advises going through the photos and papers last because those are the things that one will linger over. If the bulk of the work has been completed, then the flotsam and jetsam of pictures and such can be an ongoing task that one chips away at gradually. This makes sense to me.
I have also been thinking hard about jettisoning some of my extensive tableware collection. There are pieces I don't use anymore, and some that I have never used and likely. won't. It would be good to go through that closet and see what I can sell off. But I am going to do so with this thought: if I use something once a year for a very specific purpose, and that item would be hard to find if I unloaded my own, then it stays. My punch bowl was a gift from a very dear friend, and aside from the fact that I absolutely love it, I have used that thing for many a party. The same goes for the collection of very large silver-plate trays. Those have been carted from here to there and back again with loads of tea sandwiches, cookies and heaven only knows what delicious tidbits. I got them when the hometown jewelry store was having a retirement sale, and the prices on them dated back to the 1960s! They were deals and I use them. It's this kind of thing you cannot replace, so you better keep it. If the next generation doesn't want it, no biggie. They can put it in the estate sale!
My studio has been getting a thorough sort and toss because I need more space for bookbinding and the only way to do that is to revise the space. The space cannot be revised unless a bunch of small rolling drawer carts are no longer around. I am making decisions about what I really want to keep, and what I can give to other crafty friends. This has. been a slow process because it really does require trying to think ahead. "Could I use this for any of my binding projects? When I can no longer bind books, will I want to do any of the paper crafting projects?" Ultimately, I am having to make hard calls, but I think they will be worthwhile in the long run. Last year I took a car trunk full of paper to a friend who has one of those expensive electronic cutting/printing machines. She reports that she has enjoyed "shopping" through the haul to find different papers for projects. That makes me happy. If she recycled half of it, that would also make me happy!
We found a home for the piano, and I love having the space. But I miss having that place to put the pictures of the great nieces and nephews. I haven't found a good alternative for that. I am still trying to find a home for my dad's antique car. And we have some other large times that once they are out of here, will improve the place. But this is not the kind of thing that I am obsessing about. If I buy the ranch tomorrow, and there are things left to unload, well, so be it. The important stuff, like the paperwork, has been gone through and organized and is accessible. Everything else can go, sight unseen, if that's what they want to do.
Some of us are used to a certain amount of clutter and we actually thrive in that environment. Some of us require a sterile, controlled environment. I suspect most people fall somewhere in the middle. The thing is, don't be listening to people who have an aesthetic that is diametrically opposed to one's own. Your home is YOUR home. You have in it whatever the hell you want in it, and if those you leave behind don't want your stuff, who the hell cares? As I learned when Phillip sold off my mother-in-law's stuff, there are plenty of people out there who will want it!
The moral of the story is this: please yourself. Be happy where you are. If you need to make adjustments, then by all means do that with intention and without regrets. But don't do it just because some hyper-opinionated person declares they don't want your stuff!