Downsizing: The Paint-by-number Clown (and a Life-changing Giveaway!)


Things are only things.

Nope. Don’t believe it. Not for an instant.

If things are only things, why do we collect? Why do we spend hours pondering fabric for a sofa? Why do we save baby dresses? Why do we cherish Grandma’s bracelet?

But that said, we only need/have space for so many things. As the daughter of a collecting mom, who loved to bring me presents, and as the mom to grownup daughters, who left lots of stuff behind, I had to figure out how to let go of things I liked, things that brought back lovely memories, and things that have been in the family for several generations. What goes? What stays?

Bring on The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up!  Linsdley Bowen, who owns Carlisle and Linny Vintage Jewelery here in Hillsborough, first told me about this neat (pun somewhat intended) little book. As the title promises, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up changed my life. Seriously

Author Marie Kondo writes, “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

Magical Art of Tidying Up

Some of Kondo’s methods seem over the top. She gives instructions on clothing storage that made my eyes glaze over, and she believes in saving NO paper, including cards or letters.  I’m not planning on giving up Cliff’s love letters or Laura’s last Mother’s Day card, at least not anytime soon.

But I LOVE that Kondo personifies objects because I do too. That’s been part of my troubles all along. I believe at least some of my things have feelings (nutty, I know) and that makes it harder to give them away. But Kondo says if our things are stuffed in the back of a closet, they aren’t happy anymore. Send them on to a new life!

But the real magic of this book is this simple advice: “Take each item in one’s hand and ask, ‘Does this spark joy?”‘

My next downsizing project was a box of things sent by Mom ten years ago. The clown above would be a heart-wrenching decision. I created him with paint-by-number when I was seven. Mom framed him for my grandpa, who kept the clown in his apartment for the rest of his life.

I’m not deep into clown art. Couldn’t he go? Shouldn’t he go?

I studied the clown. My grandpa adored me -that undeserved, no strings attached kind of love- and so he loved my clown. Joy sparked!

The clown stays. In fact, he’s now grinning at me from my kitchen wall, where I promptly tacked him up.

Giveaway: I’ve got an extra copy of The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’m happy to share. Please enter a comment by October 30 if you’d like to win the book.

Paint by Number: Here’s a fun article and video on the history of paint-by-number kits.  They’re now considered vintage, and some collectors are after them. Who knew?

16 thoughts on “Downsizing: The Paint-by-number Clown (and a Life-changing Giveaway!)”

  1. This could not have come at a better time as I prepare for the move out of our home of 24 years. The home that we built and put in our blood, sweat, and tears. The home where we birthed and raised 2 children. The home where many of my mother’s belongings came to after her death in 2002. The home where even more of my mother’s belongings came after my brother’s death in 2010. The home with both an attic and a basement. I sure could use some help deciding what to take to our smaller home in Charlottesville, the home without an attic or a basement!


  2. The ‘knob.’
    I found the knob about 5 or 6 years ago. I remember putting it back in the drawer and saying, “Someday this may be useful.”
    I found it again this summer and I chuckled. I said to the husband, “Ya know, if the Lord should call me Home and the girls have to sort thru this junk drawer, they might come across this little knob and think, “It must have some value ~ otherwise, why would she have kept it?”
    I threw it out last month. I was afraid that they might take it somewhere to be appraised.


  3. I would love to read this book! I’m not bad at purging but I wouldn’t mind some justification for things I’ve thrown away!


  4. Please enter me in this drawing! Because if I don’t get help from a book, I’ll be asking all of my friends for time to help force me to clear out the clutter. And nobody wants that!


  5. Hiya Barbara!!! Yep, I too, have heard a lot about this book, and read many reviews. Just not sure if I’m ready to take such a big leap.I have TONS of stuff (a lot of which I’m sure I need to get rid of), just not sure if the time is here yet or not. Thanks for the chance to get the book though. It should be very thought provoking. Hope all the family is well, and you too!!! Blessed be, hugs!!! Pam


  6. The timing couldn’t be better. We’re cleaning and packing to sell our house and then, and then? Not sure where. Please enter me too, Sarah. Either way, great reminder of this book that’s making clown faces. I mean, waves.


  7. Please inter me into the drawing. I have started several times to go through things. It may help me to let some things go. It will also help our kids in the future if we went through our things early!!!


  8. I’ve heard so many good things about this book The sentimental clutter is what I always have such a difficult time parting with.


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