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.”
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?