He said that you should have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. This was very sound advice from William Morris, a talented man and a wonderful poet; from what I have read, he could quote exquisite words of wisdom faster than I can swipe on cherry lip balm at a quick-changing traffic light.
I admire him, and others like him, who can speak meaningful words while subconsciously editing out the frilliness that some of us can't resist; it is a skill that I will probably spend my entire life merely aspiring to achieve.
Editing our homes takes us back to that wonderful quote of his; it is one of the most popular sentences in the design world, because it is so simple and true.
Now is the time of year when we start to feel the conflict of motivation and hibernation. Stuck in the confines of icy paths and nose-freezing temperatures, I really want to follow Mr. Morris' advice and declutter my cellar, but I don't want to get frost-bite in the process. Then, if I actually do it, where do I put all my stuff after I have braved the frost-bite? Will I be able to fit it into the garage? Highly unlikely, considering I almost need a waving flag and an engineering degree to maneuver my car inside.
Just thinking about it is enough to make me put my pajamas back on.
So, for now I will be content to wait for warmer weather, but when I eventually do feel inclined, and my home starts to feel more blah than beautiful, I won't go to the nearest self-help blog, I'll decide on my exit strategy first. Sounds weird, but I need to know where things are going, before I start to sort through them; believe me, there is nothing worse than going to bed at the end of the day with an empty closet and a bedroom that looks like the final hour of a really bad garage sale. It does your head in, and it is a horrible thing to wake up to.
Decluttering can be an exhausting can of worms to open, so deciding (realistically) where your clutter is going before you start, is far more motivating than sorting random things into lots of neat little piles that have nowhere to go. This is what I do before I do anything......
- If I think I will be donating items, I choose a cause that I support and believe in. If I am really organized, I will call them ahead of time to see what their requirements are.
- I buy heavy duty garbage bags almost before I even think about decluttering; this way, when I am ready to start throwing things away I can do it without hesitating.
- If I am honestly not quite ready to get rid of some things, and I don't want them cluttering up a certain room, I don't feel guilty about it, but I do decide on new (hidden) spaces to store them until I am ready to get rid of them (cellar, attic, garage etc).