There was an article in the New York Times a few weeks again about celebrating the art of clutter. I think it’s worth a read.
It’s no secret how much I love cleaning out stuff, organizing, and the feeling that I’m surrounded by the things I love and enjoy the most. But that also doesn’t mean that I live in a clean, organized, minimalist home either.
My house is home to myself, Q, and half-time to a 6 year old little boy. Q and I work full-time and often are still working when we walk in the door. My dining room table is more often than not covered with papers from our jobs, mail, and various other items. The pile of sewing and ironing is constantly moved around to avoid doing it. Recipes, coupons, receipts, and other random items to remember are strewn about. The box of things to sell on Craigslist lingers.
I walked down into the basement the other night and there is quite the mishmash of furniture items, house decor, and other items deemed unessential at the moment, but needs to be saved. A lot of it is from my grandmother’s house that sold this past December– it’s the stuff of memories and pieces that are too good or special to get rid of, but don’t have a spot in our home yet. Many minimalists/organizers/declutter freaks would gasp at the sight of my messy basement, especially since it’s been like that for over 6 months. And frankly, I do have moments when I look at all the stuff and just want to throw it all away. God forbid there was a fire in my house tomorrow, the stuff would be gone and the memories would remain. That doesn’t make it any easier to part with those items, but someday I will make a decision to either use it or get rid of it. I’m not there yet– I think celebrating this in-between stage of holding onto good, important things, is where we all should think about a little bit more.
Even if all that stuff remained, cluttered about the house, but it would mean that we’re spending our free time not worrying about whether every single item in our house is bringing us joy. Instead we’re together doing something joy-filled, whether it be teaching the 6 year old to play checkers or having some much needed quiet time together on the sun porch to catch up with each other. My house may be filled with items destined for trash, recycle, or donation, but it’s filled with experiences, love, and memories which far outweigh any joy having less stuff could ever bring me.
Recently, I lost my apartment in a fire, but thankfully, my things are okay, although for the last month most of them have been in storage. I’ve been saying that I feel like I’m having the wrong reaction to this fire- instead of making me realize that things aren’t important, it’s making me really appreciate my stuff. I keep thinking of a book or something that I wish I had and then remembering that it’s in storage. So I agree- I will take clutter with things that mean something to me over minimalism any day.