Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Simple Steps...

I don't know why, but lately I keep wanting to whittle down the clutter and excess in my life more and more and more. No matter how much I simplify and discard, it doesn't seem like enough. I still have more stuff than I want to deal with, and there's much of it that I don't even like all that well, but I keep it because someone gave it to me, or "maybe I'll need it."

I sometimes think that if our house burned down and we lost everything, it wouldn't really be that horrible. I'd miss the family heirlooms and journals and photos, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. In fact, I think, in some ways, I would feel a sense of relief, with a chance to start fresh, an opportunity to simplify without getting rid of some "special" thing. (Not that I, at all, want a disaster like a fire to happen...)

And then I think, if we really were put in a position to start from scratch, how would I want to approach setting up a new home? Without a doubt, I'd want to keep everything simple and lovely and useful. I'd want a smaller scale home and yard to begin with, and then I'd want to buy quality items, waiting patiently for each new thing until we could get what we really want. I wouldn't want much around me. Lots of light and space. Coziness is important to me, but coziness doesn't require clutter. It's more about personal taste and making a place real.

I wonder if there is a way to sort of start over, to re-establish something near to that basic simplicity? Why should disaster have to strike for me to find the basic, simple, uncluttered space that so appeals to me?

"When you bring in something new, throw out something old."
(Elaine St. James in Living the Simple Life)

Which means, if I'm serious about this (and I am), when I drop by Goodwill today, I need to think hard before I buy any vintage stuff, even if I think it's fun or cute or pretty or of good quality or would really come in handy because anything I buy today means that something else in my home has to go! :-)

I've been journaling about my new project, listing my thoughts, ideas, and questions on categories such as dishes, kitchen stuff, decorations, books, clothing, cleaning systems and supplies, yard and garden supplies, technology, cars and traveling, etc. This is actually turning into quite a philosophical exercise!

I'm still thinking through all of this, but my plans and ideas are beginning to take shape, and I'll start working at this today.