Posts Tagged ‘decluttering’

shadow dance

I was watching the Rachel Ray show the other day, where uber Organizer, Peter Walsh, was talking to Regis Philbin about how to declutter his memorabilia room. Regis, a collector and a celebrity, is the recipient of so many awards and accolades, and had an entire room filled with wonderful memories; everything from autographed football helmets to vintage posters and designer clothing. But, for all his celebrity status, he was just like us, and his biggest fear was that Peter was going to see it as “too much stuff”, and tell him to get rid of it.

But he didn’t, because it wasn’t about value, or taking up too much space, it was about memories, and I loved seeing the relief on Regis’ face when he was told that everything could stay (but it just needed to be a little more organized). Nothing was going to be thrown away.

This was Peter’s philosophy…

I have paraphrased what he said, but Peter is right; if something is that important (or sentimental) that you want to keep it, then give it meaning, and put it away safely, or display it well, and, most importantly, have it accessible…… Be able to find it. If you can’t find it, or see it, is it really that important?

Watching the show reminded me that I will always be a sentimental clutterer, and I don’t have to force myself to live in a spartan house or get rid of things that seem too old, all I have to do is honor my memories, visit them often, and use them to feed and nourish my happiness …

Wendy E. Wrzos


Photograph from: Poems about Dance

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Well, I finally took down my Christmas Tree, and a small part of me was glad to see the house back to normal. For most people, normal means a house without a Tree is less cluttered, but for me, it means several hours of rearranging and hanging pictures, just to end up with a home that is once again filled up with stuff. I like to say that it has personality, which is kinder than having to explain why I accumulate lots of random bits and pieces.

It’s not that I don’t like minimal spaces, I do, but they just seem to work better in other people’s houses. It is lovely to help someone sift through what they have, change the way they see their home, and discover a wealth of space that they didn’t know they had. I completely understand; I will happily sort through the knick-knacks, control the growth of family portraits, and create beautiful, wide open living spaces. Just not in my own home.

No matter how much I organize what I have, I am constantly drawn to the details that make up my life; the tiny glass ladybug that a friend gave me years ago, some seaweed from a recent walk along the beach, and a piece of ribbon that someone once tied fondly around my hair. All are precious, because they remind me of people and places that I love.

I don’t know why, but I often have a need to see and touch these things, as if I worry that my mind is never quite enough. I am fascinated by words, images, and the way in which the world is composed. A jam jar of pencils will have my mind wandering into a pile of curiosity; why is each yellow so different, is it one person who thinks up the names of the colors or an entire team (and how long does it take?), should my pencils be facing up or down, what pencil should I sharpen so that I can make a cape for my Matador, am I too old to have colored pencils on my desk, and why can I never sharpen the green one to a nice point without it breaking?

At this point, you may be thinking that this is all a little crazy, but it is actually a wonderful contradiction; wanting to see and appreciate what is there, but often needing order and function in order for it to be successful. How we decide to combine life into our design is entirely up to us. The trick is in finding what works, what we need to make us happy, and unashamedly accepting that part of who we are.

Of course, I am not suggesting that filling your home with a lifetime collection of seaweed, ribbon and pencils is perhaps the best idea, but surrounding yourself with what you are truly comfortable with is always a good place to start.
If seeing too many bits and pieces scattered around makes you feel untidy and claustrophobic, then please don’t do it; enjoy the calm quiet of your home, organize what you have, and have fun storing it in drawers, cupboards and boxes. (Be secretly glad that I will always envy your restraint, and that you weren’t the one who packed the stinky seaweed inside your new pair of shoes).

But, if you are like me, and need to see the colored pencils, the seaweed and the ribbon, accept the clutter, smile at the memories, and let them be your decoration; pop them in a jam jar, sit it on your windowsill, and watch it puddle into a favorite bowl….

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com

Photograph borrowed from the talented and funny Marta Altes

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Someone asked me what was in my Junk Drawer. I told her I didn’t have one, and I could tell right away that she thought I was being a little smug; a ridiculously organized decorator, superior to the rest of the universe in her controlled lack of need to corral her chaos.  

As we chatted about the drawer that everyone has, I realized that I honestly didn’t have a junk drawer, but I had something far worse – Junk Bowls! Almost every room in my house has a decorative bowl filled with miscellaneous things that I don’t know where to put. It is my solution to the drawer, but it is round, decorative, and out for everyone to see; being open about it, doesn’t make it any less junky, I just pretend (in my mind) that it is an accessory.

So, to the person who thought I was superior in my organizing, I do hope that this makes you feel better; in fact, I probably have more junk than most people do. As I waited for my computer to warm up, I grabbed the nearest bowl (I actually have five in my house) and this is just some of what was in it:

An empty roller perfume bottle (to remind me what scent to buy next time, and, I admit, I sometimes hope that the perfume will magically reappear). A watch that doesn’t work. Lip balm that I bought for my car, but forgot to put in it. Eight earrings and three necklaces that need to be repaired. Several assorted nails and screws. An expired dog license tag. An American quarter and an English penny. A hair tie, a rubber band and a button from my jeans. A safety-pin. A ring. A necklace that a boy made for me in 1979…

The list goes on, and we all know I will probably never fix the jewelry (well, I might, someday), or put away the other things, but this is what I keep – just like everyone else.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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