Our brains and minds and lives are full of stuff we don’t need. The world is full of information and stuff. Clutter. Does it do us any good? Is it comforting? I have been able to trim things down and get rid of things that I felt held no sentimental value. But what is considered to be clutter to some may be someone else’s whole life. I’ve watched the show Hoarders, and am glad I am not attached to paper bags and broken pencils, but I’m sure some people wonder why I have some of the things I have! Now that I’ve said that, I am in no way a hoarder! I do know a few people who I feel may have a problem with “collecting,” but that’s not me. Getting through my house is very easy!
At one point in my life, I had a 2800 square foot Victorian home, built in 1886, with beautiful woodwork, leaded and stained glass windows, pocket doors, tall ceilings, etc. It was full of big furniture, and since I had three children living with me at the time, it was also full of toys and games. I wouldn’t trade those memories of my children for anything, but I never want to have a big house, or that much stuff, ever again. I’ve downsized, and de-cluttered, and now live in a smaller (1700 sq. ft.) home. It’s a “cookie cutter” home, but we’ve made it ours with our unusual style of decorating and things that mean a lot to us. From where I sit right now, I see the American flag from my father’s memorial service, that belongs to my son. I also see the American flag that flew at my grandparents’ home in China in the 1930’s. Things like that are priceless because they can never be replaced, holding so much sentiment. I also see a cabinet with some of my old toys and dolls, and some of my grandmother’s and mother’s dolls. Again….most of those things can’t be replaced. They are worth nothing to anyone else. There’s the piggy bank my Grandpa Penry gave me when I was 4…..and my Grannie Slater’s salt and pepper shakers…..my first Barbie…..my Raggedy Ann……a few old Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars…….I have very specific memories of most of these things. They’re put away nicely and neatly in my cabinet……..not worth much monetarily, but they mean a lot to me. Over in the corner is my Grannie’s chair that used to sit in her dining room, next to her telephone…..I can see her sitting there, talking to various relatives or neighbors…..I also remember standing on it to call my sister to help me with a mouse when I was at Grannie’s alone (she didn’t help me…..something about not wanting to drive all the way across town to pick up a dead mouse! Sheesh!). Family. History. There are pictures everywhere……the kids, our parents, grandparents, places we’ve visited, the park where we were married in New Orleans……there can never be too many pictures! We also have a ton of books….I’ve had to clear out a few of those too, but many belonged to our parents, my grandparents, and even great grandparents. Some are treasures from places we’ve lived or visited…..more memories.
These things are not clutter to us. They are our lives, our loves. I don’t need the latest gadgets in the kitchen, my furniture is old (and comfy), I have some older pieces of furniture that belonged to my parents, that I’ve painted or refinished. Our cars are not new (and not paid for!), but we have our little treasures. Al’s collection of African masks in the hallway, along with the wall of family photos, remind us each day how diverse and eclectic our tastes are. But they represent us, and who and what we love.
Our home will never look like a designer showcase home. I wouldn’t want it to. I watch the home decorating/renovating shows, and get a few ideas, but I would never want our home to look like everyone else’s. While Pinterest is interesting, and has some really pretty decorating ideas, those ideas will look like everyone else’s house. I’m sure people come into our house and wonder what in the world they have stepped into…..but they can never come away from our house saying it’s boring!
Having a home like this also reflects our personalities. Have you ever been in a home that is stark and boring with no character? Nothing personal? To me, this usually indicates a boring personality too! What do you like? Where have you been? Where do you come from? Do you love your family? Your friends? Your life? My husband and I definitely have unique personalities! We love to have fun, travel, and make new memories. We are building our life together, and bringing our happy times from the past along for the ride. The places we’ve lived and have visited….the people we’ve met, and have loved…..have made us who we are today. Why wouldn’t we want our home to reflect that? Why shouldn’t our home be uniquely ours? We are unique. Our story is unique. Our home is our sanctuary, and where we share our life together. It’s us. But stuff isn’t what makes us happy. We have all we need. If we lost it all tomorrow, but still had our health and each other, we could still be happy. Some people never learn this. They just want more stuff.
Make your home yours. Your “clutter” is unique to you. And if it’s in your heart, or part of who you are, is it really clutter? Or is it really you? It may be just stuff to some, but don’t let anyone tell you that it holds no value if it’s part of you. If it is comforting to you, and if it holds memories or sentimental value to you, then be proud of it. Enjoy your “clutter” if you love it!