Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Decluttering

I'm pressing pause in the development of my current Core Values patch to tell a side story.

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Earlier this year, I went through an internal tug-of-war with decisions related to clearing my house of items I no longer need or use, often feeling emotional pangs that were at odds with practical wishes to lighten the load and make space. What to do with the aerial photo of our house that I purchased for Dave 27 years ago, the 1000s of Lego pieces, the archives of a former entrepreneurial business of mine, the delightful lid to the now-broken-and-long-gone sugar bowl that was part of our wedding china?

Concurrent with my decluttering, I happened to be reading the historical novel This Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick about an extended family that sets out on the Oregon Trail during westward expansion in the United States in the 1800s to travel roughly 2000 miles in covered wagons pulled by oxen. I was particularly attentive to the many decisions this family has to make.

While loading their wagons before departure: What to bring? What to leave behind? Far along the trail, with scarce food and declining strength in both humans and animals, and miles and mountains yet to traverse: What to continue conveying? What to leave beside the trail? Something as small as a Bible, or smaller, might need to be discarded because the cumulative weight of even thimbles and sentimentally-cherished letter openers exceeds the ability to transport.

This story comes to mind again as one of my friends prepares to put her house on the market this summer and move to a smaller home. What might I give her for her birthday that won't feel like one more thing to pack, one more thing that will take up space in her new place?

Two answers:
• the gift of a beach walk and cup of coffee on a sunny blue-skied spring morning in May, and
• two handpainted bookmarks : )

Whistlings, Warblings, Wildness, and Joy
5x1.75"; acrylics, ink, and oil pastel on card stock
abstract
2018
[gifted]
Pull at the Quill Pen, Tip the Ink Bottle
5x1.75"; acrylics, ink, and watercolor pastel on card stock
abstract
2018
[gifted]




10 comments:

  1. Cluttering is something that I have to do! Those bookmarks are so exquisite! A true treasure!

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    1. Um, do you need to clutter, or DEclutter??! Either way, have fun! And thanks for the feedback on the bookmarks. I am astonished again and again how engaging such a small piece of 'canvas' can be—I had so much fun working on these.

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    2. de-clutter of course... I seem to be adding to the clutter... bought more art supplies!

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  2. Lovely post Dotty. Lovely thoughts and gifts. I love the pure fun in the first. Makes me think of a cold blueberry Slurpee on a hot summer day. And the second... restorative soul food. Ahhhhh.

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    1. Sheila, I like your take on each of these bookmarks—slurpee and soul food : )

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  3. Ooooooooh the time and care you took to select and create the perfect gifts...that is a gift in and of itself. The book sounds so interesting. I am fascinated with the "what to continue conveying" part, having just watched my parents struggle with mounds of stuff before they passed away. I think I want to leave the world with little accumulation of "stuff" and lots of fabulous memories instead.

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    1. It was great fun to create these gifts.

      I enjoyed the book, and it had the unexpected benefit of giving me a new perspective on the THINGS we surround ourselves with. Even so, it remains surprisingly difficult to voluntarily let go of stuff without some kind of external reason to do so. For one thing, I have a devil of a time letting go of the clutter in my (self-made) schedule so as to free up temporal space to free up physical space. And that is all I have to say about my embarrassment of riches!

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  4. I am just starting to sort through all the 'stuff' that was going to become 'something' over the years. Feels good to send things down the road to someone who will use them and my art life and I guess life in general feels better - lighter. These are the perfect gift and beautiful to boot! I am with Jen - memories are what counts and having experienced moving my father I don't want my children to be faced with the daunting task of sorting through my 'stuff' that holds no significance to them. Lovely post Dotty ox

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    1. I appreciate your discussion here about 'stuff,' Janet. I made some important headway earlier in the year but then got off track again. Like you, I want to burden others (though I can't seem to burden mySELF to just get rid of stuff easily either!). In any case, thanks for your thumbs up for the bookmarks : )

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