Monday, March 11, 2019

Clutter Begone


Sheri Hostetler

Give up the world, give up self; finally, give up God.
Find God in rhododendrons and rocks,
passers by, your cat.
Pare your beliefs, your Absolutes.
Make it simple;  make it clean.
No carry-on luggage allowed.
Examine all you have
with a loving and critical eye, then
throw away some more.
Repeat. Repeat.
Keep this and only this;
     what your heart beats loudly for
     what feels heavy and full in your gut.
There will only be one or two
things you will keep,
and they will fit lightly
in your pocket.

These are stern and almost impossible instructions to a lady 
who has been keeping house for over seventy years;
who gathers to her heart six children and their spouses, 
thirteen grandchildren and an equal number of great grands!! 

What do you throw away??

Only those things that don't bring you joy....

and that limits the amount of detritus

that remains in my house!!! 


lately I have been very much drawn to de-cluttering;

to the books that give you wild and wonderful

advice about how to go about this...

I am cautioned to

"keep this and only this;
what your heart beats loudly for"

"throw everything on the floor
and only return to the closet those things
you simply cannot live without"

How can I throw out the beautiful blue shirt that
matched my husband's beautiful blue eyes,
even if the collar is frayed
and the colour slightly faded from so many washes?????

"leave sentiment out of this -
the watchwords are order and serenity"

Well, there are things, like old electricity bills
and tax notices, income tax forms and
other files that haven't been opened for lo these many years...

Would that satisfy the Orderly Gods?

I don't THINK SO!!

I believe we require more drastic action
to reach serenity with a capital S!!

I shall make a half hearted attempt
starting with the contents of the old trunk 
that belonged to my parents,
and going on to whatever might be stored
in my "hope" chest...

but books????  Not likely...

It is a long time since I have read Teilhard de Chardin
or Clemance Dane,
but if the longing for them should overtake me
they have more to offer than

Martha Stewart's
100 ways to unclutter your home.

.......and my thirty years of Handwoven Magazines
are precious to me
and bring me great JOY

This is an on going thing - I will let you know how we fare!


Barb said...

I started simplifying about 6 years ago, determined that our children should not have a mess of clutter to go through when that day comes. However, I seem to attract as many "things" as I discard. I do like the look of a more simple, uncluttered space, but behind the closet doors and in the garage storage space lie obstacles to my resolve. Because I read now on Kindle, I can have 100's of books which don't take up any space. I donated a lot of books to the library, keeping just a couple bookcases full of old favorites. But, of course you must keep that soft blue shirt inspiring fond memories of Charles. I would not consider that clutter. Let us know if you're even partially successful, Hildred. I may have another go at it!

Hill Top Post said...

:~) What a delightful post! I look forward to seeing how your uncluttering goes. And, who knows, I just might be inspired to do so too!

Morning's Minion said...

Surely the periodic removal of unnecessary items is therapeutic--but most of us can go about this with common sense. That which is 'clutter' to someone else remains precious and cherished to the individual.
When I am 'gone' perhaps no one will want my grandmother's aprons but I'll continue to keep them.
My late mother did considerable 'decluttering' in her last years at home; how I wish she had kept family letters and such rather than a cupboard full of cheap knick-knacks--and all my report cards from grade school--but the choices were hers to make.
Each 'how to' housekeeping guru in turn makes her impact, then retires with her fortune and another takes her place.
Meanwhile, most of us continue as usual!

Ruth said...

Dear sweet Lady, there are souls in this world "fortunate" enough to have absolutely no connections to material things - no sentiment, no saving for the future or for "just in case I'll need it." I'm not one of them. I've collected myself a burden over my long years, not for hoarding but for rescuing, mostly because they touched a precious memory from my childhood. I'm now in the process of donating much of it to a fund-raising auction for a school, a most painful process. If I may be so bold:

The Caretaker

In my house are many treasures
That can't go with me when I go.
All I do is bring home more things
Made in days of long ago.

Flowered dishes, cookie cutters,
Table cloths and doilies too.
Pots and pans and coffee pots -
I could cook up quite a stew!

Toys and bedspreads, books and rockers
Fill my rooms - no room to spare!
It might take you days to dust them -
I just pretend the dust's not there!

Old pillow slips and dresser scarves,
Tea towels, hot pads, aprons galore;
All washed and ironed, folded neatly,
Filling every empty drawer.

Fondly do I clean and store them,
All these things from days gone by.
I wonder about their former owners -
What made them laugh - what made them cry.

I can see these dishes on a table
In a country kitchen years ago,
Sitting on this tablecloth
Starched and ironed, white as snow.

On the mantle sat this clock,
Ticking all the minutes away,
Chiming the hours through all the years
That brought it here to me today.

If all of them could tell their stories,
I wonder what each one would say.
I have a feeling they'd be glad
To have belonged to yesterday.


Hildred said...

A sweet and sentimental poem, Ruth - sentimental in the right way. Lovely to have that sensitivity to objects that have been precious to someone else, - and Morning's Minion - I hear you with a welcoming reprieve for things I really don't want to part with!!!