The Thing With Things, Part 2

The Thing With Things.

This all started because before I could knock out the existing shelves in my closet, I had to take everything off of these shelves. Even though they weren’t the most effective shelves, they were still shelves and full of stuff!

Like, over a year later, I still have the plates from our wedding, oh and the silverware, bunting flags and napkin rings. Other shelves were dedicated to supplies related more to my business: envelopes, paper bags, small tins, 11×17 paper, clear sleeves, canvases and chipboard.

Plus the totes of things from my childhood and my dad. One full of stuffed animals and an entire tote full of diaries I kept starting at the age of 14 until college. I made the mistake of opening up a few. I felt awkward, as if I were invading someone’s privacy, even though it was the writing of myself. I found a few of those cards attached to flowers I had received from a high school boyfriend with his claim to loving me “always,” and read through descriptions of crushes, heartbreak and frustration.

Bear found me looking through them, and felt he had walked in on something he wasn’t supposed to. He suggested I burn them. But I said “no way!” Perhaps one day I will find a way to part with them, but for now it is a thing that I keep.

I did manage to part ways with my Hanson, Romeo + Juliet and Titanic VHS, so that was an accomplishment.

Another thing that I keep is the box of photos and negatives that I inherited when my dad passed away 6 years. I did make myself go through the box of clothes I had, and parted ways with most of the contents of that box.

When I was ready to start filling my new shelves, I went through everything again, forcing myself to get rid of more things.

Scotland papersOn one hand, because I’ve moved so much, I haven’t been able to keep a lot of things, but because I’ve moved so much, I do choose to hold on to the things that represent me (the diaries) and of course any kind of “art” supply.

childhood art

I have 4 portfolios of artwork that I’ve created from preschool through collage (an my senior photo proofs). I always gave my dad my least favorite pieces. Which meant when he died, I got it all back. And because it was precious for him and he kept it despite all his moves, I now keep it. I even have a stack of art my mom created as a child. This all got shoved under the guest bed.

In doing this cleaning, I realized that I do indeed have a thrifting problem and in 2013, I really need to be more careful in my purchases. I tend to collect a lot of things but then find them too precious to actually do anything with them. Like my stack of vintage sheets and curtains, or the embroidery hoops. Or even the stack of papers I collected while in Europe.

old newspaper

I bought this newspaper at a yard sale in high school, thinking I’d collage with it

And just because I see it as an art supply doesn’t mean everyone else will, so most things I can’t even donate. O did I mention I have a stack of wallpaper that I took off the walls of our home? Yes and another roll of some textured wallpaper from our dining room. I thought I might make collages on it…one day.

vintage wallpaperAnd this is the problem with things. They mean nothing and mean everything all at the same time. I once read that we keep things as proof that we mattered, that we excited, we were here.

But all these things create clutter in our life and our brain. I know that the piles I had created in the closet always made me feel uneasy. Even when I couldn’t part with things, I questioned why I was holding on to them.

So I did make myself decide that I would keep some of our wedding plates and use them as extra settings. These got put away into the kitchen. The rest are now ready for a yard sale this summer. I do not need 60 plus plates. I finally created the silverware mirror project I found on Pinterest (but I still need to get the mirror) with our wedding silverware and added the rest to the yard sale stack.

I still have a good stack of vintage fabrics, now neatly stacked in a metal basket. I hope that I can push myself to use these rather than continued to gather and collect. vintage sheetsOverall I condensed and got rid of enough stuff to have two empty totes and either by putting it somewhere else (like the guest room closet,) getting rid of it, or simply better organzition, my closet now feels structured and useful.

It seems it would be best to continue this post in a Part 3, where I can reveal the final photos of my clean, freshly painted, useful studio closet.

I will end on this note. I was texting with my best friend while I was cleaning and sharing the emotions I was feeling about going through all the things and memories. She reminded me that “every time we pitch ourselves into the past, we lose time.”



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