I feel anxious in rooms with too much stuff in them. If I can’t freely move around without shimmying around or walking into something, I get all itchy and twitchy. I like more color than in the photo featured above, but I love how open and airy the room looks.
Perhaps it’s because I’m allergic to dust. Maybe my brain knows that cluttered spaces are more likely to be dusty, so it starts bombarding me with the heebie-jeebies to make me want to run far, far away. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I don’t always succeed in keeping the clutter at bay, but I try.
My design aesthetic leans toward minimalist. I like a lot of floor space in a room, with little more than the essential pieces of furniture (though I will never embrace the minimalist practice of sleeping on a mattress on the floor. One, I don’t like the way it looks. Two, we live in an old, drafty house, and just thinking about lying that close to the floor makes me shiver. Plus, easier access for spiders…eek!
Somehow, though, my aversion to clutter dissipates when I step into a thrift store. It seems the prospect of finding something amazing for very little money among the stacks and stacks of dusty junk is the ultimate antihistamine. But I still want to come home to a relaxing, uncluttered space. So as much as I love thrifting, I try to stay conscious of how much stuff I bring into our home. If I don’t have a place for it, I don’t buy it.
Similarly, I like to remain aware of the stuff that’s already in our home. If something no longer has a purpose and is not adding value to our lives, it’s time to say good-bye. In general, I’m not attached to “stuff.” I can usually part with things I no longer need without a second thought.
Lately, though, I realized I’ve been holding on to several items out of emotional attachment or a sense of obligation. One example is my red 1950s chrome and Formica dinette set. It’s the real deal, not a reproduction. I had wanted one for years. The gray ones were everywhere, but I wanted red. I scoured local garage sales and auctions, and watched eBay like a hawk. When I finally found this set at an antiques store in 1998, I was happy to plunk down the $265 asking price.
I proudly used the vintage set as my dining room table for the next decade. Then, when I decided to downsize and move into a 1-bedroom condo, I no longer had the space for it, but I couldn’t bear to let it go.
Two years later, when Tom and I got married and bought our current home, the red dinette set came along, and found a new home in our basement, disassembled and wrapped in old bed sheets to protect it from dust and scratches.
I still love the table, but it just doesn’t fit with the décor and layout of our home. Since we plan to live here for at least several more years, I decided it wasn’t fair to the dinette set to keep it hidden away in the basement for potentially another decade. Perhaps there is someone else out there who can give it a proper home.
This afternoon I’m taking what was once my most prized possession to a furniture consignment shop, along with a few other things I’ve been holding onto for similar reasons. It’s a little sad, but it also feels good to let go and focus on the present.
Do you have trouble letting go of things, even if they no longer serve you?
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Feature photo by Ndecam on Flickr.