5.24.2011

love and candle wax

I’m on a never-ending quest to reduce the never-ending pile of clutter in my home. I can make the rational decision to de-clutter, and go at it with fervor. Then after pulling the “easy” things off the shelves, recycling the fliers and old papers floating around my desk, and throwing out broken or used up things, I find myself in the danger zone.

The danger zone is comprised of things that were gifts, were expensive, are sentimental or were acquired with intentions that have not yet been met. These ties to items make it difficult for me to get rid of things. I have a unused gifts from people who are no longer in my life, and I can’t get rid of them because I don’t want to seem ungrateful. The gift givers have already been thanked, and they have through circumstances beyond my control left my life. Yet I hang on to the gift I never liked to begin with.

I can rationalize myself out of some things, but other have sentimentality or unmet potential. My grandmother’s tchotchkes, that she kept and dusted and cared for are now mine, and sometimes I see them as clutter. Other times I see them as pieces of her, things she enjoyed and a small glimpse into her life. How can I throw that away?

And at the same time, I know that these things aren’t serving me, they’re making more visual stress in my life.

And I have to remind myself of my values of simplicity, family, calm. I have to remind myself that my desire for things undermines my hopes and plans for my life. I have to be able to let go of the things that don’t work for me, so that I don’t end up working for my things. I have to be content with what’s good enough, and constantly re-evaluate what is meaningful, functional, practical.

It’s hard for me to give up things that could/would be functional, or things I spent a lot of money on, or things that are meaningful or haven’t yet been used for their intended purpose. It’s hard for me to give up anything that I think I might need later on, something I may go looking for or have to buy again. I can’t stand the thought of spending money on something TWICE.

I got the bug yesterday and started purging a bit more. I got rid of home-office supplies I’d been hanging on to in case I ever again have a full-scale office at home. I got rid of a stack of cooking magazines that haven’t been read and a clock I loved but was collecting dust. I pulled some books I don’t want off the bookshelf (books are a major sticky thing for me) and I thought about how they should be read, enjoyed, not displayed. I’ve got more work to do in that department.

I got stuck though, on a set of candleholders. I bought them to use as decoration at my wedding, and although they’re not a style that I particularly want for my home, and they aren’t being used, and they just sit on a shelf collecting dust… because they’re sentimental I can’t get rid of them. Somehow it feels like throwing away a piece of décor from my wedding is like throwing away the marriage. But IT’S NOT. If I give these to someone who can use them, they will be enjoyed instead of neglected, sighed at for being another piece of clutter.

It isn’t so simple for me to eliminate things cluttering my life and make space for simplicity. I tend toward hoarding functional items. But if things can carry spirit or intention, these candleholders will bring love and happiness to their new owner.

OFFER: Love in the form of glass mosaic candleholders. Comes with melted candle wax and a lifetime of hope and intention.

3 comments:

  1. Great post. I think we (as Americans, who tend to accumulate lots o' stuff) can all relate to this on some level. I continually remind myself that "empty space is a conscious choice, too," in other words, I am not required to fill every surface. It is just like when I CHOOSE to have the TV or radio off because I want less noise; clutter is in essence visual noise.

    best,
    MOV

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  2. If you want, you can keep the candleholders for us and we'll use them at our wedding! In fact, I'm gathering some other glass mosaic candleholders from ANOTHER friend's wedding, as well. Our day will be filled with bits of weddings past. I like that. :)

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  3. MOV - yes! It's a choice. I choose to have less chaos in my life, and the things that are visual chaos need to go, as well.

    Danielle - they're all yours! I've got a few more as well. And I have the river rock that was in all the floral arrangements at my wedding, as well. Take it all. Please.

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