Friday, March 26, 2010
When I was in the process of selling my apartment 2 years ago, to ready it for showing, I had to remove the excess stuff. I took away 20 some boxes of books, half my clothes and other miscellaneous "clutter". Counters were free of pottery and I could see more floor space than I ever had before. I still had my bookshelves filled, but gone were the piles between them and on all the improvised book stands in the corners and next to the seating. At this time the cats also moved over to Neil's. When I think of that home now, I still hear Neil's voice the first time he saw this edited version of my beloved apartment. "Why couldn't it have always been like this?" To me it always felt cozy and warm. To him a bit claustrophobic. I loved my clutter...it was my clutter...organized clutter as I always defend. But I too secretly loved this version. Since we are selling the new house, we have not move everything in. We are staying there, but the cats, the clothes, the TV and most of my "clutter" is still at the other house. What I did bring over is my favorite things, and my furniture. What I'm grappling with these days, is do I really need all that other stuff? Or more realistically what can I get rid of and not feel a loss when I do. I have books in boxes that have not seen the light of day for probably 10 years...but panic overwhelms me when I think of parting with them. That's when I realize I just need to edit. I'm good about editing my clothes and packing them off to Goodwill each season...I just need to do that with all my possessions. (Actually Neil would say I could do better..."Why do you need 20 sweaters?") I have read plenty of articles and "books" on decluttering, but the ones I find the most inspiring are the interior design books. The best ones talk about how to organize your stuff in a way that is beautiful and practical.
One of my favorites that I reread this winter was Living in Style Without Losing Your Mind, by Marco Pasanella.
He talks of the basics of interiors like light, color and arranging furniture, but he also talks about expressing your individuality and how to do that. How best to work with and show off your collections and to be creative with small spaces. I love this coffee table that swivels up to become a dining table.
Another favorite is Rose Tarlow's The Private House. Mostly I enjoy her mix of textures and natural style.
Off topic, but someday I'll have a garden space like this...
This was in the book Meditations on Design, Reinventing your home with Style and Simplicity by John Wheatman. A book I just read, that I borrowed from the office. One of my favorite chapters of his was "Display the things you love."