Thursday, January 10, 2019

more is more is more

With all the Marie Kondo mania happening on social media, I sometimes can't help thinking that while I like things neat and visually appealing at home where I relax, I also tend to ascribe to the " more is more" philosophy than the opposite.  I've known about the Art of Tidying Up book for awhile, and have been trying to fold my cardigans neatly and upright and have mosly been unsuccessfull. . I am usually a careful weeder. Also a careful buyer--and am pretty specific in my tastes, whether its my dishware and kitchen utensils or my shoes.

About 5 years ago I did a major deep clean on the apartment, emptying drawers and cabinets and actually, things have been pretty smooth and unchaotic since  (though for some reason, I seem to suffer a genetic predisposition to a messy linen closet. Half used shampoos and scented lotions abound and the next thing you know you cant open it without an avalanche of towels and toilet paper hitting you in the head. )  While at times there might be clothes strewn around the bedroom, cat hair on the floor, and paper stacks on my desk, otherwise my apartment is pretty well organized with a place for everything (whether it finds it's way to that place immediately is up for grabs.).

A couple years back, I attempted to weed the poetry bookshelves and tossed out a lot of random AWP acquired freebies and books by po-biz creepers and people I don't like (either their personality or their work.) My fiction shelves still need a good organizing, but I keep mostly things I really want to read again at some point and borrow the rest from the library.  On the Netflix show, I would get a little anxious when people took on books, especially since, for us writerly types, books are more sentimental than happenstance. I'd easily give up the small dvd collection in my tv cabinet, or even the 200+ of cd's I haven't listened to in years before I would start in on the books. So I'll keep my bulky copy of The Critical Tradition procured in grad school.  The copy of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from the sixties I bought at a flea market.  My crumbly first edition of Anais Nin's Delta of Venus bought my very first foray at the Printer's Row Book Fair. When I look at an old copy of The Sound and the Fury, I remember reading all his work one hot college summer seated in front of a fan I kept lugging room to room and even outside.

I do try to get rid of things I don't want expeditiously and don't let them linger--gifts that missed the mark. Random giveaways. things that re temporarily functional but sort of ugly. Promotional mugs, for example go in the trash pretty quickly.  But then again, one of my least favorite things my mother ever gave me 20 years ago, a ridiculously pricey Longaberger tea basket is a humorous solace now daily in her really you never know what you should keep or will need in the future. I am this way about art supplies most since the very thing I toss tends to be the thing about a month later I really desperately need and have to start over. So I am especially hesitant there.

In the very first episode of the show, the woman in the bad marriage piles her clothes on her bed and is aghast at how much she has and I laughed and thought "Hah!'  I could never do this, mostly since the clothes would submerge the bed and I might not find it for years.  It would take far more time and energy than I have. But every season, I'm good at tossing out what is damaged or ill fitting or just not that flattering when I switch things out.  By the end of the year, I've tossed at least a fraction of what I own  Clothes, perhaps even more than books, are my major vice and where I spend lot of my my tiny disposable income, usually on sale or thrifting, but my wardrobe is stored in about 4 large underbed bins of seasonal  things, a rack of dresses, a closet filled with skirts, blouses, shoes, and unmentionables. Plus three drawers of sweaters in the hallway built-in.  I do wear all of it..not always often, but I try to make sure I use things at least once a season, more if it's something I paid a lot for (the Ralph Lauren leopard dress gets a lot of wear.).  Some of my faves come out 4-5 times a year.  And I am totally okay with this.  Yes, obviously no one needs that many coats, but I paid for and carefully chose ever single one, Why should I be made guilty for the bit of joy they give me (espc. since they are my winter coping mechanism--and far, far better than self-medicating with too much chocolate and alcohol).?

What broke my heart was the people who gave up portions of collections they obviously put work into procuring--the baseball card guy and his wife with her love of Christmas The younger dude with all his sneakers. No, you don't need them, but do you WANT them?  It's one thing to get rid of random lidless tupperware and mugs from your bank, but a treasured collection is a very different animal. My two biggest collections outside of books and clothes are my vintage bags and midcentury dishes. While my dishes perish to occasional breakage anyway, I'm less attached.  But if you tried to take away a beaded purse, you'd be prying from my cold dead fingers.

I've usually agreed with the people who say it's easy for the bougier among us to worship the "less is more" because, well, if they throw something out they find they need later, it's easy to replace it. Also, it's real easy to be neat if you're boring and have as much personality as a white sock--ie no pesky collections or interests clogging up your closets and shelves. . As for me,  I'm keeping my stuff, becuase I wouldn't exactly have brought it into my home if it didn't bring me joy.  And it certainly wouldn't have stayed...

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