Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Packing Things Useful or Beautiful
I read a book recently called The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. Of all the things she suggested, the one I took away is this:
Instead of searching through your possessions for things you are willing to get rid of, select the treasures that you absolutely would not want to live without. Then get rid of everything else. I tried this on one bookcase in my living room a few weeks ago. My first time through the books, I looked for those that I was ready to part with, and came away with three titles. The second time though, I selected my absolute favorite books and set them aside--there were fifteen to twenty titles in that pile. As I looked at what was left on the bookcase, I realized that I wouldn't really miss any of it. I cleared two big boxes of books out of my house that day, instead of the initial three volumes. That experience really opened my eyes. I was surprised at what a difference it made to identify treasures instead of trying to pick the things that I didn't need or want anymore.
Francine Jay insists that you must physically clear the entire space you are trying to sort through before making your choices, and then only return the things you love to that space. I have not tried that yet--I'm pretty sure I would dump everything on the floor, where it would stay for another year or two, unsorted and trodden upon. Jay says that when you clear a space and see how lovely it looks empty, it is harder to put things in it that you don't really love. When the space is full, it is easier to believe that everything in it belongs and deserves to be there.
When I go on vacation, I typically pack 5 outfits, a few books, and a few toys for each child. I am amazed at how easy it is to do laundry, to gather our things, to tidy our room, when we have so few possessions. Then when I get home I wonder why we have so many clothes and books and toys that we can obviously live very happily without. When I'm packing, I tend to choose my favorite things. I think Jay's method of living with less is similar to packing for a trip--choose your favorite things and then get the rest out of your house and out of your life.
I leave you with this statement by William Morris, a nineteenth century British craftsman, designer, poet, and Socialist, who was the father of the Arts and Crafts movement:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
Posted by An at 12:07 AM