Just finished a post over at Apartment Therapy about living alone...and liking it that way.
And it got me thinking.
The Brick and I are in the throes of planning for the future. Technically, he could retire now, if he really wanted to... but he likes what he's doing (most of the time) and plans to stay for a while.
What is clear to both of us: our time here in the house is going to come to an end, sometime in the next two years or so. We're not sure where we're heading next...but we need to pare down. Big-time.
Ironically, while sorting through books, papers, etc., and making decorating decisions, I've discovered some things. Surprisingly, they apply to life, as well as home dec.
*Cleaning off a counter or tabletop is like an archeological dig. We (okay, mostly me) stack important mail, coupons, memos, etc. to "put away later." Then the next batch of Important Things goes on top. If I can put things away NOW, and keep doing it that way, the cleared area stays clean.
(I know this, because counters I cleared away for the Brick's birthday have stayed that way. Getting sick keeps you home, and generally away from paperwork.)
*I don't need to 'collect' like I used to. Fifty-plus years of picking up favorite dish styles (like Flow Blue or Blue Willow) has meant a stuffed cupboard. I only buy cups, plates or such if they're really distinctive, really old, and/or at a steal of a price. (Or I feel I can resell them easily. You'd be surprised what this category contains, including, of all things, Starbucks mugs!)
*Larger scale is better. Not only does a larger painting fill a blank space better -- it lets you say goodbye to all those smaller tsochkes that seemed like such a good deal.
*Blank space is okay. (See above about the countertop.)
*Giving myself permission to buy flowers or a higher-end item is also okay. You're talking to a girl who grew up on a farm, in a Hollander household that valued a bargain -- mostly because that was the only way we could afford things. Otherwise, we grew, prepared or made everything we needed, from Sunday breakfast (with bacon from the pigs we butchered) to bathroom shelves.
Buying flowers? Pick 'em from the 'back forty.'
Nicer furniture? Check a yardsale -- after all, a chair's a chair.
It's easy to let this viewpoint rule my life. (And it can be very valuable, at times.)
But I generally win the struggle by:
*buying the item on sale
*in the flowers' case, buying a plant or blooms that will last longer. Carnations, for example, look great for up to two or three weeks.)
*using money that's "extra," like Amazon gift cards earned by using Swagbucks. (A great deal -- I'll tell you more about this later this week.)
*refusing to buy until it is a quality piece (even if it's marked down at the thrift shop!)
*getting rid of the lesser stuff, to make room for the better ones
*donating from the "get-rid-of" pile, to help out our local thrift shop, and get the tax benefit
I still enjoy eclectic clutter, like this girl's (note the blank wallspaces!), but am resolving to admire it more -- and emulate it less.
The Brick is thrilled with the clean(er) spots, and promises to help keep clearing away things, as well as work on projects we've been planning for years. (Tile the living room, put in a new shower, etc etc.) After all, it will be less stuff to move, fewer DIY jobs to improve the place, and more freedom, once we do decide what we want to do.
Sounds wonderful to me, too.
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