(the flowers came home with me)
Do you ever find this happening? You go away, perhaps stay in a hotel or a cottage – someplace that doesn’t hold all your belongings but is a temporary space – and when you return to your home you think: There’s too much stuff in this house! That happens to me every time I return home from a coaching job.
Of course, when I’m staying in temporary housing, I only have a few of my belongings with me. And that’s fine – for a while. The contrast between the relative spareness of temporary housing and a cottage full of furniture, knick-knacks, books, appliances…stuff, is most glaring when I first walk in the door. I want to purge everything. But a few days pass and, while I know I need to sort through some things, I am once again happy to be surrounded by my stuff.
We have a lot of stuff.
But all of it has a story. All of it speaks to our loves: collecting, vintage, reading, music, inherited pieces, texture, nature, color. If someone else was writing this, the overused and trendy ‘curated’ might be used. I won’t use that word because a curator is something other than a person who displays and arranges things in her/his home. That takes a word which describes a job that is earned through training and education and experience and turns it into something less than. Now,’curate’ will never have the same weight, the same heft. I wonder what actual Curators think of the fact that everyone is suddenly ‘curating’ their home or ‘curating’ some furniture or clothing from a website? When did we all get to be curators?
I digress. Don’t get me started on ‘awesome.’
(Riley’s Dish Garden)
I might as well accept the fact that I like my things around me and there will always be an overabundance of things – let’s change that word to treasures – in this little cottage. Am I going to get rid of my books? Only the small amount that I donate to the library every year. Am I going to get rid of my china, my pottery, my collections? Perish the thought. What about furniture? Need all of it. The pieces we decided we didn’t need have all been sold through Craig’s List. The piano, which, let’s face it, takes up a lot of space? No and no and no. It was my grandmother’s. My mother, my aunt, my brother and my sisters touched those keys. It’s priceless.
I admire all those photos of spare rooms with just a few carefully chosen decorative elements added. I like looking at them. I wonder, though, how anyone can exist for a long period of time in that kind of space. They do, of course. But for me, that very spareness would eventually strangle me and propel me to a flea market where I would be found frantically searching for some egg cups, or some china, or a jumping jack or two. Some treasures.
Heck, after a few days there, I was sitting in my apartment in Hartford thinking of how I would decorate it if it were mine. I was mentally hanging quilts on the walls and thinking about how I would get all my stuff in there.
(the feather I found in Hartford has joined our display of found treasures)
Living in a ‘curated’ space would not suit me. Yes, there has to be some order; some arranging must be done, otherwise all the eye will see is a jumble, a chaotic mess. Most of us love doing that kind of thing. Do I dare mention at this point that I’m getting tired of the word ‘vignette?’ I’ll have to put my thinking cap on and see if I can think of a new word to describe such arrangements. Presentation? Display? Array?
Curating a collection of paintings in an art museum makes sense to me. ‘Curating’ the things I love does not.
What about you? Are you able to thrive in a spare environment? Do you crave that sort of order? Or do you like your
stuff treasures surrounding you?