Friday, March 28, 2008

Stuff

I have moved too many things, helped moved things, and looked at the mountains of stuff I have, too often not to think it would be better to do it now, rather than have someone else do it for me - someday!

I have learned that 1) we accumulate too much stuff; 2) we love our stuff too much; 3) stuff takes up too much room; 4) stuff often makes us sneeze; 5) people's stuff often means more to them than it does to the one having to go through it, unless it is your mother's; 6) we can't find what we're looking for in all the stuff; 7) we don't have room for the important stuff for all the other stuff. On the other hand, last weekend on the way to Iuka, I read a book about people who collect stuff. There has to be a balance to satisfy the left and right brain - have fun but organize. I'm sure there are other lessons to be learned.

This week I received Cloth Paper Scissors "Studios" special issue and it is full of articles about people doing things with their stuff in an orderly and efficient way. One lady wrote, "I wasted time looking for things I knew I had, but couldn't find, or sometimes ended up buying something I had purchased previously because I couldn't find the original. I also would completely forget about great fabrics and embellishments in my stash because they weren't stored where I could see them or get to them easily." These could have very well been my original words! Yet, only 2 or 3 times have I ever duplicated books, and that is saying a lot, considering the number of books I have! And I did donate the duplicates or give them to Amy or Sher.

I see the need. The closet in the "office" needs cleaned out, but in order to be able to get the door wide open, I first need to sort through my CD cabinet and/or move it to another place so I can open that door! The closet started out as a bookshelf and gradually accumulated other things: paint, watercolor papers, pens, blank CDs, floppy disks, envelopes, a wooden cigar box Sher gave me, a red leather portfolio envelope Amy gave me. I even have the paperback "collector's" boxed set of John Jakes's first books that I've never read. (Imagine that!) The "Ruby" buffet is filled with old journals of mine and CDs, which need to be sorted out. The top drawer is a "junk" drawer and could be used for more practical storage. (But where would I put the dozen batteries or pads of sticky notes or little bags of jingle bells?) There are even a couple of toolboxes under my bed with sewing notions, pens, erasers; and there's that wicker basket with stamp pads (is my heat gun still there?); and then there's the box full of Mama's cards, many unused. And the bag of "found" objects - used ribbons, wrapping paper, tissue paper...

I have to start somewhere. Otherwise, Amy will do it and I'll never have the space or be able to get my hands on what I need to even make a playful mess, and goodness knows I need to make a playful mess. Amy would probably keep it all because she's like me - she loves papers, colors, paints and "ephemera." (And what does vintage mean really? I see it all the time in my mixed media magazines... Here it is - and it's related to winemaking! - " representing the high quality of a past time." Well, that fits. Seems to mean "good junk." Just like I can't get rid of Mama's old Social Security deposit statements, Medicare statements, or old patterns... But I can use those things - they're "vintage," if I can just bring myself to cut them up or glue them in a scrapbook.

Now let's see... Dollar Tree has those clear plastic shoe boxes I can use for Stuff. And I remember seeing pictures of jars in that magazine that hold buttons, pens, ribbons... Even a "cafe" style sugar container with ribbon flowing nicely out of the little flapper...