William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I couldn’t agree more. Just think about how you feel when you walk into a beautiful space. It could be anywhere. There is something about beauty that brings delight and creates a sense of calm deep in your soul. Walking into a room full of junk is disconcerting and increases anxiety. A “junk room” is just begging to have the door closed on it so we don’t have to feel the pain of its chaos. I’ve also heard it said that our outer world is a reflection of our inner world, and sometimes the easiest way to navigate a chaotic inner world is to start from the outside.
I’m not sure if it’s genetics or a deep seeded need for me to have a sense of control over my life, but from early childhood I’ve always been a clean and organized person. The downside to this is that I am notorious for throwing things away too quickly. If they don’t serve my immediate need for organization and cleanliness its outta here! Things I’ve thrown away include my husband’s birth certificate and social security card (that was an accident, but I was in such a hurry to clean out his things that I wasn’t paying attention), a vintage sewing kit from my grandmother, my angst-y teenage journals (what I wouldn’t give to have those back!), my favorite cashmere sweater because it didn’t fit after I had a baby (I swear it was mocking me), and a million other tiny things that went straight into the trash because they threw off the balance on the bookshelf or didn’t fit into a drawer properly. Some things I regret throwing away and I’ve learned that the hard way, but most of it is a distant memory – if I have any memory of it at all.
I know my compulsion to throw things away sounds extreme, and it is. I’ve had to learn to slow down when it comes to tossing things in the bin; but I’ve also learned to slow down on accumulating things as well, which in turn almost entirely eliminates my need to constantly throw useless items away. It takes time to curate your life. There isn’t just one Getting Place, there are millions. Just imagine spending a day at home and having everything you touch be something you delight in or have a use for. There’s a lot to be said for being slow to let things into your life, especially objects. Don’t settle for an okay dress just because you have an urge to go shopping. If it doesn’t look fabulous, don’t buy it. This will also save you from having a closet full of clothes you’ve only worn once. What if everything you put on today was your favorite? Your favorite slacks. Your favorite sweater. Your favorite shoes. What if you didn’t have as many slacks or sweaters or shoes but you loved every single one you did have? What if every possession in your home had a memory attached to it or it made you burst with delight or it made your job easier with its usefulness? Just imagine the levity you would feel.
Life is demanding enough as it is. We easily get pushed and pulled around by things we can’t avoid in life, work, and relationships, but our homes and the things we own shouldn’t be one of those things. So the next time you are faced with a buying decision ask yourself: do I find this to be beautiful or useful? If the answer is yes, then buy it and enjoy it. If the answer is no, then don’t take it into your life as something that will only be a burden then need to be tossed later. Have patience and wait for something better. Beauty and delight are always worth holding out for, and it’s also closer than we think. Happy Curating!