Friday, June 25, 2010

All Pared Down

Winter is a great time to pare down.  Forget spring cleaning, who wants to be sorting through old jumpers when the sun is shining?

Winter for me is the time to:

  • clean out my wardrobe and donate all old clothes to the Salvos.  I cannot make myself sell my old clothes.   When there are people queuing for stuff at the place I go to in St Kilda, it just seems wrong. 
  • throw out old kitchen bits of plastic which the children have grown out of.
  • sort though endless bits of paper.
  • most importantly, remove bits of furniture which just aren't working.  

I think when you spend time reading magazines and blogs, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the way things look, and to be drawn into a vortex of thinking that you need more Stuff.  More cushions.  More side tables.  More bibs and bobs.  More.  More. More.   Of course that can't be right.   I am certain that most of us need less than we have.  

It is a big trap which I am increasingly wary of.   

As it happens, I feel at my best in rooms like this.  It creates an almost emotional response.   It makes me feel calm.   Not just because of the clean lines but because of the absence of stuff. 

Whereas this room concerns me a lot.    Extreme example I know but there are a lot of overfilled rooms out there.   

This room again, with just a couple of special pieces, has the patina of age and modernity all in one.     

Same story here.  

But this room?  I do realise that Miles Redd is a great designer and all that but really, does any one person actually need five lamps in their bedroom?   There is just so much Stuff in here it makes me feel seriously anxious.  

My daughter and Miles Redd would get on like a house on fire.   She won't throw anything out and hoards and hoards and hoards.   She also loves to cover surfaces with Things.  And she is a lover of Piles of Books too.    All of her stuff was audited and listed by me here.   So it seems we have a little corner of Architectural Digest in our house.  It's called Imogen's bedroom:

(carefully cropped and edited section of bedroom. The whole room is like this but if I showed you any more it would be quite alarming) 

So in honour of paring down, I removed all the bits and pieces from the mantelpiece in the front room, as part of ongoing project to de-clutter it, and came up with this:

(ridiculously small mirror to remind me to save up for ridiculously large mirror to go over mantelpiece)

This is my inside winterscape for the next month - willow and magnolias.   

So this weekend, I will be doing some more packing, storage, culling, cleaning, and folding, just in time for spring, if it ever comes.  

ps thanks for all the lovely comments this week, and also to new readers and visitors. xoxo

(Images (1)(3) Remodelista (2) (4) Architectural Digest (5) Miles Redd) 


Raina Cox said...

Couldn't agree with you more about the whole de-cluttering thing.

When we returned to the States last year, we brought very little with us. I have a new appreciation for minimalism (that doesn't extend to wallpaper patterns though).

brismod said...

Pared down is good. It is less suffocating. Your mantel is great and will be even better with a larger mirror.xx

Ann said...

Sometimes I feel as though I can't breathe for "stuff' - and our place is definitely on the minimalist side as I am constantly shifting things out. I quite like the thought of not buying anything but food, books, toiletries and petrol for six months... we'll see about that one...!

Jenny said...

I agree with you. But, I have a Dutch husband who wants everything out, in view. It is a struggle. I like what you have done.

a very fine house said...

I agree with the paring down philosophy, it feels better for rooms to be peaceful and less cluttered and if a room has beautiful architectural features, even better.

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

I love your pared down images Jane. Like you I just couldn't live amongst the busy-ness of those other more extreme examples. And I really love your winter florals - they look so beautiful on your mantel. Happy weekend!

Millie said...

One of my favourite Pear Tree posts Jane! You've done a fab job of explaining so succinctly how many of us feel. I have a large clean-up/shuffling task on the To Do list this w/end. I'd rather have root canal work, but I'll do it, thanks to your well-timed 'nudge'.
Millie ^_^

Mise said...

Go Jane! I'm such a fan of throwing or giving things away, so much so that people look suspiciously at me when I carry stuff around the house in case I'm on the way to the charity collection point. But I'm also guilty of buying more. My children gather and hoard stuff, like yours, so I try to explain to them that Mama will compromise and be quite happy so long as I can see lots of floor.

JMW said...

I'm feeling consumed with "stuff" lately, too. Just walking into my kids' bedrooms makes me go crazy! I need to do another cleansing of the house, make life a little simpler, if that's possible.

Kellie Collis said...

A perfect way to start fresh! Have a lovely weekend! x

Tina said...

Hi Jane. I do exactly the same in Winter and then again in Summer:) I love that first pic and I feel suffocated by clutter. Also, if I do actually buy something new, I have a rule for myself that I have to give something away to make room for the new item...a little odd perhaps. Wonderful post as always Jane. I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend ~ Tina x

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

I own up to being a hoarder. I do agree with you on Winter being a perfect time to cull and I have started this task. It is amazing how much better you feel when you begin to prune all the excess. xx

The House That A-M Built said...

Oh Jane, I can so relate to this post. I have just seriously pared down my life.... first name basis with the local Salvos. It feels so liberating... like you can get on with your life without the noose of so many possessions.... and it feels so good to know a family of six are eating off your old dining room table and possessions that you once loved have a new life making someone else happy and content. A-M xx

MFAMB said...

3 things-
1. i am with you on the clear space clear head thing...
2. i HATE that miles redd room. but i do love him in general.
3. i LOVE the name imogen. it was a strong contender in the great name search 2004 for fiona honey. (my daughter)

count it all joy said...

Jane, your mantelpiece is spectacular. Absolutely divine. I couldn't agree with you more regarding the overwhelming feeling in some of those rooms. I am a bit partial to throw pillows and floor rugs though, so I would fail miserably in my attempts for minimalism. I guess I'm stuck with mediumism with a touch of Ikea-storage-fetishism. You watch, it might just be the next big thing:) Meredy xo.

p.s. my verification word is "dombilat". Love it. It's going to be my new word of the day....e.g. "I can't believe I left my toddler at the petrol station, I am such a dombilat"

Lissa Pierce said...

Totally agree with you. My house is slowly starting to get too cluttered and overwhelming (no where near the 2nd image though!) and I desperately want to purge and and start over.
Great post and thanks for stopping by to comment this week.

Amanda said...

It's funny you write this because during this wintery weather, I've felt the desperate need to 'spring clean' and de-clutter - I think it's the wet cold weather and being stuck indoors more. I'm going to follow your lead and start simplifying things in our house this week :)

Ange said...

I'm more and more pared down too. Clutter panics me now. May I say I LOVE your ridiculously small mirror and wouldn't get a bigger one unless you need it for functional purposes. I'm about to paint our ceiling white after long negotiations with the landlord so it looks like your first pared down photo.
I can tell you it took our friends a while to get used to sitting on the benches I picked up from the school jumble sale. Heavy people in the middle ;-)

My kids collect too - but I've heard psy's say that you have to 'have' to be able to 'get rid of' as you get older. Interesting thought

Lou said...

I am so with you on the packing away of stuff - it's my life's work. I am often heard wondering round our house muttering 'HOW have we got so much STUFF???' under my breath. Clutter freaks me out and makes me feel I have no control. I think I have an affliction where I am simply too affected by my surroundings! Lou x

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