Yet after visiting my parents in Ohope Beach, NZ, I wonder if I'm fooling myself. Mum and Dad's house always looks open, fresh and modern and yet everything has been in the same place for decades. No gift is re-gifted and each thing purchased has a place.
|Mum and Dad's house in Ohope Beach|
Outside, every potted plant Mum has been given is there and still alive.
|Mum's succulents at the front|
|Old photos at my parents' house: me and Harley 13 years ago|
|Mum and Dad on their wedding day 52 years ago|
In the garden all the other presents and found-treasures are there; the swinging teacup, the cloth-capped newspaper boy, the concrete birdbath, the green glass balls. Everything looks just right sitting there.
|Mum and Dad's back garden|
In contrast I am always furiously shedding stuff. Nine years ago we arrived in Oakland from Notting Hill, London with only our luggage. We had given away or sold everything else. "How can you denude yourselves like that" said one friend. It was, as promised by all the keep-it-simple magazines and organisational experts, very freeing.
I pride myself on not going to "Big Box" stores. You step into those places and spend $500. (On what, who knows?) We have two cooking pots; I burnt the other two and never replaced them. We gave away our coffee machine years ago as I buy my one daily latte. We don't have baking sheets or gadgets; as you might know, I do assemblage rather than cooking and baking and I don't keep things on the bench. I deliberately chose a smaller closet in order to limit my clothes spending.
But I may be fooling myself this shedding is somehow eco, selective or quasi-monastic. I suspect I'm still buying as much stuff as many others. But by not keeping things, I don't have to live with my mistakes or past choices. And somehow, now I'm making it into a virtue. Oh I'm such a self-delusional non-accessorising person.
Which one are you: an inveterate clearer-outer like me, or a keeper-and-placer like my mother? Or something in-between?
Our Giveaway this month is a beautiful cashmere-blend scarf (5.5ft by 1ft) from one of my favourite Ohope Beach stores, 4Art Sake which you may have read about here. Simply leave a comment and, as usual, you get an extra point if you Tweet and-or Facebook the offer. The winner will be drawn randomly next Friday 13 Jan. I bought one of these scarves for myself six months ago and it's deliciously soft.