Tuesday, November 10, 2015


There's now a whole movement in de-cluttering, complete with rules like "When you buy one thing, give another away." In my case, that usually involves a divinely long-enough skirt, and no way am I giving away any of my other divinely long-enough skirts. 
It is a sign of distinction to have streamlined, neat, decor. Serious hoarding is not healthy, and attachment to things is not the ideal, but is it so bad to have some junk around?

From an interview with Iris Apfel, the snazziest nonagenarian around: 
. . . people seem to be obsessed with decluttering their homes these days, but you’re known for keeping your house filled with all sorts of treasures. Why? I love clutter. I think being totally minimal shows a lack of history and soul, and I find it sort of pitiful. I think it’s wonderful to have stuff and live with memories and things you enjoy.
Dominique Browning echoes her sentiments in "Let's Celebrate the Art of Clutter":
I would like to submit an entirely different agenda, one that is built on love, cherishing and timelessness. One that acknowledges that in living, we accumulate. We admire. We desire. We love. We collect. We display.
And over the course of a lifetime, we forage, root and rummage around in our stuff, because that is part of what it means to be human. We treasure.
Why on earth would we get rid of our wonderful things?
. . . The stuff we accumulate works the same way our body weight does. Each of us has a set point to which we invariably return. Each of us has been allotted a certain tolerance, if not a need, for stuff; each of us is gaited to carry a certain amount of weight in possessions.
Some of us, rare breeds, tend toward the minimalist; some tip into a disorder of hoarding. Most of us live in the middle range. How marvelous it is to simply accept that, and celebrate it.
Many types of people plod along this Earth. Some cannot handle excess; some cannot handle bareness; some just seek a delicate balance. 

I have been making a point to be more mindful when it comes to purchases. Will it have use? Will I adore it? Will I not regret buying it? 

Browning hopes her children will treasure her priceless antique finds; I am more partial to the artifacts that have traveled down my family tree. My Zeidy's menorah, his esrog halter, the painting he bought in Israel. 

Because my niece had an assignment, I discovered a whole back story to one of my favorite items, a Pesachdik enamel tin plate, always called Lúdas Matyi for the image of a boy and a goose painted on it. 

I googled Lúdas Matyi (which means "Mattie the Gooseboy") and discovered that it is actually an epic poem about a lowly gooseboy who gets revenge over an unscrupulous lord who tries to cheat him. When communism came to Hungary, they took to it for obvious reasons. 
Hey, I'm eating my Pesach potatoes on a communist plate! Cool!


Daniel Saunders said...

I used to think I didn't hoard. Then in August we moved house... We had to get rid of some things for space reasons, but it was harder than I thought it would be. Getting rid of old toys was surprisingly hard; I tell myself I am saving some favourites for my children and try not to wonder when that is likely to be (I'm sure you'll appreciate my keeping the Star Wars micro-machines).

Old stuff with a story behind it is another matter. We have a besamim box and candlesticks that belonged to great-grandparents on different branches of the family; also a cigarette holder that my paternal grandfather had engraved to memorialize his time with the Royal Air Force in Africa in the war: one side has the RAF logo, the other a lion.

Princess Lea said...

Been there. "I don't own that much stuff. Oh, wait, I do."

Cool antiques!