Monday, September 1, 2014


Art Journal Collage, August 2014
“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~ William Morris

It has become a near-obsession for me, getting rid of things I no longer need or want, or will never use, or never liked to begin with, or feel bad about having spent money on.

The quote from William Morris above has been a guiding principle for me since I established my first household in the early 1970s.  Being a lifelong devotee of the Arts & Crafts Movement, that idea has always been operating in the background for me, in terms of how I arrange/organize my spaces and everything I lay my eyes on.  I hate having junk around that is useless and ugly.  Uselessness and ugliness are highly offensive to my senses of artfulness and design.

I've had my aquisitive periods like the rest of us. many bread books does one single person really need, especially if she always baked superb loaves with guidance from the very first book?  Or, how many pair of Teva river sandals does one person need when a) she never river walks; b) only one pair can be worn at a time; and c) they almost never wear out?

Even these days I find myself buying more than I need ~~ but at least now my purchases are dollar store items, or thrift shop t-shirts to sleep in, or momentarily-gotta-have old books.  Sometimes it feels like I've just got to spend a couple bucks on something, whether I need it or not.  I suspect this feeling is the residue of modern acculturation.

Anyway...something inside me keeps driving me to get rid of more stuff.  Maybe this goes back to a fantasy I had in the 1970s about being able to put everything I owned in a VW bug and drive off into the sunset.  I just don't like the idea of having too much stuff.  It feels pretentious.

There's also this idea of my personal footprint on the planet.  I seem to want mine to be shrinking.  Deleting all those other blogs I had, and my website, and my Facebook page (but not my profile) over the last couple years, as well as having no real interest in marketing any finished art I make, all go to this concept.  I don't like the idea of being all over the place on the internet or elsewhere.

I don't want to leave a swath of unnecessary detritus when I go.  Not that I have any plans to for many years.  But still, I don't want to possess a lot of nonessential stuff ~~ right now, and going forward.


Corrine at said...

I like your message about footprint and getting ready to move, I am shedding stuff, giving away, recycling, etc. Nice art. Love the black and white graphic(tissue and drawing?) xox (Did I solve the email thing?)

Nina Fenner said...

Oh yes, I can really relate to this, I am constantly clearing out stuff, I try to recycle so much stuff, people keep giving me stuff, I collect stuff that might (and often is) useful for workshops I teach. I too dream of being able to pile all my belongings into a van/caravan, but it's not going to happen yet, and that's ok. Particularly beautiful collage. Loved your previous post about being finished with stuff too, I often struggle with that, but I do often come back to things (spinning, knitting, sewing, guitar playing, dying). Sorry but I couldn't find any settings to change ( I was on the not contactable list!). I'm ok with not being replied to, but my email is books (at)

Jacki Long said...

I agree with you on so many levels Connie,
but I have to admit I am not as highly evolved...
I am progressing at a snail-pace.
So far today has been spent spent sorting
and trashing, re-organizing etc.
When I tell people that I am paring down,
donating a minimum of a bag a week ...
they always ask if I am sick?
I tell them no, I just have a lot of stuff...
and it's going to take time, so I have to start. ;o)

ileneharris said...

Hey, Connie!

I laughed a little at this post, since I went to a Thrift Store here in (Andersonville ) Chicago today. And, the alleys here by Matt/Julie's are crammed with stuff left outside. Lots of Dumpster Divers out and about as we walked from their house to the Airbnb place I am staying the next two nights. I think the garbage trucks pick up tomorrow, so,I doubt I will have time to look around...

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

I really admire what you are doing... my hubby has a DVD addiction and is constantly ordering movies. Fortunately, we have a shed where he stores most of them, but he is (and I can say this, I'm married to him!) a total slob, so even if I strip my belongings down to the bare bones, there will still be piles here and stacks there! So I am enjoying your posts, knowing it will never happen here... sigh!

Roberta said...

I use the two year limit. If I haven't used something in 2 years, out it goes. Of course there are always exceptions and that is where I seem to get into trouble!

Thanks again for yesterday!

jenclair said...

I've always loved that quote, but find it hard to put it in practice!