Following a nudge from the Nester, I cleared all my surfaces of all the stuff that was on them for the month of June. Here's the post showing what I did, with befores and afters.
I decided to participate in a Home Tour without the tchotchkes. (Side note: Has there ever been a word whose spelling has never been more matched to its meaning? I mean, really, look at all those letters!)
Cleaning up for the Home Tour led to some significant insights for me.
The most consequential of all? My clutter threshold is even lower than I thought it was. It has been getting steadily lower as the years have gone by, but my tolerance for clutter is at zero. Really. Absolute zero. Without the tchotchkes, the only things out were the things we left out --both intentional things, like projects I'm in the midst of doing) and unintentional things, like dishes, socks and shoes, and you know. Both were unacceptable.
I found myself getting antsy, uncomfortable and, unfortunately, cranky. I wish it were not that way, but there it is.
A few other take-aways:
1) More real things, please. As I mentioned in my mid-month musing, I want more plants in my life. Tricky, as I have North facing windows and a black thumb. But, I'll try.
Look at that vast expanse of uncluttered surface space. I like it. It's a great example of how negative space certainly helps define the focal point!
2) I want more flowers more regularly. I had some lovely white and yellow mums this month--I carried them from the kitchen to the living room and back again. Without tchotchkes they were indisputably the focus of the room. I liked that.
3) Something about store-bought tchotchkes seems highly artificial to me. I really only want things which are meaningful or hand-made. I am resisting putting things back because I do not want to re-introduce all that artificiality back into my house--but we'll see how dedicated a purist I really am. I loved the punch of red my artificial tulips gave the entry way.
4) I love landscape paintings made by amateur artists that I find in thrift stores. I purchased a new one just last night. I have decided to hang my modest collection en masse, bad frames and all.
5) I want to paint my own landscapes.
6) Even without tchotchkes, I have too much clutter.
7) I am beginning to seriously examine my attachment to my books.
This was a great challenge. In fact, I think we should go further. It brought home just how much I enjoy clutter-free surfaces and it helped me define and refine what I want around me in my home.
I will be taking my time putting things back.
Linking to the Nester's Thoughts Post, of course.