Over the last few weeks, since I am back from Massachusetts, I've had many thoughts about the way we live now, the needs we have and the things we feel we can not be without.
As a decorator with a keen sense for beauty, a mind for collecting and a hunter mentality I feel torn between my tendencies to find new and pretty things and the urgency to reduce.
Especially after returning from a vacation, where we used much fewer things, where I saw many great old homes with such simplicity, it dawned on me to try to come back to the essential things in my house back home. I try to reduce the need for new pieces, try to find ways to re-use furniture or china for example, try to de-clutter and to find a new balance between collections, loved items and just stuff, which we accumulate over time.
As a professional I feel sometimes a slight dilemma, seeing so many things only hardly used been thrown away, changed and changed again. Series of renovations, new furniture, new styles and never ending needs give me sometimes an uneasy feeling.
And yet I know this is part of my livelihood and my absolute passion.
I try to unite these conflicting ideas, try to fit them together and look for ways to find my way in a time, where consumerism is the basic idea of our daily life.
I encourage my clients to keep and buy things of value and to build up over a long time.
I began cataloging our belongings, started sorting and clearing, and by and by we all found pleasure in cleaning out years of stuff.
My husband and I managed a great deal in the garden, the garage and the attic.
The onset of the new school year was a welcoming time to go through the kids rooms,
file away and give away.
We painted my daughter's room, she sorted through her clothes, books and stuffed animals and wants to keep all things more organized and neat. Her tiny room seems suddenly larger!
The youngest cleaned his Lego, his collections of everything and all his clothes, which he is particular about it in the first place.
They are very proud of the new ideas.
I painted the hallway, it gives me great satisfaction and a lovely sense of accomplishment.
A dresser, which served our babies as changing table at first, became later a piece in my son's and daughter's rooms and now houses all my table linens in the dining room.
I am sorting through my linen closet, cleaned my kitchen drawers ( multiples of almost everything...)and I now begin to think more about true needs before shopping.
I recently read an article in one of my magazines about a family, who for one year did not buy anything new apart for food and entertainment. They became wonderfully resourceful, had things given to them, re-used items for school and play, spend ultimately much more time together. It had great appeal to me.
By the way, I gave up on many of my subscriptions to magazines. It is a new lightness of being.
It has nothing to do with not wanting to spend money, well, it's a great side effect, we spend that saved money on organic food or travel, but the idea is to live more mindful, to be more aware of our needs and to let being be more important than having.
I am still not through with everything here at home, work my way slowly around and discover things I had forgotten we have...
It's going to be a long road! (Make that a winding, lovely country road, with trees for rest and shade...)
It is all very refreshing!
Pictures by V.Zlotkowski, five center pictures from the book 'Domestic Art'