Monday, December 12, 2011

Spinster Nesting: The Great Sorting

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris

One my New Year’s resolutions is to make the spinster nest more livable and that is going to mean getting rid of stuff.  Over the past two years of being in this apartment I’ve tried to convince myself that all that was needed was for me to simply be better organized, that all I really had to do was to find just the right bookshelf or the magical number of storage bins and my home would be orderly and clean.  It’s time for me to face the fact that the clutter and disarray that is my living space has a lot more to do with the quantity of stuff I own, and very little to do with the quality of my organizational skills.

Just to be clear, I’m not what you’d call a hoarder.  I don’t have years upon years of newspapers, magazines, tin cans or mail piled around my house.  What I do have is a sizable yarn stash, years of collected costuming, books upon books upon books and basically a two bedroom apartment’s worth of stuff that I am trying to cram into a very small one bedroom apartment and an overflowing storage space in the basement.  When I think back I realize that I really didn’t do a very good job of sorting things when I moved in, and since then I’ve only added to what I’ve already have. 

My home doesn’t feel like home…it feels like I live in a rented storage unit.  I want this to once again be my space, not my stuff’s space.  So I’m going to do something about it. 

I don’t plan to wait for January 1st to begin what I see as The Great Sorting.  This week I have final exams for school, including a four page paper that needs writing, which will pretty much fill every moment of free time that I have over the next four days, but once that time is complete I’ve no excuse to delay beginning.  And truthfully, I don’t want to delay, the state of my apartment has been driving me crazy for months. 

I have given some thought to what criteria to use to rid myself of the objects that clutter my space.  I know if I let myself I will always find some reason to keep something because I might use it in the future.  Then I came across the quote above by WilliamMorris, a nineteenth century artist and writer.  I thought what better standard to use for deciding what to keep and what to pass on, throw out or donate? 

I honestly don’t remember half of what is in the boxes currently packed away in storage, and if I don’t recall what’s in them, and if in the past two years I haven’t felt compelled to dig them out and open them, how useful can their contents be?  In addition, from my seat here at the table as I let my gaze wander around my living room, I can count five objects that I like but which I’m certainly not in love with. On top of that I can think of several people in my life who would find those objects beautiful or useful; which means that I don’t really have a reason for keeping them, other than just to have them.

As with nearly everything else that goes on my life, once this process begins I will quite likely be blogging about it.  This sorting of things is going along with my sorting out other priorities in my life and as with any sort of change or transition I expect that both with bring up quite a few interesting things to write about.  So stay tuned…


  1. I'm Frances and I found you via the NaBloPoMo blogroll. I am forever fighting clutter. My very small place once again needs a big purge. Like whooosh - know what I mean lol ;)
    Happy NaBloPoMo.

  2. Thank you and thank you for the comment. I had my last final exam tonight and I'm looking around and thinking about how excited I am to be able to finally devote some time to cleaning up.