Post by Karen Charlton
My husband and I are mutually inclined to keep things ‘just in case’: empty shoe boxes, twine, gate latches, timber off-cuts. Things we keep tend to be measured up according to their utility; if it’s useful or could one day be useful, we keep it. Then we spend our days navigating around the stuff that might be useful.
If there should ever be a box, button or hardware shortage, we’re your people. Mr Karen has 6 ladders. Twelve measuring tapes. Windows and doors of various sizes. A crate full of door knobs, hooks and hinges. His back shed is like a hardware store of second-hand goods. And when the craft-Armageddon arrives, I’m your girl, armed with paints, brushes, inks, crayons, pastels, and pencils. Would you care to borrow one of my 11 pairs of scissors?
Then there’s the personal effects; locks of hair (my own and my children’s), christmas cards dating back to grade 2, crude pictures drawn by girlfriends in high school, and notes jotted on fading lemon yellow Post-it notes. You know, Post-its being that stationary that was made to be used and tossed?
In my hoarding there’s a refusal to let go. If you asked me, I couldn’t tell you what it was I was holding on to. Perhaps I’m holding on to yesterday because tomorrow is a stranger to me.
If I were to resolve to do anything in particular in 2013, it would be to edit. Take out my scissors and cut back the unnecessary and overgrown elements in my life. I’d leave snippets of true beauty: slithers of insight: reveal moments of simple happiness.
Editing allows clarity. Cutting away things that don’t matter says you know where you’re headed, you know what counts and what is merely peripheral. Perhaps I want clarity and direction most of all.
What about you? What do you keep and refuse to throw away? Or do you take a ‘kill your darlings’ approach to your material life?