• studio fludd 3

    studio fludd 3

  • studio fludd

    studio fludd

  • studio fludd

    studio fludd

  • A

    The Story of My Stuff

    01.14.2014 / ARCHIVES

    studio fludd

    Last week, during our entire-week-of-snow-days, I did what any snowbound, stir-crazy lady would do: I attempted to purge the entire house of excess in one fell swoop. It didn’t work out as planned, largely due to my own laziness and also in part due to minor protests from the other co-habitants of our home. As it stands, sentimental husbands and irrational toddlers are not fantastic purging partners. Who knew?

    Still, I made progress in my head, mentally taking stock of everything I would rid our home of were it my sole decision: DVDs and shoes and sporting goods for people do not “sport.” Folks, there is a wetsuit and surfboard in my garage, smack dab in the middle of a suburban Midwestern neighborhood with no ocean within a one million mile range. (To be fair, it was acquired in Los Angeles during a particularly heavy beach-visiting season, but still, it is time.)

    But the worst of it is this: the objects. As a stylist, I have justified the collecting of objects that serve approximately zero purpose: paperweights and decorative journals and patterned accessories, various ephemera that is grabbed from a shelf on a whim as I say to myself, “I could totally use this in a shoot someday.”

    studio fludd 3

    And I generally do. But then it sits there, collecting dust and eventually selling for 50 cents at my next garage sale. But before it makes it to the garage sale, it moves from room to room in random boxes, preparing space for more clutter and things and stuff that are not adding any shred of value to my life.

    I want the cycle to end. I want my home’s objects to reflect meaning and purpose and story. I want to look up and see souvenirs from the happiest moments of my life. I want to write from journals I unearthed in Barcelona, not Target. I want to sit on a footstool discovered in Sweden, not Ikea. I want to wrap myself in scarves I brought home from Ethiopia, not H&M.

    I want my home to be so edited that I’ll pick an item at random, and this item will have a story about someone or somewhere or something that shaped me: the typewriter my husband gifted me for Christmas, the book that changed my perspective on adoption, the (glorious) fur coat worn by my grandmother, mildly scented with her signature perfume.

    It’s possible. It will take a lot of purging, but more so a lot of will power, specifically when I’m navigating the aisles of Target or fighting the distracting clearance deals online.

    studio fludd

    I used to shop solely at vintage/thrift stores and wore a lot of hand-me-downs growing up, so it wasn’t rare for me to don items that told many, many stories. And I miss that. I miss that the stories of my clothing held tales of womens rights and gender roles and gosh, even entire industrial revolutions. I long for chairs that were collected from back alleys on sunny days. I miss balancing old mirrors on the shoulders of my husband as we made the trek home from another successful thrift run to furnish our humble, newlywed apartment.

    Somewhere along the way, I’ve become lazy. Shopping turned into a leisure activity, a quick fix for a bad day. The store became a getaway when I needed a breath of fresh air from the pressures of a crying baby or a pressing deadline or a tough conversation.

    I don’t want my happy place to be Target (no offense, Target – I love you/I hate you). I don’t want my home to boast souvenirs of a successful afternoon shopping in suburbia. I want less.

    I want more.

    Here’s to our homes containing souvenirs of lives well-lived. Not well-shopped.

    Image Credits: Studio Fludd

    p.s. Living with less.

    • Amen, hallelujah, holy mother above. I have been working toward this state of being for the last couple of years and it is not easy, for all the reasons you mention. But it is so worth it. Just the other day I rearranged my living room and purged a few things. Then I re-styled my favorite objects (mostly made by friends or found at thrift stores/garage sales or in nature – all with a story), dusted off the art and photos on the wall, and snipped some blooming red witch hazel from the yard to rest on the coffee table in a favorite vase. Then as I sat back in my beloved 40th birthday (gift to myself) chair and surveyed my tiny empire, I thought “Yes. I love everything about this room.” It’s taken me a long time to get to this place of acceptance.

      • Oh I LOOOOOOOVE this, Britt! Thank you for sharing!

    • i can’t decide which post to comment on because the last three are just gold. thank you. i went through the same thing the other week, being trapped inside too. instead of getting rid of stuff i made a giant pile for a garage sale and i’ve made a promise to get rid of it, if a garage sale doesn’t happen. because it might now. but there is still so much stuff, sometimes i feel like it is suffocating me…toys especially. but, i’m trying to remember that i won’t be stepping on toys forever and maybe one day i’ll miss stepping on them. but, stuff telling a story. yes….so yes. every meaningful thing in my home that i consider priceless has a story. a sketch of my grandmother, my husbands grandmother’s chair in our room, and rocks i returned with from england. my only struggle is that sometimes i attach stories to random things like stuffed animals….oh, this was that christmas and so on. it can be a real problem.

      happy purging and happy collecting ands story teling!

      xo .t

    • i can’t decide which post to comment on because the last three are just gold. thank you. i went through the same thing the other week, being trapped inside too. instead of getting rid of stuff i made a giant pile for a garage sale and i’ve made a promise to get rid of it, if a garage sale doesn’t happen. because it might now. but there is still so much stuff, sometimes i feel like it is suffocating me…toys especially. but, i’m trying to remember that i won’t be stepping on toys forever and maybe one day i’ll miss stepping on them. but, stuff telling a story. yes….so yes. every meaningful thing in my home that i consider priceless has a story. a sketch of my grandmother, my husbands grandmother’s chair in our room, and rocks i returned with from england. my only struggle is that sometimes i attach stories to random things like stuffed animals….oh, this was that christmas and so on. it can be a real problem.

      happy purging and happy collecting ands story telling!

      xo .t

    • Yes! So true. I also want less. And more. One of my goals this year is to minimize – clutter, waste, thoughtless purchases, anxieties and other burdens of all sorts. This post is right in line with where I’m (hopefully) headed. Can I ask though, which was the book that changed your mind about adoption? Just curious…

    • Every time I’m tempted by an online sale email newsletter, I remember how silly I felt when I purged my belongings before moving across the country and realized just how meaningless so many of my collected objects were. So many times I’ve gotten all the way to the checkout and then chosen to walk away. I remind myself the money I’m spending “just because” could be used to find something REALLY special for my home, or spent on a trip to discover something truly unique. Thanks for writing about this, I know so many of us can relate.

      • I can completely relate to this, Alaina – thank you for sharing!!! :)

    • Marlene Escalera

      THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! So perfectly written. When I find myself fighting over whether I should take that clearance item I remind myself of my new mantra for the year “I have everything I need”. I too want to look around see my home filled with meaningful items and not random clearance stuff I accumulated and I know I will use one day. I needed this extra boost of I can get rid of most of my DVD’s, CD’s, that one pair of jeans I swear I will fit into again one day. To a year of purging and welcoming…if that makes any sense.

      • Ahhhhh, that makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing, Marlene!!! :)

    • wow! good self edit!!!! lots to think about there!
      thank you!

    • I think our significant others need a support group for spouses like us :)

    © 2007-2014 Erin Loechner. All Rights Reserved.
    Website Design by Veda House / Development by Brandi Bernoskie