Clutter or Collectables?

This post began as a comment on this blog post from when it got too long I decided to put it here instead

There is a difference between hoarding clutter and collections of old things. I decorate with old things. Pieces big and small that have a past. Things handed down from family and friends, little pieces I collected on trips and such. These things all have memories and meaning. Yes, I like to try to keep my life both mentally and physically uncluttered and simplified. ( I know I’m walking into a “simple thinking” joke, I get it.)

You can buy new “old” things at designer stores or used items at second hand stores. Most of these things I would view as clutter. When the clutter becomes overwhelming it could most certainly be considered a hoarding problem. The fine line of course being when I buy something used on vacation, I’m not going to get that nit picky. As I have said in previous posts, I like the history behind the things in my life. I have been working on a post about the gate we are putting up for the pasture. I’m not going to get into details, save that for later, but it too has a history that makes me smile every time I see it.

If you have ever been to my kitchen you see it’s clean but certainly used constantly. I have a can of utensils, my stand mixer, knife block, bread boards, and a cookie jar or cake pedestal of some sort among other things on my counters. It may look cluttered to some but everything there is used on a regular basis. I have enough place settings to serve more than our table can seat when all the sets are out together. The extra dishes in the china hutch may look like clutter or a waste of space. There are dishes there from Great Great Grandma, Grandma, Mom and the first set I bought when I moved out on my own, (which is still in great shape and complete).  When friends come we tend to gather in the kitchen for most of the time. It is a warm, welcoming place as with the rest of our home. There is always room for another and if you leave hungry it’s your own fault. There is a meal for anyone who walks in the door.

Quite often I find myself praying for a “fishes and loaves” miracle (see Matthew 14: 13-18). Some how there is always enough to go around. Then there is the continued prayer of thanks. I (almost) never worry that things will work out and whether or not what is needed will be there when it is needed.

I have visited friends who have a very “clean” style. Nothing on the counters, next to nothing on display in any room. This is fine, a minimalist approach, a different minimalist approach then some. The “clean” style feels rather cold, staged and somewhat unwelcoming, even when the house is filled with great company. It’s just missing a “homey” feel.

I love visiting friends with things with stories. Looking at books on the shelf and hearing the stories behind little things on the shelf. Listening to family history is very interesting to me. I have bought books on women homesteading, read the books on my family history and I like to listen to stories from others.

There are a lot of “things” in my house that are irreplaceable and breakable. I still display them, but in a manner that people can feel comfortable and not as if something will break if the walk into the room. I do this for multiple reasons; I like the way it looks, and we have three dogs in the house and a toddler. I like to be able to see the special things we have. If I were to stuff them in a box for “later”, they would spend the rest of my life in that box and I would be decorating with clutter or have a “clean” house, neither of which I find appealing. The little “museums”, as a friend called them, set out by myself or others are not only great memories but great conversations too.

I do give things to those in need or someone that I think should have something. I also donate a fair amount to local clothing depots and places of the sort. Even with my efforts to own only what is necessary and those things special to me I still manage to have plenty to share. For some reason I tend to have something to give when someone mentions they are in need. I like being able to do that.


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