December 30, 2009

minimalism and creativity

i just picked up a copy of amanda blake soul's "the creative family."

finally, i know.

and while i linked directly to her site where you can get your own, signed copy, i did in fact buy locally - or rather, i took some books to a bookstore in trade so i could use store credit to get her book. it felt good to clear off more space on my bookshelves and not spend actual cash. in terms of simplifying my life, through the slow and grueling process that it is, this gesture of parting with books always feels like such a big step.

in a facebook update, a friend recently asked how exactly one goes about getting rid of books, especially those of us that have visions of one day having a home-library. or better, a home within our know, books lining walls, books lining staircases, staircases built just to access collections of glorious books.

while this fantasy seems attainable, i'm not sure i want it anymore. i have struggled with both the desire to own every book i take a fancy to and the desire to maintain free space in true minimalist form.

as with most things, i fall somewhere inbetween.

having gone from a five bedroom home with just one son in a previous life, to a home half that size with a family that grew by three more people, becoming minimalist has become necessary. but, as mentioned above, it is a process and no matter how i wish it could be different (read: easier) it is not a miraculous thing to be accomplished overnight.

or even in the course of one year.

as we stay in this small house, year after year, it's not the size that bothers me or the fact that i am forced to pare down (the silver lining is that it allows me to focus on what really matters), but it is honestly the layout. the floorplan is just lousy. it is not conducive to feng shui or good energy but by cluttering it up, intentionally, i have further decreased the good creative flow.

i can say that i've been "trying" to make things better or that i've been "decluttering" for years but this year was the first that real and lasting progress was made and is still evident. i parted with about half of my wardrobe and was able to clear out an entire dresser which promptly went to a resale shop for in-store credit. i haven't gone crazy with shoes like i might have in the past - for every new pair of shoes that came in, i sold or donated a pair that i wasn't wearing. same with handbags and diaper bags. nearly every area has been subjected to the idea that for every new (or new to us) thing we bring into our home, we must get rid of at least one other thing.

still, it is a process. and for every pile of paperwork i tackle, another stacks up. for every bag of children's clothing i donate, another eventually finds its way back in as i usually cannot resist crazy good clearance deals or thrift shop finds. which brings me back to "the creative family."

i was happy to see the term "thrifting" in print since i often have to explain to people, even those that frequent thrift stores themselves, what i mean when i say it. it seems pretty self-evident, but maybe not.

i had a pattern of thought, promptly lost, when i set out to start this entry earlier this morning. since then, there have been phone calls and other interruptions. not to mention i hadn't yet finished one cup of coffee so my stream of consciousness was fuzzy, at best.

before i attempt, once again, to tie everything up in one coherent story, i'm just going end abruptly. my plan for the day was to go to thrift town to look for small pitchers and cups for pouring and sorting activities a la montessori theory and if i don't make steps towards leaving now, i never will.

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