Ian’s “Stuff Postulates,” and Why Housecleaning Never, Ever, Ever Ends

I will here present to you, for reflection, Ian Voyles’ observations on the nature of Stuff (thanks to Mr. Voyles for his permission to reprint these here).

  1. Stuff will never fit back into the container from which it came. Ex: blenders, laptops, children
  2. Stuff, if left alone, will always revert to a state of chaos despite its inanimate nature.
  3. Stuff will gather and reproduce despite its inanimate nature.
  4. Stuff will always be both simpler and more complex than originally perceived. Ex: cars, plumbing, women
  5. Stuff will expand to fill a given space, but it will not contract.

This explains why the house is never clean, why pattern envelopes ALWAYS morph into gallon-size Ziplocs, and why Jonathan’s clothes refuse to fit back into the drawer from whence they came.

I’ve been trying to weed things out recently, inspired by my favorite decorating blog, Small Notebook.  Rachel Meeks, the author of Small Notebook, made the obvious (but too often overlooked) statement that “the way to have a home with the stuff you really like is to keep only the stuff you like.”  Goodbye, necklace from middle school (your plating is starting to fade).  Goodbye, favorite dress from high school (at 23, weight starts to….um…shift around, and even if things still fit, they aren’t as nice as they used to be). Goodbye, hideous gift from three years ago (you were only kept out of guilt).

My Moomer always advises to “bless someone else with it.”  If you’re having trouble parting with that blue porcelain zebra from Aunt Tessie, just remember that someone else may have decorated their house in a jungle theme. If you donate it to your local thrift store, that person just might get some enjoyment out of it. And the thrift store will give the money to the needy or to missions.  And you get rid of the zebra, so everyone wins.

If it’s clothing and you don’t love it, get rid of it right away, while it might still be somewhat fashionable.  Do not let it languish in the closet for ten years until it’s of no use to anyone.

If it doesn’t make you happy, then it doesn’t matter how much you or anyone else paid for it (whether you’re keeping it because it’s expensive, or you’re keeping it because it was such a steal). It even (gasp!) doesn’t matter that it’s vintage.  If it’s nice, then it won’t be wasted — someone else will appreciate more than you do. JUST GET RID OF IT.

Now I’m off to take my own advice.  Of course, this won’t do me much good if I can’t make myself stop buying cool stuff at the flea market — but those two 135-year-old platters were only $5 each!  But I’ve already got two boxes sitting by the front door ready to leave — let’s see if we can fill two more!

And I come back to the post to leave you with a concluding directive: If the shoes hurt, they must go. I don’t care if they’re adorable and you got them on clearance for $2.50 [as I carry that particular pair of shoes to the Box].

About Charity

I have an inexcusable number of cookbooks (and like to experiment with them), have worked in architectural antiques, and have been sewing most of my life. I recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Apparel, Merchandising, & Design from Iowa State University. Doing household things (except for cleaning!) and hunting for antiques are my favorite pastimes.
This entry was posted in Mrs. Armstead's Household Guide, Organization. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ian’s “Stuff Postulates,” and Why Housecleaning Never, Ever, Ever Ends

  1. Jade says:

    Like, like, like, like, like!

    Now, if I can only follow your advice… (I can make myself not buy things, but boy do I have issues ridding myself of anything…)

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