Thursday, 16 February 2012

You wanna be starting something...

I skipped Mission: Declutter this weekend. We were busy being sociable and responsible. We barely got in a few dedicated hours of couch time, let alone make time for clearing out another cubby hole of stuff.

However, the mission recommenced on Wednesday. The temperature reached pre-spring levels and the few rays of sunshine inspired me to open all the windows in the house and get down to a little cleaning and de-cluttering.

I skipped the bedroom. I know it is up next, but I just can't bear the thought of going through all those clothes again. Plus my allergies are acting up and the dust in there is reaching dangerous levels. Best to leave it for another day. (I can just hear my mom flipping through the family dictionary in search of the P-R-O-C-R-A-S section.)

I did, however, dig out the vacuum cleaner and and attack the floors of the flat. This required first dealing with the huge, overflowing IKEA bag living on top of the vacuum. This bag is the result of the last closet clear-out. To make a long, tedious story short, the big bag is now divided into four smaller bags, each labelled with its destination and currently living in the front hall so they can't be ignored for more than a few days.

I must admit I have ulterior motives for the clear-out. Yes, it is needed and yes, it goes a bit of the way toward dealing with my desire for complete overhaul every few years, but I was also hoping I would unearth some inspiration.

I have long believed that objects can tell stories and that some objects are better receptacles of memory than any scrapbook or shoebox or text or even brain cells. We make a point of filling our little home with things from our travels and adventures with the hope of someday having the opportunity to tell the stories of each little item.

Fast-forward, present day. We have loads of items we cannot part with because they have a memory. They have a story. A lot of these items are pieces of clothing. They remind us (me)of a past identity or experience. I have a particular halter-top I have not worn since 2005 but cannot give away because I was wearing it when I met Pete. I have a pair of cargo-pants I never wear but cannot give away because I bought them when I was with the circus. I have a corduroy skirt I haven't worn in years I cannot give away because someone told me I looked professor-chic once.

What do I do with these items? Suck it up and send them on their way? Write their stories here and hope they maintain? No. So much of their power is in the tactile.

I have decided I will re-purpose these items. I will make quilts and pillows and whatever else. Maybe I will get really ambitious and reupholster something. I will hold the story of each piece in my mind as I give it a new life and a new purpose in my life.

Of course this means they will continue to hang around the house and I will add to our already superfluous collection of blankets and pillows. I do love a good duvet and pillow. (Seriously, Pete has a series of photos of me curled under the duvet.)

But the story is no good without an audience to share in its telling. Who's with me? I have a vision of sitting around with good friends and good wine and scraps of clothes, telling stories, creating stories. Swearing up a storm and ripping seams.

Of course this isn't likely to happen in real life, but it could happen virtually. So I ask again, who's with me? Can we create a virtual sewing circle? A stitch 'n' bitch? Heavy on the bitching, light on the stitching until we get a bit better. Can we reclaim a bit of the power and joy of the domestic? (she cries, brandishing the cooking shears in one hand, because they are the best scissors in the house and a pair of ratty jeans in the other, in a kind of domestic, barbaric yawp)


Well, I will be here. Attempting straight seams and cursing my high school guidance counsellor.

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