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The Queen of Kitsch: Simplifying and meaning it

Remember when the term ďsimplifyĒ gained popularity? We all nabbed ó or made ó hand-painted signs declaring to the high heavens that we were simplifying our lives. This meant clutter, less commitments and at least in our head more room in our closet to adore the vacuous space left behind from the clothing we would donate. Did we all live our new-found favorite word? I can only speak for myself.

Iíve always been a kitschy decorator: knickknacks, funky junk, gleaned trash, repurposed bric-a-brac.

If thereís an adjective to describe the minutiae I adore, I will find it and say it proudly. But something happened somewhere in between my 40th and 48th year that left me and my baubles and trifles reeling. I stopped caring about them. My shelves groaned with the fiery colors of fiesta ware and their alternate soft pastels.

I had 25 small pitchers in varying shades that spoke to me softly where they were perched on my kitchen shelf. Alternatively the 15 small mirrors that I owned ó gold and silver gilt-adorned ó stopped reflecting someone that needed them in life.

I had broken the barrier of whatnot-collecting, and my spaces were longing to be free.

Where does one turn when oneís entire life has consisted of repurposing and shopping at places where paint, rubbed-on antiquing stain and sandpaper were the key to turning a purchase into a sustainable piece? For me it meant sell, sell, sell.

Iím not only a garage sale queen in thrifty purchases, but Iím a hardened seller as well. I like to look someone in the eye and know that when theyíre trying to lowball me on a solid price that I have the wherewithal to stand firm. I gained this knowledge from years and years of tag sale selling, and it is an art form.

So I sold. My house slowly emptied of things that no longer spoke to me of their beauty, and I eventually whittled down my wares. I donít miss my things, and I donít want to replace them. Iíve come to a place in my life where if I wanted to pick up and leave and move to a shack on a tropical coast, I could. My things wouldnít hold me, only the tangible sway of the people I love.

My house and home is a haven, a place to rest and recharge in. It isnít a museum that holds pieces so valuable yet untouchable. I have a couch to sit on with my love, some pillows that are soft and a few cherished things that hang on the wall. I donít move them around a lot, redecorating constantly, and I find that Iím content with the vibe Iíve created in my empty nest home.

What beckons me now ó more than things ó is the far-off pull of distant places, the siren song of tiny shops we have yet to haunt, and delectable foods and flavors that have yet to settle on my tongue. Even if I never get to them and what they hold, I know my home ó and what remains inside of it ó is a better fit for me at this middling stage of my life.

Serenity is found in the state of oneís mind, not the content of oneís home. Even though I enjoy the things I have, it isnít what makes me happy. Iíve often wondered why I dislike painting new rooms, updating wares or simply hanging a new grouping of pictures. I believe itís because Iím fulfilled, loved and comfortable in my skin.

For me ó and I can only speak for myself ó constantly shuffling the contents of my home and replacing things makes for a harried brain. I would feel that itís always on to the next fad or trend, leaving no space to settle comfortably with what I have now.

I have a picture of a famous painting that I bought for 25 cents at a thrift store. Somewhere along the way I stuck it inside a large, ornate frame I scored for $1 at a yard sale. I love that picture, and itís remained in my living room for nearly 21 years now, hanging on a wall painted with a color that soothes me, a color I love.

Itís a constant reminder that I donít have to remove things that bring me joy simply to stay relevant, but that I do need to remove things that take away my joy. For me thatís making space inside myself to breathe. To me thatís simplifying.

Published: March 12, 2017
New Article ID: 2017703129981