“Our personal treasures–the art, photos, books, and decorative objects in our home—help define us. Those objects can form the clutter of one’s house, or, through a bit of clever arrangement, they can be strung into a telling and pleasing narrative. Simply collecting is not enough; objects are like words that need to be made into meaningful sentences.”
I recently sold a small guitar that I had never played. For years, I saved it “for my kids,” only to realize that by the time they’re big enough to play it, we can buy them their own, or “for decoration,” as it really was very pretty.
I tentatively listed it for sale, and that same night, a woman and her daughter stopped by. The daughter needed a guitar of her own to practice on between lessons. She sat down and strummed a few chords, pronounced it satisfactory, and her mom gave me a handful of cash. I watched them head back to their car, the mother walking, the daughter skipping along with the new guitar case in her hand. I’d been on the fence about selling it until that moment, when I realized that the happiness the guitar bestowed upon this girl was leagues beyond any small happiness I’d derived from it.
The spot it used to occupy in our bedroom, competing with an upholstered bench, is airier now. The room feels bigger and cleaner. Sometimes I hesitate to let go of things because I worry about not having “enough,” but the truth is that letting go of the things I don’t absolutely love lends my home a more carefully-curated feel.
I want a house made up of “fewer things, but better things.” It’s a work-in-progress, of course, and always will be. But I want to surround myself with only objects which, barring an overseas move or sudden transition to hardcore minimalism, I would never consider abandoning. Certain items fit this bill: my antique perfume bottles, cherished letters from friends, the reproduction of Le bain hanging in our bathroom. Other items do not: boxes of craft ephemera, books I’ll never read again, and little blue guitars that have never been played.
My home is where I spend most of my time, and therefore, it’s crucial for me to love it. Otherwise, I’ll always wish I were somewhere else.