BY ANNE BELOV
August 17, 2016
Okay, Okay. I admit it. I have magpie tendencies, collecting objects that I like or that I think may have use for down the road. When you add the magpie tendencies to the packrat predilection, you have a crisis brewing.
Part of the problem is that I’ve lived in my house for going on 15 years. While it’s not a big house, it has a sufficient amount of functional storage space, or at least it did for the first eight years I lived here. I was very proud of the fact that everything (mostly) had its place and that things could live in their places, ready for when I needed them. Nothing lived on the counters or worktops in my studio, but I could lay my hands on a tool or tube of paint the moment I needed it.
Let me assure you, this is not an endorsement of a minimalist stripped down life-style. No indeedy, I love “stuff.” I love my pitchers and bowls and other objet d’yardsale that populate my paintings. I just don’t want to be one of those people who have storage units for years, because they keep accumulating things and don’t ever get rid of anything and don’t know what to do with it.
What, you may very well ask, sent me down this path to de-cluttering and simplification? That’s easily answered! Last year, right about this time, I had to make an emergency visit back east, as my mother had fallen and broken her leg, and could no longer live the semi-independent life she had been living for the last four years. My brother and I had been nervously waiting for that shoe to drop and finally it had. She moved into a nursing home and with luck, she would (and did) graduate some months later to an assisted living facility.
But it still meant a trip to clear out her apartment, gather what she would be able to keep and maintain and dispose of the rest. And do it in under 10 days.
So, it’s no wonder that, on my return, I started looking around my beloved post-industrial cottage in the woods and noticed that things had gotten just the tiniest bit out of control. Gone were the clear surfaces, the orderly studio. The readily accessible tools and materials.
I went on a bit of a bender, so to speak. I took loads of paperwork that was past the seven-year requirement for small businesses to the industrial shredder at the Coupeville Dump. (It’s a bargain! $1.50 per filled bag of shredded paper, which you can then recycle for free!) I started clearing out drawers and closets. While my good intentions did fizzle out for a while, I’m attempting to get back on the decluttering bandwagon a little bit at a time.
But let’s not go overboard here. Keep your hands off my heirloom bubble wrap collection and my proof that Stonehenge was built by pandas.
Anne Belov is a painter, printmaker and purveyor of panda satire. Her paintings can be found at The Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island and at The Fountainhead Gallery in Seattle. Her panda-focused humorous cartoons can be found on her blog, The Panda Chronicles, and her books can be found at Moonraker Books in Langley, as well as on Amazon. She is hard at work on her graphic novel: The Pandyland Mysteries: the Case of the Picturesque Panda. At least one hour a day, you can find her standing in front of a large encampment of blackberries, waving a rake and using bad language or trying to find an empty surface in her studio.
WLM stories and blogs are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Linking is permitted. To request permission to use or reprint content from this site, email firstname.lastname@example.org.