Monday, November 21, 2011

Duel with Dust

Thoreau said SIMPLIFY! He thought if anything caused you to spend time cleaning it or caring for it, throw it out. Sounds good to me, but then again I can’t part with a lot of my “stuff”. What I have done is get careless with taking care of it. So many of us around here since that F5 tornado realize that stuff is just stuff, and it can be taken from you in a matter of seconds.

My mother kept a chest in our utility room where she stored drawers full of table linens and hand-crocheted pieces by her grandmother. She never used them, and to be fair she had a small house with rumbustious kids and dogs. (However, that very chest was to burn in a house fire a few years ago…what a waste of pleasures went up in smoke.) When I got old enough to be left at home alone, I would go to that chest and unfold the beauties, feel their richness, admire their color, and appreciate their workmanship. I said if I ever had a home of my own I would use my things. I have kept my word for the most part, which means some stained pieces or some broken porcelain. But things were meant to be used. Nothing more moving than buying a cup and saucer that was loved by some other women in her toasty kitchen before your own hands caressed the same china.

The other day some of us were discussing household dusting or the lack of it. One gal said she no longer lifts a doily but merely dusts around it. Another has removed things that need to be dusted. My own solution is to never move anything because then you can see where the dust starts and stops! Just don’t touch a thing and everyone glances over the dust! One of my grandmothers took that a step further. She never dusted or cleaned much. When things got too bad, she said it was time to paint. We all knew that when a refurbishing of paint or wallpaper started, it meant Grandma thought it was time to “clean”.

My mother-in-law, who was an artist, told me to leave the dishes in the sink, ignore the house chores and go paint, write, or be creative. I never could do that. The work had to be done first before I “played” and the result was not much fun time because the work never ended for a mom. She, however, could walk away from household burdens. Lately, I have been able to at least ignore that dust!

Despite trying to minimize dustable things in my house and trying to avoid flea markets, I still fall prey to collectibles. This last week after my Tai Chi and Tea class, my friends and I drove by an estate sale. The car nosed into a parking place by the curb before we knew what was happening! Items were priced fairly but not cheap inside the little bungalow. The other gals found things, but I ignored items calling my name. Until—I saw this master knife rest. Wow, I didn’t have a master one (like I needed it!). The crystal was so pretty, the light bouncing off the cuts. Well gee, I guess it won’t take TOO much dusting will it?

What about you? How do you fight the Duel with Dust?


Ames said...

That chore belongs to my husband. When I see it getting noticable, I say it's time to dust and he does it. Did I say I hate to dust. I will say that I have cut down to no dust catchers. I got rid of a lot and the stuff I really like is behind glass. My inlaws come over and wonder why our house looks so bare. I always tell them, you can own stuff or it can own you, and I'd rather it not. It seems a waste of time to see people with tons of stuff sitting about and having to start at one end of the house dusting and by the time they get to the other end it's time to start over again. Who wants to spend their life dusting. Not me!!:)~Ames

Lynn said...

Loved your post. I had to laugh when you said you don't touch the dust... he he he I've done that myself! Things are made to enjoy... so long as we don't get too attached and they become our life, because you're right, they can be taken away in seconds.

And like you, I feel like I have to do all the work too before I can "create" however, I have been working on this and it's getting easier... guess so--I see dust all over the place!

irishoma said...

Great post, Claudia. I wish someone kept my grandma's old doileys. They were works of art. I try to ignore the dust and am seriously trying to eliminate clutter, but I'm not having much success.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Oh, man, can I ever relate! When my kids were little I spent a ridiculous amount of time cleaning. What a waste of precious moments! I really let things slide these days, I'm afraid. My mother-in-law once told me if she couldn't use a snowblower on something then it didn't need dusting. LOL

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia, Where does it all come from? I am with you, just don't move the stuff. Beautiful knife rest.