Mr Morris

Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
~William Morris (1834-1896)

Clean.  Clear.  Declutter.  Edit.  Re-edit.  Recycle.  Amalgamate.  Store.

Spring cleans always provide a nostalgic, sometimes horrifying (I wore that?!) ride.  Even more so when the clutter dates back decades to childhood.  Mr Morris’ quote sets out useful criteria for a sentimental hoarder such as myself.  Additionally, I’m holding onto the creed that your things should reflect who you are.  Things not doing so and claiming space in your home (and your life!) should be let go.

It was a stocktake that began in the months before I left London; a stressful, sometimes haphazard, frantic process to reduce seven years’ of clutter to things encapsulating my time in London for shipment to Melbourne.  Interestingly, a London friend, La Finch, declutters whenever she could.  She’s a minimalist gal, and given the space constraints in her London flat, it was a necessarily constant activity.  I don’t think I could ever do it on a frequent basis.  I like letting things lie, and seeing how and where my feelings for them develop.

There are a number of things I got rid off in London which I regret.  But still, precious space is a fair exchange.  Most of my current Melbourne detritus is hitting charity shops and ebay.  But a few items – long-forgotten but happily rediscovered – have made the cut.

My mother's intricately beaded cardigan.

An intricately beaded cardigan which belonged to my mother.


A Hello Kitty table mirror.

A Hello Kitty table mirror.


Small chinese crochet dolls.

A set of small chinese crocheted dolls.


4 Comments to “Mr Morris”

  1. I should declutter much more often! Especially if I were to follow the rule about only having things of beauty.
    That beaded cardigan is certainly a thing of beauty. I hope that you will wear it this winter.

  2. Thank you – yes, I have been wearing it for Melbourne’s winter. And hope to do so for spring.

  3. The Chinese dolls look intriguing and well crafted. I like William Morris’s quote but fail to apply it myself. I find it not so easy to get rid of some of old “treasured” possessions, some of which it would be exaggerated to call either useful or beautiful.

  4. Well I rather think some people are real hard-core hoarders. I used to be, until space became a premium, and it was costly to move things around (and back to Australia). And now, I just love a good declutter! Douglas Coupland on his house in an interview with last weekend’s Guardian:

    ‘It’s two decades worth of accumulated personal projects. Yeah, it is pretty dense in my house.” Coupland lives in the woods near Vancouver, and can never discard a project, he explains, “because an object is interesting because it’s the crystallisation of a good idea. And I like being surrounded by good ideas. Every single time you walk past something you like, you get a blast of happy chemicals to the brain, and I like that.” Moments later, he mentions that things have got so crowded at home that he has had to buy the house behind his, just to have somewhere for people to come for dinner without banging their heads.’

    So perhaps if you don’t declutter, just buy the house next door!

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