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Pretty Things + Stuff

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Pretty Things + Stuff

emma lamb

Between summer and work, summer and work I've had a little blogging blip... oops! Once upon a time I would have stressed over not blogging for nearly two weeks but these days I’m more go with the flow than ever. ‘Do what you love’ and ‘support what you love’ along with ‘only do what you want to be remembered for’ are my guiding mantras at the moment. My new minimalist approach to ‘stuff’ is being extrapolated into other areas of my life and thinking through these words. I can tell you that it is a very liberating experience to let go of ‘stuff’, both mental and physical stuff. Although I didn’t think this a couple of years ago when the idea of letting go filled me with fear and almost a sense of mourning. It’s such a weird emotion being so attached to so much stuff, don’t you think? I still don’t know where that emotion comes from but I do understand that even though my thinking is changing I still have an underlying need to hoard, gather and preserve stuff. I always have and I’m pretty sure I always will. It’s the creative artist in me I suppose, always gathering snippets of inspiration and wanting to file them away for future reference.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve read in countless ‘minimalist’ blog posts is to try documenting stuff you’re having trouble letting go of through digital photography. I think this is especially apt for creative types as that process could easily be turned into a creative project of inspiration sharing. It’s definitely why I love apps like Pinterest, Instagram, VSCO and my blog above all others! They let me indulge my hoarding nature in a purely visual way without being swamped by actual things. I had a debate with myself on whether this visual hoarding was as much a problem as hoarding actual objects. Yeah, seriously I did! Unfortunately there isn’t a recording of my debate but my conclusions were thus:

Firstly - it’s still hoarding. Fact. It’s still satisfying the same need to collect and store ideas, thoughts, loves and inspirations. For me it isn’t about any old stuff just that that I find pretty. Hoarding is more commonly recognised as a need to keep things because of their usefulness, an inability to disregard something because it can be seen as still having a purpose. Pretty stuff has a purpose for me, the most valuable purpose I can think of - It has the ability to inspire me!

Secondly - visual hoarding can help with some of the consequences of physical hoarding. The most notable being the claustrophobic clutter that builds up and of course the financial benefits of just not buying unnecessary things. Even if you don’t succumb to it yourself I’m sure you’re well aware of ‘buyer’s remorse’?! As a hoarder of pretty things it’s difficult to bring myself to return or pass on things even in the face of remorse because there’s an overriding feeling of potential. After an indulgent purchase I’ve often thought something along these lines - ‘That thing that I just bought... I definitely don’t need it, I’m not sure I even want it but it is beautiful and I should have it because one day I will use it. One day it will surely be just what I need for a project I haven’t yet thought of’. Totally messed up thinking, right?!

Thirdly - despite the ‘secondly’ visual hoarding can have its pitfalls, we all know how much of a time suck Pinterest can be, right?! Keeping any kind of addictive nature under control requires an element of discipline, although a lack of discipline is also the crux of the hoarding issue. It’s a fine line.

Lastly - going back to my ‘secondly’ again I think the reason why visual hoarding wins out in the end is because there are few consequences and we aren’t faced with them every moment of every day. Hoarding stuff in your home, office, wherever means you are constantly seeing the results of your actions and reminded of your inability to remedy them. Feelings of remorse can quickly turn into stress, bitterness, frustration and anxiety. I do my visual hoarding through my phone, tablet and laptop and when these devices are turned off or asleep my hoardings are out of sight and out of mind. Because I’m not being constantly faced with them I’m not developing that complex negative relationship with them, I don’t feel stressed or anxious about my bouts of self-indulgent pinning and I certainly don’t feel frustrated with the number of pins or Instagram moments I have in my stream. They don’t take up space in my mind or my life in the way that stuff used too, and to an extent still does - I’m not a completely reformed character yet!

In the beginning I used to consider my pinning habits, etc. as a bit OCD but now I better understand them as part of the magpie hoarder in me and a much more reasonable way to hoard than to fill my environment with things I don’t love. Lately I’ve even noticed that my minimalist mantras are starting to influence what and how I pin too, I’m becoming more selective. As I better understand what I want to surround myself with (or not) in the real world so I’m beginning to really hone in on what I find inspiring. Authenticity is a word that is often a word that is banded around in the blogging and creative community and while I’ve always strived to be as authentic as possible it’s only in the last few months that I’ve begun to understand what it requires to actually do that. For me it means removing unnecessary clutter and resulting stress from my life to allow me to appreciate the things I really love. It feels like the beginning of a new journey, a very personal journey and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.

Images: pretty things from my Pinterest feed today.