Useful or Beautiful.

Operation: Bedroom Sanctuary is still on-going, and taking rather longer than I’d anticipated. In order to decide what to keep and what to throw away, I usually turn to the well known William Morris quote: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

The problem with this, is that I think that everything is potentially useful and I hate waste so I find it very difficult to throw anything away. It’s part of being a scanner to find many things interesting, which means that I have things lying around as part of various projects and LOTS of half finished or still to be read books and  magazines. Which leads to this:

Beside my bed.

Oh dear. On the upside, despite the stack of stuff lying on the floor, inside the bedside cabinet has been completely sorted out and I’ve found lots of things that I’d forgotten about.

Rediscovered treasures

So, what do we have here? The tiny ID bands that my daughter wore in hospital. Some vintage earrings and a knitted corsage. A badge of the moon from The Mighty Boosh live tour, and a ticket from the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. The wristbands are now in a safe place and the earrings are in my jewellery box ready to wear. I still have to decide what to do with the other things.

More discoveries.

Here we have a ticket for the Natural History Museum in Paris, the key pass for my New York hotel, and a little poem card from the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, where we stayed as part of our honeymoon, together with a champagne cork from goodness knows when, and my VTCT membership from my massage qualification.

So, now I have lots of little clutter-causing things that I’m not sure what to do with. Back to William Morris then. Are these things useful? Apart from my VTCT card, no they are not. Beautiful? No, not on the whole. However, I think I need to add a third point to his quote: what does it mean to me emotionally?

I have decided that the perfect solution for some of these small things is to to invest in a couple of shadow boxes such as this one from Cox and Cox, which I am planning to buy and add to the bedroom. So, I’m not going to get rid of the emotional clutter but it will be displayed beautifully rather than left lost and forgotten in a drawer.

To see where the inspiration for Operation: Bedroom Sanctuary came from, you need to visit A Hell of A Woman, who began her 12 Days of Buffy challenge, along with Chapters of Claire, Minibreak Mummy and Made By Tamsin. Although they’re all streets ahead of me with this organising lark, and have now finished the challenge…

12 Responses to Useful or Beautiful.

  1. Well done you. I think you’re right, I’m definitely a scanner! I’m also emotionally attached to so many strange things that I need to just take bull by horns and sort and display or put away. I worry endlessly that I don’t document things for my children enough but at the same time still haven’t put the twins first year photos in the albums. Think I feel a New Year’s resolution coming on.

    • scannermum says:

      I know how you feel about documenting the kids things – I have piles of art work waiting for me to do something with them, not to mention photographs. I’ve started just making photos straight into books using my Iphoto application (Blurb or Bob books do similar) rather than printing the photos and then forgetting to put them into albums, it save me a step of organising!

  2. Lovely post, and thanks for the mention. Though I haven’t actually finished…

    Shadow boxes are a nice idea. For tiny items, another option is a wooden printers tray.

    For small things that you want to keep but not display, leather collar boxes and cigar boxes or other small wooden boxes are good. I’m going to do a Magpie Monday post about my boxes at some point.

    And for books – get as many shelves as you can fit in your house! And put the books near to where you’re likely to read them (e.g. cookbooks in your kitchen, or next to your kitchen if the kitchen is small like ours). That way you can keep the pile by your bed relatively small.

    • scannermum says:

      Oh, I’m quite glad you haven’t finished – at least I’m not the only one! 🙂
      Thank you for the tips, I’d love a printers tray, that would be beautiful for the little things I’ve got and I DEFINITELY need more shelves and storage. In fact I’ve spent a lot of the morning looking at various options online. I used to spend so much more time pootling around antique fairs to find things like that, but these days it would be such a luxury! I look forward to reading your post about your boxes with interest to see if I can pick up some of your style…

  3. Don’t know about the rest of it but I do think that piles of books like yours are beautiful. In my next life I am going to have a house big enough for lots of bookshelves and space between them to pile up yet more books. Polly

    • scannermum says:

      Lots more bookshelves would be a wonderful thing. I had to give away lots of my books when we had the kids as we just ran out of space and it really upset me. I don’t really mind the piles of books, but I do feel guilty that many of them remain unread! I suppose that’s another resolution…

  4. Olga says:

    I was going to suggest a shadow box, when I saw the second photo – you beat me to that idea!

    Good luck with it 😀

  5. Olga says:

    Also, I think ‘beautiful’ in the William Morris context includes emotional significance, because such things have an intrinsic beauty. IMHO 😉

  6. I think your idea of using shadow boxes to display all your trinkets is a great one! What a fabulous way to turn all those little memories into something that is both eyecatching and full of nostalgia x

  7. Hills says:

    Take a photo of all the emotional things and put them in an emotional things album. Then dispose of the actual items. The beautiful emotions they avoke are kept within you, not in the things themselves, they are only a visual stimulus. You won’t lose the lovely memories and there will be less clutter.

    • scannermum says:

      You’re a wise woman, Hills. It’s silly really, because many of the things I still have, such as the hotel bits and pieces, are all linked to holidays that are very well documented through photos! I think I should get rid of everything like that, for a start.

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