But I recently re-read Gretchen Rubin's excellent book, The Happiness Project, and one of her resolutions in her year-long quest to be happier was to "Spend Out," in which she offers two seemingly contradictory ways in which to do so: stop hoarding and let things go. I could write an obnoxiously long post about how these could apply to my own life, but this particular resolution recently manifested itself in one little way that I love a lot.
So, like I said, I tend to save/hoard stuff, and when we were moving into our house and I had the chance to redecorate several spaces, I wanted everything to be just right. One spot in particular, an empty shelf over the refrigerator, plagued me... (how pathetically easy is my life that a shelf is considered a plague? First world problems, I know.) I thought about using the shelf for storage- aka all the random stuff that wouldn't fit in the pantry- but I knew that would become an eyesore and I despise visible clutter. (My dresser drawers might be another story.)
L-R: Hobby Lobby, Target, Pioneer Woman at Walmart
But I also had a few pretty little things that I was trying to place around the kitchen, and my old tendencies popped up again- I wanted to "save" them. Why banish them up to this shelf when they could be displayed more prominently? (Mind you, very few people come to my house, so it's not like I'm trotting out this stuff for the whole neighborhood to see.) But then I remembered Gretchen's advice to "spend out." I could keep these items on the counter, waiting for the right spot, and I could junk up my shelf with the cake stand I never use (ha!) OR I could make that space pretty and not something that would make me cringe every time I look at it.
This seems like a simple thing and not worthy of a blog post, but it's something I've been thinking a lot about. Spending out, in terms of my house, means putting thought and effort into spaces that no one else might see but that I look at every day, so why not make them nice/organized/pretty? Perhaps clutter and haphazard storage solutions shouldn't bother me, but over time the tiny little irritations they spark add up. (See also: Jonathan's nightstand situation. Don't get me started. Ha!) Anyway, this shelf, besides holding some of my favorite pieces I've purchased for the house, is a daily reminder to spend out. Life's too short for your favorite shoes, or new bag, or books or whatever to sit and collect dust for no reason. Use them! (Sadly, learning this lesson years ago would have helped prevent me from somehow accumulating a drawer's worth of unused stationery and a stack of unframed pictures.)
Also, if you need practice using things up, I suggest starting with chocolate chip cookies. There's no need to ever save those.