Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 69: Why the heck do I own so many vases?


So far on my 100 days of decluttering on facebook I have given away 8 vases.  Eight. And you know what?  A quick glance around my living room reveals at least 4 more.  I had no idea that I had a thing for vases.

And the weird part is that I don't even know where most of them came from.  Stuff just kinda shows up and moves in, right?

Before this journey began, I don't think I gave much thought to what I brought into my home. Sure, I discouraged my husband from bringing home mostly broken furniture he found at the dump, and I only bought things that I thought were sort of pretty (at the moment, anyways) but I didn't really think "Hey, Kelly, do you actually need 12 vases?"  Nope, I don't remember ever asking myself that.

But I don't need 12 vases.  In fact, truth be told, I don't really need any vases.  I could put flowers in a pitcher or a mason jar.  Mason jars are minimalist workhorses. They can hold flowers, or candles, or pens, or pickled beets....talk about a multitasker!

But I digress.  My point, I suppose, is that I  am realizing that I need to start asking more questions about the items I bring home. Like "Do I need this?"  "Do I already own something that could fulfill this purpose?" "If I was moving across country and only had a couple days to pack, would I pack this item?" 

"Is this item more valuable than the otherwise empty space it will take up?"  Because space is beautiful and empty surfaces are a beckoning to play and create and share ourselves with one another.

And the big one:  "Is there something more valuable my money could go towards?"   Like, you know, food for the hungry? Or a card for a neighbour who needs to know I'm thinking of them?  Or a couple Pumpkin Spice Lattes for me and a friend while the conversation oscillates casually between the trivial and the heart-cries in that way that can only happen over a hot drink with a good friend? 


I'm actually going to keep a couple vases.  There is nothing wrong with owning something pretty to plunk your flowers in.  But I'm going to stop buying vases.  And, more importantly, I'm going to ask a lot more questions of the stuff I bring home.  I'm going to be a better curator of our possessions, because rooms with less stuff have more room for people and life and laughter.

And I'm going to treat a good friend to a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

We are doing one small thing (almost) every day for a year to create a simpler, quieter, more intentional life. Take a moment to read all About Us, check out The Rules of our year long project and sign up for our RSS feed or "like" us on facebook so that you can follow our journey to radical simplicity!

22 comments:

  1. I have to say, 12 vases made me laugh out loud. I didn't know anyone had that many vases! We use Mason Jars as well here. We did get two vases for our wedding, but they were so ornate, they didn't fit our personality. We ended up selling them in a move early on. I have thought a few times. "I'd really love a nice vase", then decided, instead, to paint the inside of a Coca Cola glass bottle. I painted two, one white and one red. The red was a major crafting fail, but the white came out perfect. It displays the flowers my daughter picks for me. :)

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  2. I have a lot of vases as well, mostly because my husband used to bring me flowers - a new vase almost every time! I collected them and thought about using them for a craft project...but that never happened. I packed them all when we moved a few months ago and wondered what the heck I would do all these! And actually, I have found uses for juts about all of them in my pantry! They hold cereals, chocolate chips, rice, candy/treats leftover from birthday parties and Halloween and stuff.

    I like the idea of clean space that you talked about in your post here. I agree, it's so much more inviting! But it's also so easy to plunk junk on and forget it. :-/ It's always a work in progress right? :)

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  3. "But I'm going to stop buying vases. And, more importantly, I'm going to ask a lot more questions of the stuff I bring home." Such good thoughts. I need to watch myself in thrift stores or after I am given flowers, because the vases are easy to stock up on then. And other things, come to think of it! Thanks, as always, for your good thoughts.

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  4. I recently picked up a few vases from the thrift shops. I like to have at least 5 around so I can gather together some flowers from the garden, add a thrift shop scarf around the neck of the vase and have a quick gift to bring when we are invited to a friend's house.

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  5. I confess that I have way more than 12 vases.

    I've been following along since you began this journey - though I don't comment much - and watching what you are doing has definitely had an effect on me.

    The last few times I've wandered into one thrift store or another, I have left empty-handed, which is quite a feat for me. I have begun to ask myself the question 'is this something I, or my loved ones, can live without?' The answer is inevitably YES.

    This has brought home to me, once again, that you can teach an old dog (or whatever it is I am) new tricks. So, thank you.

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  6. I love this idea: "rooms with less stuff have more room for people and life and laughter."
    Well said!

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    1. I agree! I was going to write the same comment! "...rooms with less stuff have more room for people and life and laughter." Beautiful. Ieva

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  7. Ironically I just used vases as an example to my kids last night when explaining what we were about to start :) Every year on Valentines day we each get a vase with flowers in it from their Daddy. I now have 30 vases from the last 14 years alone because I can't...couldn't... bring myself to give them away...and others that I have from various other places or that I have purchased myself because they are pretty. What is wrong with me? I have an entire rubbermaid containers of vases that are going to the Salvation Army on Monday.

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  8. When we moved, I think I got rid of more vases than anything else. I love getting flowers delivered to me at work, and they always come with a vase. I wonder if there's a way to donate them back to the flower shop???

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    1. I work in floral and you definitely can donate the vases back to any floral shop! We love donations and often give the donor a small thank you bouquet.

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    2. When a family member died we were given many flower arrangements and that's what I did afterwards, brought the empty vases back to the florist which they appreciated!

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  9. One nice thing about vases you already have is that you can refill them and give them away to others when they are such our need congrats our cheering our what have you. . That is how we weed out our unused extra vases

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  10. When you posted about getting rid of stuff on FB, vases were one of the first things I went through. I was so frustrated that I had an entire cabinet in my laundry room full of vases. And, I love the look of flowers in a mason jar. I, too, kept some vases, but got rid of many more. I also broke one... oops. Love your blogs! Have a good weekend.

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  11. I own only one vase I won in a contest, and it's the type that just looks pretty and can't really hold flowers, I don't think I even feel the need to buy some, on the occasion I got flowers we took the copper pitcher we use to water the plants to put them in.
    Before I buy something I usually ask myself if first I really need it, then if I am willing to spend all my time dusting it. Because dust in Mumbai settles in nasty icky layer of grayish black in a day or two, so since spending all my time dusting is really not my thing, I just keep the decorative trinkets to an absolute minimum, beside I'd rather spend the money on some of the priciest food stuff such as cheese and meat to treat myself and my family to a nice meal :-)

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  12. I questioned the towels today when I was trying to find a spot for them. I love how this blog keeps me looking at everything in my house and asking those questions: Do I really need this? Is it time to give it away?
    I'm headed to Goodwill, again.

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  13. I am new to your blog and I am enjoying it very much. I love flowers in the home and in every room. We landscaped our yard so we can do so frugally [so I have several vases]. When we moved into this house I noticed I seem to collect interesting and pretty pitchers. I kept the prettiest and most interesting [I have 9]. To help me decide which I will keep I made sure they had an alternate function and were used often. Recently we had an overseas vacation and I talked myself out of a beautiful pitcher, because I could not decide which of the one I kept would I get rid of to invite my new pitcher into my home. 2 months later and I have gotten over the ''European I just had to have'' pitcher which I chose not to get.

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  14. I bet some of those vases found their way into your home when someone sent you flowers, or at least that is how we accumulated so many. LOVE your blog.

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  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I just admitted to a friend that I am a greedy, jealous lady when it comes to finances/clothes/decor, etc. Your blog continues to challenge me to focus more on people -- not possessions -- and the Giver of all I need (need! not want!). Thank you for being God's voice in this area for me.

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  16. LOL, this must explain the vase in your header image!

    "I'm going to be a better curator of our possessions, because rooms with less stuff have more room for people and life and laughter." --> LOVE THIS

    Mason jars are the bomb. Great for growing alfalfa sprouts too.

    I second Stephie in using vases & flowers as gifts.

    Great post, thank you

    Reminds me when buying - buy for life.

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  17. I am working on dematerializing and depossessing. Thank you for your wonderful insights.

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  18. Thank you for this great reminder! I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and within one week I had two (very large) boxes for salvation army filled entirely with clothes. I then moved on to looking at everything in the rest of my house and realized the source of my problems: gifts. About 85% of the things I don't really want or need are things that have been given to us. They are often things given by family who don't seem to think twice about what they are purchasing for us. We rarely use or enjoy gifts from a few family members in particular, yet feel guilty getting rid of the items since the givers tend to look for and ask about the gifts (they seem to measure our love for them - I guess - by our appreciation of their gifts to us.) :/ And even suggesting gift ideas to them hasn't seemed to work. I have quite honestly just gotten rid of some of the things and given sly responses when asked about the item... I'd rather not have to stoop to that! Any suggestions??
    (Sorry for this being slightly off topic, but thank you in advance for any help!) :)

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