My Costume Jewelry, A Collage, A Laugh… and Two Organizational Tips

image

Organizational Tip # 1:

As a formerly messy person who (long ago) decluttered her home and became quite organized, I have learned a lot over the years about how to stay organized.  One simple thing I’ve noticed that really helps me keep my space (at work and at home) looking good is this: wherever little pockets of clutter build up, that’s exactly where there is a storage need that has to be addressed.

Whenever I start to notice that there is an area in the house, or in my workspace, where “stuff” starts to build up, I pay attention.  What kind of stuff is it?  Do I need it?  If yes, what would be the easiest way to keep it organized?

Usually, the place where that clutter builds up is also the most logical place to create the storage solution.  Maybe this is really obvious to some people, but it took me a while to figure this out.  And boy does it have its benefits.

The (Unexpected) Benefits of Organizing My Costume Jewelry:

image

Recently, I noticed that my jewelry was collecting messily on top of my dresser.  My old system was clearly not working anymore, so I decided to reorganize it.  I wasn’t particularly creative about my new system, and maybe at some point I will beautify it more, but I will give myself credit – I sure was practical.

I bought an elegant black jewelry tree for 15.00$ (What a deal!  And I wound up buying a second one, too, when I realized just how much jewelry was stored in my boxes on a shelf).  I spent quite a few hours sorting through all of my old jewelry, but when I was done, I had a real sense of satisfaction.


image

First, there were the obvious benefits:

– I’ve cleared out more space on my shelves.

– The top of my dresser now feels oh-so-zen.

– It is easy to find the jewelry that I want to wear.  Bonus:  It isn’t tangled up in a big knot!

Usually, I don’t wear much jewelry.  I just have a couple of earrings that I like, a couple of necklaces, and I wear them on shuffle and repeat. But after organizing all of my old jewelry, I discovered the following…

unexpected benefits:

– I found some fun pieces that I had completely forgotten about.

– I found some cool thrift store finds from my university days that I had never even worn.

– Most surprisingly, it is amazing to me how by adding one accessory, I can tie together an outfit that might not have worked without it.  Having all of these forgotten pieces of jewelry out in the open where I can remember I have them has made dressing in the mornings way more fun!

– I’ve saved money!  I have more outfit combinations, and I don’t need to buy much jewelry!

As you can see, organizing something as simple as my jewelry has helped change the way I feel about my bedroom, and it’s helped me get more creative… and not only with my wardrobe.

Another unexpected benefit:

–  There was also a small portion of jewelry that was not wearable (broken in a small way), but still had fun designs and colours. Those pieces went into a plastic ziplock bag, and into my studio.  On the day after I decluttered, I used some of that old, damaged jewelry to make a collage.  It wasn’t the first time I’ve used old jewelry in my art, but it sure was fun.

image

By the way, I called my little collage “The Tragic Transformation”.  Can you guess why?  It’s a bit of a statement on our culture of consumption. The comedy stand-up routine by Seinfeld (below) actually explains my thinking behind the piece.  It’s a pretty funny bit, but the message is quite thought-provoking.

Organizational tip # 2: 

Seinfeld says in the stand-up routine linked below, “All things on earth only exist in different stages of becoming garbage.  [Our] homes are a garbage processing centre where [we] buy new things, bring them into our houses, and slowly ‘crappify’ them over time…”.

That is part of the reason why, whenever I declutter and organize, I am reminded of the most important tip for keeping clutter to a minimum:  It’s a good idea to be aware of what I bring into my house in the first place, and buy less stuff to begin with.  

The less stuff we buy, the less resources from nature that we use and the less garbage we create.  

A Laugh…

 

From The Fence I’d Catch The Wind.

image

I remember when I was little, maybe 4 or 5 years old, one particularly windy day.  The gusts were strong enough to catch my breath slightly, and offer resistance when I leaned forward.  It quickly occurred to me that this might finally be my chance to learn how to fly.

I climbed onto the ledge of our fence and leapt off with all my might, trying to catch the wind, convinced that it was strong enough to support my weight and take me on at least a short flight.  In my imagination, I could see and feel what it would be like – the sensation of air all around me, and the delightful dip in my stomach as I swooped upwards and downwards.

image
A spontaneous sketch, quickly drawn one morning upon waking (Dec 8, 2013).

I don’t know for how long I tried, but I kept at it again and again before finally sensing, with some disbelief, the futility of my efforts.  Undefeated, I decided that maybe it was necessary to wait for a windier day.  Decades have passed, and I chuckle when I think back on that moment, but the truth is that I still love flight (…although I’ve accepted it is easier done as a passenger on an airplane).

The last time I flew was this past month, January.  This flight was different, though.  I was on my way home after my dad’s funeral, and my childhood felt far away.

image

image

When I booked the ticket, I hadn’t  looked that carefully, and failed to realize that I would be flying on a turboprop (instead of a jet).  The experience of flying on a turboprop turned out to be unique from flying on a jet.

I had paid extra for a window seat, but soon discovered that the propeller was pretty much right outside my window, and the seat was rather crammed.

image

I also noticed that the vibrations from the engine were definitely stronger than on a jet.  I didn’t mind, though, because it increased the sensation of take off and landing, which I always find exhilarating.

image

The biggest difference between a jet and a turboprop, though, was that this plane flew lower and slower, so the trip took longer.  Interestingly, this turned out to be exactly what made the flight special.

Why?  The sky was clear and it was around sunset, so flying lower and slower, I could see the details of the world below in a way that one can’t from up at 38,000 feet in the air, like on a big 747 jet.  With my cell phone on airplane mode, I took pictures of the view.

image

image

Months ago, in late October of 2015, I flew to Edmonton to see my father when he was placed under palliative care. He was thinner than I can describe, and he could hardly speak, but still managed a couple of wisecracks to make me laugh.  I remember the morning that I was heading back home to Winnipeg, after that visit.  It was something like 5:00 am.  I sat at the airport alone, tears streaming down my face.  I knew it was probably the last time I’d see my dad, and I was right.

He died early in December.  The funeral was held in January.

image

image

On my flight home after the funeral, despite my sadness, I found myself also feeling reverence.  Reverence for this incredible, fleeting gift of life.  Reverence for that very moment, looking out that tiny window at the beautiful world bathed in the pink light of the dying day, as I flew above it all on an 18,000 Kg piece of metal.

image

image

Last year, in 2015, I lost an aunt, my father in law, and my own father.  (Our two family pets also died.)

It was a hard year, but loss – like all difficult experiences, really-  has a lot to teach us.

In a recent interview with The Cancer Society, Blogger Christopher Foster (more than 80 years of age) expressed one of the key lessons he’d learned as a cancer survivor: “I think that, in trying to suppress my fear, I suppressed my joy.  Conversely, now that I’m facing the fear–the joy has been increasing. I’m a pretty happy guy now.”  That simple idea succinctly touches on a profound truth.  Numbing ourselves from sorrow or fear results in numbing ourselves from joy.  Learning to face the full range of emotions that life inspires helps to make us stronger, and lead richer lives.

image

Today, I want to leave you with these words by author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross from the book, “To Live Until We Die”.  I found the book in October, on a cart of free give-aways at the library.  I didn’t read the whole book, just a few chapters, but loved her closing words:

“… To love means never to be afraid of the windstorms of life.  Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their carvings… [People benefit from learning to] expose themselves to these windstorms, so that at the end of their own days, they will be proud to look in the mirror and be pleased with the carvings of their own canyon.”

image