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Stuff & More Stuff


In the 1990s it was the custom to decorate in layers. What does that mean? It was the concept of layering fabric, layering trays on ottomans. pillows on sofas, many photos and objects on table tops. It was a lush, Ralph Lauren look. Rich fabrics, draped tables and trim on curtains.

Today the look is very different. It is a clean, industrial look. In lieu of curtains, shades. Instead of soft and comfy furniture, clean, monochromatic styles. No crowded tabletops, bare surfaces with no clutter.

I am in the process of moving out of New York City. I move from an apartment I have owned for more than twenty years. It is a one bedroom, first a pied-a-terre then, for the last five years, my main abode. I enjoyed decorating it many years ago and still love the space. It is comfortable, familiar and the upholstery is fraying,

Now I am moving on and must prepare to put the apartment on the market. Chore one, to remove all photographs (of which I have many as I am a photographer and love my images), clean all tabletops, bookcases and counters - in short, a total sweep. That plus clearing the many corners where I have stowed the rest of my belongings.

How much can one collect in a small apartment? Apparently an enormous amount. Enough to fill two basement bins (one of which I borrowed from a kind neighbor). Bags and bags. Boxes and boxes. And the move has not yet begun I am not only amazed but, for the moment, overwhelmed at the amount of stuff I have amassed.

I must also confess that I have two storage units in a warehouse in Stamford filled with furniture and more boxes. It is my intention to empty both the bins and the units on this move.

I really like my newly uncluttered apartment. It feels as though I can breathe more easily. The look is clean and brings a new sense of serenity and calm. There are no distractions to the eye. I think I would like to adopt this look in my new space.

I will move to Connecticut, to an apartment not much larger than my present one. It is new and very modern. Sleek and industrial with lots and lots of light. A smart home (which may prove another a fun challenge). I do have an extra room and plenty of closets but, most certainly, not a home with lots of available storage.

When I left my country house, I hired a wonderful team to help me with my stuff.. We would go into a room, pull everything out of the drawers and the closets, place the contents on the floor. We them put them in piles - children, storage charity.

We were working in a guest room when I unexpectedly burst into tears. I just started to cry for who knows why. Kim told me not to worry. She shared that this happens often as she helps people move. Most of us are wedded to our things. True as well for me, it appears, on an unknown subconscious level.

Stuff. This will be my primary focus for the next few months. How to sort it, use it, move it, to where? The names of the new piles have changed: children, grandchildren, the auction house, Goodwill Industries.

It will demand much letting go. My intellect tells me that it is important to do and no big deal. Things do no good sitting in a storage bin, they should be appreciated and used. But will I be able to let go with ease? Do things still soothe some part of me? It will be an interesting challenge and journey.

Belongings. Letting go. Moving to a simpler lifestyle. Downsizing. I will keep you posted.