Removing the Clutter

Mary Lee Writes

In January of 2014, Mary Kathryn and I shared a two bedroom apartment in Little Rock as she recovered from surgery. That is when I became aware of the need within myself to be free of all the “trappings” and to downsize to a home that was right for me as an elderly widow.

I decided to have a sale, and the person who handled this was Roy Dudley, located in Little Rock. It was a challenging decision to open my home to the public, but I became excited during the process of living unencumbered by “things” and ignored the feelings of intrusion. Roy took the items that did not sell to Little Rock and sold most from his warehouse there.

Making a decision to sell a particular watercolor painting that I loved was difficult, though I had no place to hang it. When I was told it did not sell, I was relieved and excited. It is now hanging in Mary Kathryn’s guest bedroom, and I enjoy its beauty when I visit. Mary Kathryn  and Johnny both had the opportunity to choose anything they wanted to use to furnish their homes, and they helped me eliminate the clutter that they would never use. Mary Kathryn was busy getting settled in her apartment in Little Rock during my move. Johnny spent a week in Jonesboro helping me, and I will always be grateful for his insight and hard work.

My closet has just the clothing that I wear. I keep a large shopping bag on the floor of the closet to toss the articles that I don’t need or wear, and they are ready to take to a charitable organization.

Material objects are just that. I no longer wanted to be controlled in that way.

The irony of all this is that the piece of furniture I most wanted to sell graces my living room today. It is a huge antique breakfront purchased by my grandparents in the 1950’s. It has been moved many times and finally found its home at First Bank. When the bank became Simmons First, it was moved to our home on Harrisburg Rd., then to another home, then still another! The first thing anyone said when they walked into my new place was that the long wall in the living room was perfect for the breakfront. And it is. I am happy with it for the first time, as it embraces pieces that I cherish. I kept and display special pieces, gifts from friends or handed down by family.

One of my favorite memories is that, before we were married, John and I visited my great aunt in Jackson, Tenn. She was very ill and told us she wanted us to select a piece of her cut glass as our wedding gift. I asked John to make the choice as he loved cut glass, and I knew next to nothing about it. He brought a lovely deeply cut bowl to her bedside. She responded, “any but that piece, it was my husband’s wedding gift to me.” In later years, her son died and his belongings were left to my mother. This beautiful piece is now displayed in my home, and I remember and relive that special day in my relative’s bedroom as if it were yesterday.

This and other stories remind us “things” can be beautiful as long as they are not collected for grandiosity. A minister once told the story of his daughter calling to him as he headed for her powder room, “don’t use the show towel!”

Since my place is uncluttered, I appreciate the items that we chose to keep. I enjoy each piece more than ever because there aren’t “ten things on a table.” It’s pleasant a year after downsizing to still have some bare shelves. I can’t quite call myself a minimalist, although I am moving in that direction.

Mary Lee writes

Last year’s sale.