Saturday, October 18, 2008


I save a lot of "stuff". I cut out pieces of paper and collect them because they look like something I could make something out of...sometime....I have tried to organize by stuff by color, by size, in various sizes and types of envelopes. I have tried filing cabinets, shelves, shoe boxes, clear page protectors, baskets, crates, boxes, rubbermaid totes, ziploc bags...all to no avail. I try to share my stuff with my students, but they really mess up my stuff and I cringe when they use some of my particularly good stuff, because about the time I share it, I wish I would have it for something. I can not look through a magazine with out tearing out good "stuff" and adding it to my pile to sort someday. I see treasures in newspapers, books, broken jewelry, old postcards, buttons, ribbons, and paper....that is another story. I LOVE scrapbooking paper, oh, and stickers, and letters, and cool tubes of glue and rubber stamps and distressing ink. I even have articles I have torn out, such as: "The Curse of Clutter" and "Too Much Stuff". Now, where did I put them? They are with my stuff somewhere. Part of my obsession is my creative side, wanting to create all the time. Those of you who know me know that I really CAN make things out of very little, and many of my treasures do end up in some creation or other. I love to give away things I have made with my treasures and let others see the value in keeping so much stuff. The kids at school love to dig through my stuff, but as I said...digging means messing up my system! My mom was a craft lady, but she was so good at sharing. If you needed a button, certain color of thread or yarn or a small dowel or piece of fabric or lace....she was the one to go to. She had all of her stuff sorted and she could go right to the correct box, clearly marked, and she was more than willing to share. In her last days with us, I was given the task of finding her stuff and sharing her stuff.....denim to the lady who makes rugs, fleece to the ladies who make layettes to send overseas, crafts for the ladies at church for their fall bazaar,and gift bags for her closest friends. When she left, I was given the job of sharing all the rest of her stuff. I laid it out and told the kids and grandkids to take what they wanted, I called the girl scouts, the sunday school teachers, and took some of the stuff home. I used some of her stuff to finish up a last earthly treasure for my brothers and sisters that Christmas, and the rest, she had willed to me and my art students. I have shared and shared her stuff. Sorry Mom, but your neatly organized shoeboxes, clearly labeled, are no longer so neat, but many, many students have made new treasures out of your treasures. I smile when they take their treasure home....happy to share their gift with another. I think another part of my collecting treasures is the nostalgia I feel when I see something that may have been from the past. I have a need to keep the past with me. It is creative fate that every once in a while we must say goodbye to parts and pieces of our collection. The cool thing is....when you share, you really do make room for even cooler stuff!!! My mom and sisters had this writing that was passed back and forth and round and round. I found it today in my stuff. Enjoy!

Every fall, I stir my stuff. There is closet stuff, drawer stuff, attic stuff and basement stuff. I separate the good stuff from the bad stuff, then I stuff the bad stuff somewhere that is not too crowded until I have to decide if I will need this bad stuff any longer. When the Lord calls me home, my children will want the good stuff, but the bad stuff, stuffed everywhere there is room, will be stuffed in bags and taken somewhere where other peoples' stuff is, or it may be shared with others who don't have enough stuff of their own. When we have company, they always bring bags of stuff. I have to move my stuff to make room for their stuff. When I go to someone elses house, they have to move their stuff to make room for my stuff, but wouldn't it just be easier to use their stuff and leave my stuff at home? Some of us even build extra closets to have a place to put stuff too good to throw away. I seem to spend a lot of time with stuff...good stuff, cleaning stuff, gardening stuff, dirty stuff and outside stuff. What would like be like if we didn't have this stuff? There is the stuff we use to make us smell better, to make our hair look good, stuff to make us look younger, stuff to make us healthier, stuff to hold us in, and stuff to fill us out. There's stuff to read, stuff to play with, stuff to entertain us and stuff to eat. Sometimes we stuff ourselves with too much food stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, little stuff, big stuff, useful stuff, junky stuff....everyone has stuff. When we leave our stuff and go to heaven, whatever happens to our stuff won't matter. We will have the good stuff God has prepared for us in heaven.


Diane said...

Hi Carol,
You are talking to your "sister" here in regards to being a stuff collector. Some people think I'm all about clutter but I try to convince myself and others I am organized, in my own way.
I usually tell people it's genetic, my parents are collectors but we art teachers know it's our passion. So to one passionate art teacher to another, keep on collecting and creating!

Deb Richarz said...

It's not just art people. I have lots of "stuff" at my house. I can't seem to throw anything away because I might need it sometime!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Carol!

I think our "stuff" tells a story! Thanks for inspiring me in so many ways, girlfriend!
Love ya,