But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me GOD—not even death itself is going to come between us!” Ruth 1:16-17 (The Message)
One of the best things about home improvement is the chance to get rid of clutter. I have never been one for a lot of stuff sitting around, but somehow over the years, I have accumulated more than my share of it. As we go from room to room, (and yes, the bedroom is done in “Spa” and looks very spa like and lovely), we have taken time to really think about what we want to keep and what we can live without. As that happened, we eliminated at least one and sometimes two pieces of furniture in each room. What a difference it has made! Sending an antique curio cabinet in the dining room off to a local museum opened up one corner which in a weird sort of domino effect made that whole room spacious and clean. Losing a hideous television stand that dated back to our poverty stricken early days of marriage completely changed the texture of the breakfast room. My sister-in-law stood there for a long time marveling at how big the room was but never did figure out it wasn’t only the paint that created that illusion. In our bedroom, eliminating another very ugly television stand made a huge difference as well. As we cleared out furniture, we got rid of whatever was sitting on or in it. I have hauled several loads of stuff to Goodwill. While I do not begrudge them the money that they will make on that stuff and I am grateful for a place I can take it where I feel good about giving it away, I wish that I could have worked a deal to trade it all in for wool sweaters to shrink. But, then, I have enough felt and in fact, cleared out a box to give to a fellow felter for her Christmas projects. Nothing is sacred in my quest to beautify my home. I am embarrassed by how compulsive I have been over the years. It is obvious that when I find something I really like, I don’t often stop at one. Even my own artwork has been subject to scrutiny. Instead of having one wall dedicated to my creations, I scattered the best around the house so that they are better appreciated rather than being lumped together in one pile. As I get rid of stuff, I have been careful not to replace it with more clutter. I reused what I had: old quilts long in storage, an antique lamp of my grandmothers that husband refurbished, and a few knick knacks that I can’t bear to part with. About the only thing I have had to buy are picture frames. I discovered a treasure trove of forgotten family pictures that I will display. Because as I know, but sometimes forget in the rush of life and the clamor for stuff, it is people who are much more dear to me than things. And time with those people is the most precious gift of all.