Like several of my friends I got bitten by the TIDY bug and have done my clothes, most of my office and now taking a quick break from the collaboration to do the studio. The most important thing to mention off the top is I do not like clutter so I’ve continually sorted the studio for years. That said, wow have I found a lot of clutter! I annually sort through all my fabric and donate anything that does not ring my bell. Fortunately the last several years I have not bought much commercial fabric but have designed a lot of fabric which has filled in the space.
What I cannot part with are mostly journals. I have at least a dozen half-filled notebooks of various sizes where I took notes in a class, made notes on a trip, wrote daily gratitude for years, made sketches of garments I wanted to sew or knit, sketches of random scenery, quotes I wanted to remember, and just thoughts about life. They do not exactly spark joy and yet my adult life is contained within the pages. So they are simply going to a new shelf to be reunited.
One of the things I found so entertaining though was the progression of the saved articles. Step 1: (30 years ago) for a decade I saved every issue of every sewing & knitting related magazine I received (monthly), with the idea that ‘someday’ I might want to refer back to them. Only after my husband complained about the weight on the shelf did I consider tossing them.
Step 2: (20 years ago) I diligently browsed through a decade of old magazines, pulled the articles that most appealed to me (at that time) and put them on a shelf. I bundled leftover magazines and put out on recycling day. The total amount was 7′ wide!
Step 3: (19 years ago) about a year later I decided to actually file said articles in a binder, so I invested in several boxes of plastic sleeves, sorted the articles into categories: sewing, knitting, design, quilting, etc and filed into a 4″ binder and put it on said shelf. Occasionally in the last decade I have leafed through the huge and heavy binder looking for just that perfect whatever I wanted to make. Most often I was looking for knitting ideas.
Step 4: today. I went through the binder and tossed everything I would never make nor read. When I finished I had a 3″ stack of empty plastic sleeves and just enough articles to put into a 1″ binder…likely to be tossed in another future purge!
What amused me most is how much space, energy and time these old magazines took up in my life. How I never went back to read anything except a few knitting patterns and even then did not knit them. One good thing that came from the great magazine purge of 20 years ago, is every magazine I’ve read since I tore out what I wanted to keep while I was reading and then tossed it into the recycling bin. I found I tore out far less when I actually had to do something with it in the moment.
Fast forward to present time and nearly all articles we once clung to can now be found online, anyway.
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