Online rosary

Simplify, simplify, then use (and love) what’s left

I won’t lie: John Pawson is my favorite architect. Who is it, you might ask?

Pawson is a British architectural designer known for his austere yet warm, empty yet welcoming style of minimalist design. I’d be living in a John Pawson house in a nanosecond.

Because I’ve moved more times than the average bear and because I’m the opposite of a pack rat, always eager to streamline more, I regularly get sucked into these Facebook and magazine listings on the way to downsize, downsize, do less like -Continued.

But the common misleading premise of these is that you already have a gonzo amount of rubbish gathering dust to begin with and so you’re getting rid of: a hutch full of your late aunt’s Pfaltzgraff, quite age-stained canceled checks to line the hull of a pirate ship, vacation kitsch that could redecorate Macy’s Santaland – if they had it. And don’t forget the never-unboxed Richard Simmons Stair Stepper and Suzanne Somer’s ThighMaster stacked with the boxes of SlimFast on the unused NordicTrack.

So get rid of all that, plus the rando ‘art’ works, throw rugs, piles of ‘People’, plastic fruits and dusty flowers, and you’re well on your way to finding the Saint. Grail of minimalism. Oh, and maybe throw out half of what’s in that big storage unit – then rent a smaller one because you don’t have one really really want to reduce.

John Pawson would throw his cookies.

Now for people who love their Hummel, Hotel Hand Soap, Hatbox and Nat. Geo Collections (and I worked at Nat Geo, so I know the beauty of all those 1990s-1980s yellow spines lined up along the shelves in my office), maybe you’ll find some relief via eBay, Facebook Marketplace or the “I’m not dead yet” real estate sale.

Now, if you’ve been regularly purging books (and yes, it hurts), doing wardrobe picking (giving away what’s lightly used), throwing away chipped dishes, split seams, stale spices, soles worn out pillows and filthy pillows, you won’t win. I can’t find much to help you in these articles.

But for all my personal slaughter, there are things too dear to part with – my daughters’ artwork and baby clothes, the love tokens of a beloved one or two, the my mother’s special silverware, my father’s rosary, which he held in his death. .

Perhaps, because we’re surrounded by boutiques and Christmas tree targets and high-end online sites that define what’s precious to us, we’ve become more or less clutter curators. deaf to the “You can’t take it with you” maxim.

Yet, even if we really wanted to reduce to the bare minimum what we need, what we want, we still know that if we were to flee – fire, violence, war and rumors of war, as we see in Ukraine – we would leave behind these precious objects too expensive to lose. We packed our suitcases with warm clothes, medicine, food we could carry, and maybe scriptures we could put in our existential travel suitcase.

My (unbeknownst to him) friend John Pawson wrote, “It takes great discipline to reduce until you can’t subtract any more.

Right now, we won’t need to pack a travel suitcase filled with only the basic human needs. Hopefully we never will.

And right now, I plan to feed my friends with the overflowing, but precious, dishes that I love – and mom’s cutlery! Right now, I intend to savor the warmth of the sweaters I have kept. Right now, I plan to anticipate the occasional splurge, joyous acquisition. Oh – and I plan on using that dusty rowing machine and yoga mat. It was like hell when I was disabled and couldn’t.

What we have and need is for now. For the rest, the deepest treasure is memory.

Jo Page is a Lutheran writer and pastor. His email is [email protected] His website is at