Thursday, February 8, 2018

Tension and Balance at Home and in the Garden

While writing this week about my shopping excursions and loot I'd collected I mentioned that I'd had a period of cleaning out, for the past few years since losing 3 relatives whose possessions I had to cope with. Also the kids moved out and I had to deal with everything they didn't choose to take with them. Then there were repairs and painting and last January a massive room by room reduction in stuff.

Everything was so fresh and clean I kept reducing, and getting rid of things. There were lots of blank surfaces. It felt great.

Until I reached a tipping point. The point when it went from clean and fresh to sterile and cold. I'd had colorful walls for years and painted them all white as a clean slate to start over. The house was on the verge of losing its sense of cozy. I carefully added a few things.

The Hive Guest Cottage is a great example of the process! See the pics here. 

As I mentioned in the last post I also deal with this same scenario in the garden.

But as I thought about it more I realized this is all part of the tension or balance of life. Something in the brain craves both a sense of visual order as well as stimulation and interesting things to look at. Plus I just adore looking around a room at treasures collected on travels or favorite books I've read. This search for balance occurs in other areas of life as well.

I have spent tons of time thinking, talking with friends, and trying to work out what would be the ideal capsule wardrobe, for instance. I've even written about it. But after a few weeks I notice there are still things I never wear and something I need to dress for that then sends me out shopping. I'm often guilty of over purging.

For years I've thought I could put this puzzle together but I'm beginning to realize that I may have to be comfortable with a pendulum that swings back and forth a bit. Minimalism is never going to work for me even though part of me feels like it's a "should." There has to be a sweet spot somewhere between that and the next episode of Hoarders. But I'm okay with thinking that target might shift a bit one way or the other depending on what's going on.

Read about how I rediscovered and rescued our lost tool shed. 

I've learned that my tolerance and/or appreciation for things changes with the seasons. I love seeing more books displayed in winter, for example. In the summer I put lots of things away to make room for fresh flowers.  My "summer look" is definitely cleaner which I associate with cooler. In winter more stuff equals cozy. There is a warmth to layers of favorite objects. Cozy also means a lot more color and texture.

In the garden I finally achieved a certain amount of balance by letting the cleaner landscaping rein in the front yard and fostering my love for all things cottage and rambly in the back. A classic solution. I like a front yard that looks more "managed" even though I still have more going on than most people. In the actual garden I like definite areas, some wilder than others.

Creating areas is a great solution indoors as well. I don't think you can have too many trays. Something about a collection or tablescape on a tray says "this is a contained mess." Much easier for my brain to handle.

In an upcoming post I'll discuss how I've been adding color back in.

That's right, Joanna Gaines. I said color.


  1. If you knew how well I could relate to what you are writing about, we could talk for hours! My MIL passed away three years ago and we still have some of her stuff. We started building a house back in 2010, on our own. In 2012 the basement was finished. We moved into one room of the basement, and moved everything from our house in town, into the "storage rooms of the basement." And sold our house in town. Our main living area was finished a couple of years ago and I have all of the walls painted cream! I couldn't even think of a color and make one more decision. I like the look. It's easy to clean, and I have just enough COLOR in other things to make it cozy. BUT I still have a FULL basement. I've been going through things a little at a time. I will have the basement looking as nice as the upstairs. It will take time.


    PS I'm also a beekeeper and Master Gardener!

    1. I think you are right! We could talk for hours! This is my first time ever having white walls in 35 years of marriage but our entire house needed to be neutralized for our empty nest. I still get rid of things here and there but the majority of what we don't want is gone. It would be more sparse than it is but my husband is sentimental about his things. We have a lot of stuff only one of us wants. A common problem, I'm sure.

      Your house is so beautiful! Well done! How many hives do you have?


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