The Decor of Your Home: Thoughtfulness from William Morris

William Morris, the English artistic force (he wrote poetry, designed textiles, made art), stated an idea that I find very meaningful and thoughtful in these times of hyper-cluttered, tschotske-infested homes:

 ” If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Think about it–hoarding is becoming so commonplace that it no longer shocks, but is still fodder for reality television, and the self-storage industry generates billions of dollars annually.  Do we really need all this garbage?  Must we save every little piece of popular-culture junk until we consolidate them into myriad “collections”?  Wouldn’t it be better (or at least more satifying) to have fewer–but better–things?

I adopt this myself.  Always fairly consistent at removing much of the unneeded crap* from my home (and it is a home, not merely a house), I’ve adopted Morris’s philosophy more fervently this past year or two, even donating 25-35 cookbooks (don’t worry, folks–I still have a hundred or so left, but cooking’s my passion!)  Indeed, my guest room is home to some bags and boxes for donation (once we get a little bit of thaw, I’ll haul them to the Animal Rescue Fund thrift store or Goodwill).  In the coming weeks, I’ll work on more of this, especially as I continue work on renovating my home office.

Perhaps it’s because instead of investing the time and energy to devote to figuring out our own life-and design style, we take the easy way out and let the fashion, home-decor, and retail industries decide our style for us?  And that, by extension, means buying more stuff because they are in the business of selling said stuff.

*that’s the technical term