Whidbey News-Times


Examine things for usefulness, beauty, sentimental values | Faithful Living

By JOAN BAY KLOPE Whidbey News-Times Columnist
May 19, 2013 · Updated 3:36 PM

I am a TV listener far more than a watcher. If I’m doing something I find tedious or boring, I’m known to turn on the TV and listen to things that interest me.

If it’s not a topic or story line that will enhance my life on some level, I tune it out or momentarily mute the sound.

My TV listening habits drive the men in my life crazy. They simply don’t get it. TVs are for watching, they routinely remind me.

To each his own, I say!

This week as I worked in my office to set up a new computer that replaces my tired old one, I noticed a Twitter feed running along the bottom of my TV screen.

The tweets were live and came from viewers reacting to the topic being discussed. One tweet came from a viewer who announced that she was having to mentally prepare herself for an upcoming episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I realize this was tweeted all in good fun.

But it begs these questions: Where are we placing our energies and attention?

Are we cluttering our lives with things of little value? Do we dip into so much noise and excess information we prevent the quiet and profound to find its way into our lives?

Is it about time to clean out of our lives those things that are not useful, beautiful or sentimental?

William Morris was a poet, craftsman, and designer who lived in England in the late 1800s and founded the influential Arts and Crafts movement.

Morris and his associates crusaded against cheap and mass-produced furniture and decorative accessories. He urged, instead, that homeowners focus on simple and honest furnishings. They should be useful and beautiful.

I rather like the Morris Rule. And I’m amazed that a guy, from so long ago, can reach into the future with wisdom. This is what sage advice does; it stands the test of time.

Thinking I’d give the Morris Rule a go, I walked about our property this week, to enjoy the moderate temperatures, listen to the birds, and evaluate what we’ve collected since last spring when we ventured outside. I looked through gardening supplies, the hen house, and the garden.

I decided if the things I found were not beautiful, useful or sentimental, I would donate or dispose of them.

What I didn’t expect was the energy I experienced and the way clearing out the clutter allowed for additional creativity.

Our bunny problem was solved by building a fence around the garden with re-purposed wood. Unused items placed on Craig’s list quickly brought in money we happily donated to our daughter’s summer trip to Africa, where she and a team will instruct village teachers on the ways they can build a library using Kindles loaded with children’s books.

Whether we’re thinking about the work we do, the ways we organize our households, the ways we play, or the sources of information we value, the Morris Rule is worth a try.

Let’s build beauty and usefulness into our lives.

n Joan Bay Klope can be reached at faithfulliving@hotmail.com


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