Frodo's Quest

I'm very sympathetic this evening, to the struggles of the little Hobbit from the Shire. It fell to him to carry a powerful ring a long way, through many dangers, and see that it was destroyed. The ring seemed to bewitch and control everyone who came near it, with a will of its own.

Without pushing the analogy too far, I'm realizing that the thousands and thousands of little things in my studio seem to have this same power. It is my bounden duty and charge to win over the Power of the Stuff.

Here are a few of the seductive battles I've waged on my way to clean, organize, and lighten the contents of the Little Red Barn, or as I like to call it, the journey to the fires of Mt. Doom:

As I attack each pocket of disorder, I'm reacquainted with sadly forgotten projects. Each embryonic project still holds that spark of inspiration that caused me to purchase the Stuff in the beginning. I revive again to the colors, textures and potential that captured me long ago. It's hard not to lose a good deal of time reliving that potential. Maybe this time I'll make that thingy?

But I have to shake it off and ask myself hard questions: will I really ever finish this? Really? Could someone else get joy from this if I let it go? Most of the time, the little bag of preciousssss ingredients moves slowly to the "Let it Go" pile. Occasionally, it slides back into the "Save This For Later" bin. That project gets one more chance.

I feel myself making promises: I'll crank out that project quickly, to justify keeping it. If it's done, I can give it as a gift, or sell it in the shop. There's the justification I was looking for.

Some of the Stuff makes me laugh. It's so out of style. I look at it and wonder what I was thinking. So corny! Give it away. Now. The "started-and-quickly-abandoned" projects are easy to release, too. I'm glad these are few; they are easily dealt with. A little victory, and some ground won.

But small victories tempt me to sit down, heave a sigh of relief, and sweep the rest of the job under the rug. No one will notice. But I remember the goal, and I stand up again. Press on. One more pile to sort, and then one more.

The right and left brain work in concert, and it's hard work: solve how to most efficiently store the important Stuff, and how to store it most aesthetically? Back and forth. Ideas mulled over, radical options tried. Short bursts of brilliance followed by long stretches of brain cramp. Time for a cup of coffee and a sit-down.

Some of the Stuff challenges me in different areas - areas of allegiances. Some of the Stuff is old family stuff. Do I dishonor the memory of my Greatgrandmother if I pass on her cool old sewing notions? Some of the Stuff was gifts from friends. Will they be offended if I jettison their thoughtful trinkets? No, and I hope not.

And what's with all the containers? I have emptied enough baskets, bins, tins, totes, boxes and bags to stock a large warehouse. Not only am I a Stuff hoarder, but apparently I also hoard Stuff Holders. OUT. Out you go. The Ring falls into the fires of Mt. Doom and the spell is broken.

I'm bouyed by remembering the goal: visual, creative and spiritual space, order, and freedom from the siren's call of the Stuff. But "empty" will just fill up with Stuff again if I don't fill it first with what's really important. Nature abhors a vacuum, and all that.

I'm making room for our people. Our Farm Family. What really counts in this world.


  1. Ok, I'm a basket junkie. I can help you out with those tray-like baskets in the back. Just let me know.

  2. Thanks, Kay! What a friend! Let me finish up this job and see which ones need to go permanently.

  3. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Be strong! You can do it!

  4. Just look at those items that were given as gifts this way... ask yourself a few questions, did you get any use out of it? Did it bring you joy when you were using it? Did it make you think of the person who gave it to you when you used it? Do you still use it? If you answered yes to the first 3 questions then, NO you won't be offending them if you pass it on to someone who can benefit from it now. If you answered YES to the last question, then that's easy... keep it. BUT... if you don't use in within the next 3 months, pass it on to someone who can use it.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts