Home is where the heart is, they say. I tend to agree. I believe there is a difference between a house and a home. A house is a building with 4 walls, a roof a floor and maybe a chimney. A home is where we go at the end of the day, for peace, tranquility, to be with our loved ones, to be comforted by the things that we have amassed over the years - the things that define us, that reflect our interests and passions. The things that make a house a home.
There seems to be a movement for some toward what I shall refer to as micro homes. These houses are tiny, generally a few hundred square feet. In order to live in one of these micro houses one needs to live minimally. One needs to rid all the excess and then some. How can they possibly be safe - from storms, intruders and other modern day worries? How can they be comfortable? Even the happiest of couples needs a fair amount of space from time to time. And then for me there's the issue of lack of space and storage. For items. For things. Yes, for those materialistic possessions that should mean nothing but mean everything.
I am not a hoarder. In fact you might say conversely, and that I'm too quick to toss things. I can't stand clutter. Though, in my own small home with 3 children, there's a fair amount here. I've been known to sweep through counters and drawers and closets and go on massive dumping sprees. It's become a bit of a running joke... If you can't find it Mom has likely tossed it. The odd sock, the scribbled on piece of paper (unless it looks important), broken items (toys), games with missing pieces... clothes that have been overworn and over-used... I have no use for these items. But I understand and have an appreciation for items collected over the years, items - art, artifacts, souvenirs - from places traveled to that serve as a reminder of incredible memories made and incredible moments lived and experienced, and that warm the soul of our homes. These are the things that give me comfort, that give me peace, that make me feel relaxed, that give me joy.
I'd never describe myself as a collector. You'll not find any tchotchkes or porcelain doo-dads in my home. You'll not find collections of items silly or whimsical collecting dust on a shelf. You will find books. Shelves and shelves and piles of them. Books of all sizes and shape and color about all sorts of wonderful things. You'll find books of reference, biographies, memoirs, fiction and art. You'll find lots of them and many date back to my formative years. I still have the copies of The Catcher in the Rye, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, To Kill a Mockingbird that I read in my youth. I pick them up often, still today. These books will remain with me until I die. I'm still accumulating them and plan to do so for years to come.
On my desk I have piles of notepads and paper and pens and pencils. As a writer, thinker, note-taker, letter writer, I need these piles. I need my fountain pens and I need my Flair pens. I need my lined paper and my yellow legal pads. In my desk and on top of my desks I have books and piles of carefully tied up photographs. Some are of my own work but most are of my children. How could I ever toss these? How could I possibly? They say that all the important moments are in our memories and in our hearts. But I disagree. Too often I have forgotten a moment - a mere snapshot in time - only to have it jarred by the photograph in my hand, only to have it bring a smile or a tear to my face. My books and my photographs. My paper and my pens. I need them all.
And then let's wander into the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is, many say, the most important room of the house. It is where where families and friend congregate. How can this be done in a tiny house? It is where memories are created and often re-lived. In a tiny home there is a tiny kitchen. In this tiny kitchen there is no room for friends and family. And therefore, no room for memory.
I am a creator, an artist. I always have been. My kitchen often serves as my art studio and in my art studio I need my pots and pans. I need my spatulas, my knives, my wooden and slotted spoons. In my kitchen I need my ingredients. I need my cookbooks - my cookbooks, some new and some old, belonging to my grandmother, stained, spilled and written upon and dog-eared. In my kitchen I need all these things.
And then, there are all the other things that matter. All the copper pots, pans and serving dishes I inherited that were a staple in my childhood kitchens and dining rooms. The silver tea and coffee service that belonged to my great-grandmother. The handwritten letters my grandmother wrote to me, and the handwritten letters that American author and playwright Thornton Wilder wrote to his dear friend, my grandmother. I have photographs and oils, and old, framed movie posters from my grandfather's old films. I have an old wooden steamer trunk that's now used as a coffee table that I picked up with my ex husband at an antique store in Rhode Island. I was only in my 20s at the time, but it's evocative an important time in my own life. I could really go on and on, but the point is that our "stuff" is not such to be taken lightly. It might be material but it is not all materialistic. They are important. They matter. Size matters.
NB: I do not by any means live in a large home. After my divorce I left a 4,500 sq. ft house for my small 1,300 sq. ft home. It's small, but not tiny. It holds us all, as well as all those things that matter.