I like boxes. I like to have everything categorized. A perfect storage area for me would be a room lined with shelves with breathable, acid free boxes that were so well labeled that no matter what I want to display or contemplate something from my life, library or personal museum, I can simply go to that storage area, put back the last items I studied, appreciated, and enjoyed, and retrieve the particular item or items upon which I next want to focus.
I like to put things in personal terms, because that is how I can best understand them. Oh, I love to think about how things work, how we decide what is important on a large scale, but as a regular ol' woman I like to fall back on the familiar where I can relax and not think about outside forces or the unfamiliar.
But I don't want to surround myself with everything all at one time. Neither does Hubby, aka Fang, whose favorite saying from the world of domesticity is, “most people over-furnish.” I agree with him, but that single agreement is where the agreement stops.
Fang has torn out several closets during the 20 plus years we have lived in this house. They have not been replaced. He does this while telling me that I have too much stuff. You can imagine the rather heated discussions that ensue.
I have a spare room now that Zilla lives across the country. I now have the space to organize everything. Nice. But I have moved on from the building or nesting stage of my life and it is much more difficult to dedicate time and energy to organization. Sigh. No,I haven't resolved the basic challenge of this seemingly simple, but actually complex set of organizational actions so that I can build and populate the easy access storage of things I will want to surround myself with during the rest of my life here on Earth.
There are two things here that I need to mention. First, I have many of my mother's things that are sentimental but not assigned a high monetary or cultural value by society. Second, I live in Southern Arizona where, traditionally, homes tend to have no attics, basements or garages.
I see this quandary as similar to the one in which contemporary society finds itself.
Men have written the histories and filled the museums and barrows with tribute to that power for hundreds if not thousands of years. It was not that women did not have a material culture. We did. Our energies often were directed into flesh rather than stone or metal.
Even stone and metal erodes or wears away over time. Our voices still give voice to ideas through the generations though the stories and teachings we share. Our societal structure is the framework on which we store our tales, lessons, and truths. I suspect that women have always wanted more trunks from which they might retrieve embroidery samplers through which their foremothers labors made real what was important in their worlds, the quilts that kept them warm as children and might someday warm their grandchildren, and from which holiday ornaments could emerge to provide the backdrop for family holiday rituals.
For my husband the signed/numbered Maus print and the Japanese bronze is enough for now and the future, but for me I need to rotate the items on the “knick knack” shelves to sometimes show the series of old mottled glass jars that each hold the assemblage of buttons accumulated by my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother and other times hold the whimsical Oaxacan creatures that are pure, bright, fantasy. Sometimes I wish the world would equally value shelves upon which local family stories can be highlighted and the monumental art that is created for those who have skimmed profit and accumulated wealth over several generations.