I am in search of visual peace. I did not realize this until I had spent an embarrassingly long time reading books about decluttering, orderliness, and interior design, and getting frustrated by how they weren’t helping me.
I don’t know about you, but I am not aiming for a specific number of personal possessions, and I have no particular desire to sort all my belongings into one of three to five piles, boxes, or bin bags. But I struggled to articulate what it was that I was looking for, until I eventually, by increasingly targeted blunderings, rediscovered the phrase “visual peace”.
The problem with most books I’ve read about improving the home environment is that they assume that once you’ve got rid of everything you don’t much like, you’re happy to keep looking at everything else. All the time. Forever.
Not, I hasten to clarify, the kind of low-maintenance gardening that consists of blanketing everything in a layer of black plastic and piling grey stones on top. That kind of garden is low maintenance because there’s nothing living in it, no growth, and no change. (At least until the weeds arrive. Which they will.)
Rather, these books look at how to create a garden that doesn’t need a lot of intensive and continuing effort on your part, because the plants in it are functioning together the way plants function together in nature, and therefore they can, for the most part, manage just fine without you. Working with nature rather than against it.
They don’t make things like they used to! Buy a pack of cotton dishcloths, and hardly a decade has passed before they’re wearing into holes you could put a teacup through. This time around, I decided to make some myself. At least this way if they wear out in ten years, no one can be blamed for shoddy workmanship but me.
And after all, how hard can it be to crochet something square?