I found myself confronted by familiar “faces” the other day: a variety of things that I used to collect, many of them identical to things I have owned. And I was filled with nostalgia and yearning because the things are gone, that time in my life has gone, but the things are still really cool and collectable.
Am I reformed? Have I given up my compulsive habit? I don’t think so. But after going through the trouble and “pain” to reduce my belongings, it seems silly to recollect things that I have relinquished.
We had taken a jaunt with the basic directions of “let’s follow the river north” and found ourselves in New Norfolk, which has an interesting convict history as so many places here do. Amongst the conventional antique stores I spotted a cluttered window, a pink bicycle and a handwritten sign that said “Lady Strange”.
That title belongs to the shop’s young proprietor, it turned out, and she is afflicted with the same collecting compulsion as I am. The shop stock had been gathering in her bedroom since she was eight years old. And it seems her criteria matched mine: she had acquired a mixed bag of stuff that was old, interesting, uncommon but otherwise random. It was a great shop with a cool soundtrack and lots of character.
So how did I escape this treasure trove of kitschy, vintage clutter? Mostly I just remembered how hard it was to fit all our stuff into one truck on the boat over to Tasmania. I reminded myself that most of our belongings are still stored in the shed if I ever feel the need to add knick knacks to our house.
And mostly I focused on the fact that my life is not what it was. The clutter is self-generating at our place. I have two little human whirlwinds in charge of decor at my house now.**
But if I ever decide to collect that stuff again, Lady Strange is a fantastic place to start.
**While writing this I was called away to retrieve a cracker dropped into the heater. In addition to the cracker, I found six puzzle pieces, a toast crust, one stacking peg, a matchbox car and two dates inside the appliance.