7 Days of Positive – Day 155: The joy of stuff


My string


My Georgian back door lock with original key


One of the servants’ bells from the house where I lived until I was six (we didn’t have servants)


My compass table. It has a revolving top.


A favourite junk shop painting.

 I have too much stuff. It’s hard work to keep my house looking tidy and I live in a constant state of having a clear out. 

I keep a bag on the small chair nearest my front door permanently ready to receive the latest items I’m ready to send to a charity shop. 

Consignments go off every week and I hardly ever let myself bring anything new in any more (I exclude clothes, shoes and books from that rule…) but still it feels stuffocating.

I’ve read Marie Kondo’s book, as previously mentioned, and found some great ideas in it, but I don’t have the time to do my whole house as she insists is necessary, so I have learned to live a constant state of slight failure about it.

But today I was putting some wine glasses back in the dining room cupboard my eyes rested on these stripy ones. They are my very very best glasses bought in Venice from a tiny dusty looking shop in a back street.

They had the striped ones in the window and I stopped dead knowing they were special. After I’d gone in and ordered a mixed set from the charming proprietor (they send them to you at home, it’s brilliant), my instincts were proved right.

A little probing had him admit that Meester Armani buys his glasses from him.

Every time I look at my striped Venetian glasses they make me happy. They were terrifyingly expensive, but I don’t care. I love them.

As Ms Kondo says – they give me joy.

So after that revelation I went round my house looking for things which give me joy. This is just a random selection from three rooms.

It was so uplifting to go through looking for things I love – rather than things I can get rid of.

I sat back own at my desk feeling not like a guilty crap failure for having an overstuffed house, but very lucky and happy to have so many things which give me joy.

  • Miss Annie
    July 6, 2015

    Yes, I am constantly clearing out stuff too Maggie, especially books and DVDa. I do a wardrobe clear-out every 3-4 months.

    My apartment is so tiny it just has to be done. I feel sorry for my 6ft 2 boyfriend who probably feels as though he is constantly tripping over furniture!

    I did start to collect beautiful old glassware but simply had to stop due to lack of storage and space. I adore those stripy Venetian glasses, absolutely divine!

  • Jan
    July 6, 2015

    So glad I read this post this morning, I LOVE my stuff, it gives me joy on a grey (or any other) day!

  • Bernadette
    July 6, 2015

    Dear Maggie, I agree, if your pieces give you joy then they definitely deserve a place in your home. My life (all material things apart from a suitcase I have been living out of since last October) is in a storage unit in Whoop Whoop somewhere out beyond western Sydney; I can’t tell you how much I miss my precious things. I dream of the day that I will have a home again and I will be able to unpack and enjoy my much loved possessions/treasured pieces again. Hope you are getting some lovely summer weather. B

  • Mel
    July 6, 2015

    Hi Maggie

    What a lovely take on all your things! I feel the same some days… so much china I’ve collected. In the end I donated to the local charity the boring white cups and saucers and side plates and got the good china out to use everyday. If it breaks, it breaks. What’s the point as you say of having such lovely things sitting in the cupboard and not bringing us joy!

    Mel xx

  • WattleflatJane
    July 7, 2015

    It’s the embedded memories that make what we gather around us so special: you’ll never forget the sensory experience of buying those Venetian glasses.

    Up on our kitchen wall is an etching of a meticulously constructed wood pile under a middle European house. It was the first artwork I ever bought, from Barry Stern in Woollahra, many years ago. I still remember how entranced I was by it (I’d just been on my first European trip) and how grown up I felt handing over serious money for something to purely admire! It’s still my faithful favourite.

  • Zayin
    July 7, 2015

    Yay, you get it! 🙂

  • Chrissie
    July 7, 2015

    Oh Maggie, love love love your “favourite” things (well some of them, I’m sure there are plenty more). But may I sound a word of warning, without wanting to sound critical of one of my favourite people I don’t actually know! My late mother used to have conniptions when she found I’d stacked glasses one within the other. Sure enough one day one broke. Since these are much loved glasses and probably virtually irreplaceable, may I suggest you display them singly? They would probably look better too, showing those lovely stripes and colours.
    I value what I call my “pretty things”, each of which, like yours, has a story to tell.

  • Marjie
    July 7, 2015

    Hi Maggie
    Sitting in my study, looking around, I can see oodles of items to get rid of. The problem is fighting the “I may need this” syndrome. Maybe I should just cross my fingers, chuck it all, and hope I don’t need it tomorrow. Now, books and pictures are in the “untouchables” area.

    • maggie2015
      September 4, 2015

      I may need this… and I’ve actually got to do some WORK and cook the dinner and put the washing on etc etc. Clutter clearing takes so much time, that’s my issue at the moment.

  • Ros Harbison
    July 7, 2015

    I didn’t realise that I subscribed to the William Morris theory of ownership until I read the words “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. A friend recently moved from a large flat into a tiny apartment, and culled his possessions until everything that he saw, he treasured. I’m working on it.

  • Amy
    July 7, 2015

    It sounds like you do a great job subconsciously curating your possessions. In my home, objects of dubious provenance appear out of thin air so periodically I do need to cull. Great post.

    • maggie2015
      September 4, 2015

      Never enough, Amy, never enough. I’m surrounded by great DUNES of crap even as I sit here…

  • lara
    July 8, 2015

    Gorgeous photos, Maggie…. I reckon the minimalist look is over rated. Give me a comfy couch and a loved living room any day !! I watch those home makeover shows – okay I’m addicted to them and each channel/country has its own – and often end up saying out loud to no one in particular ‘yes but it doesn’t look very comfy’ after they’ve spent the equivalent of the GDP of a small nation on three pieces of abstract furniture and a strip of LED lighting !

  • Linda Mondy
    July 9, 2015

    I loved this piece. Like an earlier person, all my precious (and maybe some that is not so precious) stuff is in storage until we settle down in our beach house near Bellingen, NSW in a couple of months. We have had three or four major culls over the years and made a fair bit of money in selling this stuff at garage sales (which are fun too). I sold a lot of my cookware and lamps to a new neighbour. She invited us for dinner some weeks later and it was a bit weird to have her lasange served in my old dish, plus the lamps all around us were formerly mine. It helped that she liked these things and used them. So stuff goes on to have another life!

  • Miss Annie
    July 9, 2015

    In response to Lindy – what that’s quote – “we don’t really own anything, we are all just passing through…”

    Some truth there I think!

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