I met today’s guest blogger, Bev Boyden-Van Staden through her amazing daughter, Tamara. Tamara was 11 when she first walked into my office with an idea for a pay-it-forward project she was doing in her Grade 5 class. She wanted to sell the jewelery she made at the art-show we were mounting for the artists of the Wildrose Art Studio at the shelter. Over the next five years, Tamara and her friends would raise over $9,100 for homeless charities.
And always, Bev was there, standing beside, behind, with her daughter. Supporting her, guiding her, showing her the path to living on purpose.
Recently, Bev sent me a FB message sharing her thoughts on de-cluttering. When I asked if I could share her words here, she quickly replied, of course. And that’s who Bev is — willing to step in and be of service, to share however she can, whatever she has to light up the world.
Bev and Tamara continue to give to community. In 2008, they set-up Heartprints: Kids for a Cause Foundation, and have expanded their products to include hand-knit scarves and dishcloths, beaded lanyards and other beautiful items.
Thank you Bev for all you do to create a world of difference. You are the change you want to see in the world.
What would you carry?
by Bev Boyden-Van Staden
Your postings of purging, decluttering and giving away one thing per day prompted memories of my 1983 travels (on a “shoe string” throughout SE Asia and the fact that I had to carry everything with me on this 3+ months adventure through Indonesia (Bali, Java and Summatra), Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and back to Thailand before heading back to Canada.
Items of extreme value (passport, travel cheques and main supply of $$) were secured on a “purse” made from an extra large pocket from jeans secured to a long shoelace that hung around my neck and was tucked under whatever I was wearing and which I even slept with. Everything else was in a durable oblong daypack … compact enough to put on my lap during transit. If memory serves correctly, that pack weighed between 7 to 10 lbs.
Your recent postings had me thinking “what would we keep IF we had to carry with us everywhere what we wanted?” Sure, at major cities throughout my travels, I had the option to mail back home keepsakes, but mostly I had to make a daily choice about whether an item was really necessary to be packing around in the sweltering heat every day. I was a lot tougher about getting rid of unnecessary stuff at that point in my life than I am when I permanently settled (home).
We’ve been in our current home since 2000. Being a creative individual, everything has potential. I usually find that I have a tough time throwing things out … except when I get in one of those rare moods.
Over the years we have had a craft area and have collected (and stored for “just in case”) many things from a perfectly shaped flat rock found on a walk to cardboard and styro-foam.
For example, when my daughter, Tamara, was younger and into Barbies, she really wanted Barbie furniture (unit price $75 and up if purchased then at Toys R Us!, which wasn’t in my budget!). So I started making Barbie furniture out of styro-foam, old leather (or fake leather) purses, fringe material and a glue gun. Voila, Tamara and her friends had a grand time turning the “Barbie Room” into a girls’ dream place to play with all this funky furniture.
Fast forward many years later and we tackled the task of purging, throwing out or giving away so much stuff in order to turn areas into a teenagers’ hang out. Still it was with fondness that Tamara said ‘goodbye’ to her favourite Barbie couch I had made from styro-foam, black leather, and black fringe (including arm rests). All the stuff that another young child would enjoy we boxed up and donated to The Children’s Cottage … to the delight of the staff there!
Decluttering is an ongoing process. Now and then I tackle a drawer, a closet or shelves. I’m not drawn to other people’s garage sales anymore (haven’t been in awhile now!). What triggered my decluttering over 2012 is the passing of my dad in January 2012 (he was 84). He lived in BC, on his own (his partner pre-deceased him by less than a year). Soon it was discovered that his house and shed were in horrific state with so much junk collected over so many years. Some precious keepsakes like photos and such were found among his belongings, but most of the stuff was just that “stuff”. My oldest sister, as executor, vowed never to leave such a mess for her children to clean up after she is gone. That influenced me to rethink the state of my closets, drawers, cupboards and storage space areas.
Still I am amused when I think of my traveling days throughout SE Asia and wonder how much “stuff” I would keep around this house, if I had to carry it all with me everywhere I went. One extreme to the other, I know; but I am inspired to find a balance.
Today’s poem is posted at A Poetry Affair: Time Flows