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How many magnets are on your fridge? August 18, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I recently read a decluttering pundit’s statement that the more magnets and the like were on a person’s fridge, the more cluttered their home was. She could look at a photo of the fridge and predict the state of the house with what she considered 100% accuracy.

Hmmmm, I thought. Is this true? And if so, what do you mean by clutter?

Looking at the refrigerator our friend Ben and I share at our tiny cottage home, Hawk’s Haven, I certainly can see a wealth of magnets on the doors. (My favorite remains the one of then-President George W. Bush at Pope John Paul II’s funeral; the Pope is lying in an open casket, robed in red, and W is asking, “What happened to Santa?” But I digress.) Each of these magnets has been carefully chosen because it symbolizes something to us. There’s not one random or meaningless piece of junk on our refrigerator, and every time we look at those doors, they make us laugh, inspire us, refresh our spirits, remind us of joyous vacations. In other words, they enhance our lives.

The same is true of the things that we bring into our home. We have thousands of books, each individually selected and treasured. We have rocks, fossils, and shells, stamps and marbles, chess sets and foreign coins. We collect prints, original paintings, and photos that speak to us of the beauty of nature. OFB has his Pueblo pottery; I have my quilt and historic textile collection. We both have a weakness for beautiful rugs (though we don’t put them on the floor or our beloved black German shepherd, Shiloh, would eat them). Every single thing that we have acquired has great meaning and value to us; like the refrigerator magnets, they brighten and enrich our lives.

To me, “clutter” implies piles of random, worthless stuff you’d be far better off clearing out. You could be referring to piles of unwashed dishes, mounds of unopened mail, towers of unread newspapers, bags of outgrown clothes you’d meant to take to Goodwill but that somehow ended up stacked behind the garage door instead. Clutter is an impediment to living. It makes life harder and uglier, it trips you up on your way, it shames you. It diminishes you as a person, condemns you as a failure for being unable to cope with the burden of your worthless possessions.

This is certainly not the case for me and OFB. I have spent a great deal of time and thought figuring out how we can both enjoy our collections without having them take over the house. Since Hawk’s Haven is small, open space (or the illusion of open space) is absolutely essential.

The answer is clever storage solutions and rotation of displays. This not only keeps what’s visible at any time to a minimum, but keeps our collections fresh for us as well as for visitors, since you never know what you’ll be seeing. The idea occurred to me because, since so much of our wall space is occupied by bookshelves, there simply wasn’t enough space to display all our art and still keep plenty of free off-white wall, which I felt was essential to provide the illusion of spaciousness, not to mention give our eyes some rest. Rotation, rotation, rotation. It lets you have your collections and enjoy them, too!

So, ‘fess up: How many magnets are on your fridge?

          ‘Til next time,




1. narf77 - August 23, 2012

Good to see that the canine desire to devour all things harbouring any desire to be textile based and remain on the floor is not just an Australian thing. We have 22 magnets on our fridge. 6 calendar magnets that are woefully out of date, a home made drivers license (WITH picture) tiny magnetic planter that we found the pattern for on Instructables and made…sans plant… several nondescript magnets gifted to us and finally a plush bright yellow and orange flower that smiles. Not too sure what that says about our state of clutter inside the house but anything that sits in one place for more than a day or so is apparently to be considered “dead” and is promptly removed from its earthly bondage by one or more of the dogs. We have learned to remain clutter free or suffer the consequences!

Ha!!! Oh, dear, Fran, how many dogs do you have? Our Shiloh generally confines herself to destroying rugs and her own toys, thank heavens. Though last night I started feeling cold, and when i turned on the light, I saw that she’d pulled off my blanket and nested in it! Fortunately, I rescued it (much to OFB’s disgust, he always refers to it as “that verminous blanket”) before it went the way of all textiles…

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