My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

Glad to Be Here

I am Rebecca from A RE-Purposed Life and honored to be a friend of the lovely lady who writes this blog. Thank you so much for having me here today.
Donna has asked me to do a guest post on her beautiful blog and I am so happy to do it.

She has been talking about organization and has asked me to share my perspective with you. This is totally coming from my experience and what works for me, personally. Please take what you can and if it doesn't fit leave it here. No judgements or shoulds here, only encouragement and inspiration to live better.
If you would talk to my kids they would laugh... "my mother is giving advice on organizing"?  Ha... So this post is not going to be conventional, but then nothing I do is. What works for me may not work for you... we are all individuals and we need to try out different things in our lives to see what works for us. I can take advice and use it differently or creatively and fit it into something that works for me.  
 I am a visual person, an artist, everything I do is colored from that place.

Let's take my studio for instance, I cannot live with everything in a labeled drawer put away out of my sight, now that does not mean if you do, you are not an artist. No! This just means for me, I need the visual stimulation - so I use vignettes to organize my studio. 

I love glass jars and display cases - if and when I put things in drawers, they are things I don't use often. 

My fabrics are sorted and folded on shelving so I can see them, it helps my creativity.

Now when I am in a project, usually several at a time, it gets messy but I clean up after the project is finished. It is a rule I have adapted because there is a difference between organized mess and chaos. Because I function with much stimulation, it cannot get out of control... it robs my peace and I cannot create.

I also have the problem of creating in many different media's. I have the need to go from one to the other, so I have created different work stations and I confess, I have two studio's and some work stations in the basement. That is mainly why I had a shop for so many years, it was the backdrop to my creativity. I could create the atmosphere to house my art and then put it into the hand of the recipient all wrapped up in love. It was fun! That part of my life has ended and a new one has begun, but that has left me with a lot of stuff...
So with that in mind, let's talk about stuff. There are people in this world who can go through life without a lot of it, and there are people who attract it like a magnet. That person would be me. 

Let me define the word stuff... things I find of value, that either I can sell and make a profit from, things that I use for my artwork or things I treasure.
I am going to address these 3 categories... because they can all create different problems or challenges. Most people really only deal with one, but I find in blogland there are more people out there like me, birds of a feather... Most are in this industry, selling antiques/decor and artisans.

You have an eye for beauty, you can pick up an old discarded piece  of junk and see it as something else, something wonderful. Or look at the cracks and chips in something and see the love that someone had for it and the story it tells comes to life in your hand. It is hard to pass it by because you know you will not see it again.

I want to talk about this for a minute... these passions are given to you as a gift. I see them from the hand of our creator. They are precious gifts and should be handled with care and thanksgiving. To me they are to be shared.
There are pitfalls in whatever we do, from the art world to the antiquing world... I have seen it all.
Right now, I want to talk a little about the antiquing world, because it is one that can so easily get out of hand.
There is a little monster out there, I call him the "green-greedy" he is full of envy and I want. If any of you have ever gone to an estate sale you have seen this monster. It rises up in all of us... take your number, look around to see who is in front of you, looking at all the stuff, knowing so and so will go for that thing you have your eye on, how can I cut her off... so I can get it first.
I personally quit going to estate sales long ago because I did not want to feed that within me, Green-Greedy that competitive edge as we like to call it, robbed my peace. 
And then there is the problem once you have the stuff, how well do you get attached to it. Now don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with liking what is around you and having it make you smile. As long as it is making your surroundings a better place and giving you peace, that is what this stuff is supposed to do. 

I am talking about  things that have gotten to be a problem in your life. Either with you, your spouse or people around you.
Peace robbers.
 I am talking about that thing that rises up in you when the thought of parting with it makes you clutch it to your breast and run with it. I have had that experience several times.
They were some things that I loved! And then the Lord in his small voice asks me... more than me? Of course, I say, no Lord nothing more than you... than give it away He says. Sometimes things in this world get in the way of entering into that peace that the Lord has for us and we don't even realize it. Yes, I am going to get spiritual here, because that is where I come from, it is how I look at everything that pertains to me including my possessions because they are not mine to begin with. Once you realize that all you have is His and He is pure Love, nothing matters after that.  I can give it away because I trust Him, He knows what is best for me.
This is not easy... as I write this I am torn. Could I really give it all away? 
 I was in a similar position a while back when closing the shop... the Lord had another plan and I was to close the shop, all that I worked for and loved... so I thought.
It was hard, I am not going to say it was easy, but do you know since closing I have not missed it for a minute. Whenever you choose Him he multiplies your peace and joy.
Yes, I can give it away.

You may say right now, what does this have to do with organizing?
When organizing the first thing you must do is prioritize and this enables you to do what you have to do, sometimes the choices are hard.

Secondly, When buying or collecting, I usually have a place for it. The collection does not become bigger than the place I have chosen it for. It has to add to the look not take away from.

 If I see a piece that I really like, I think to myself, where can I display this or what can I trade out for it. If I can't come up with something, I normally do not buy it. There are exceptions to any rule... don't get under guilt, allow yourself some fun!
The third category is buying for your business.
 This is where I am right now, with too much stuff. Because I recently closed my shop, I have stuff brimming over in every nook and cranny. This is not good. So I am taking time when life settles down a little to solve this problem. I do have some shows booked to help lessen some of it, but I need to go through and organize it. This is a huge job...  this is important, if you are overwhelmed by a huge job that you have, staring you in the face right now...
 Do not wait until you feel like doing it, you will never get that feeling. Make a date and then start chipping away at it, your feelings will follow the action.
 Do not look at the whole job, just what you have in front of you.
I have a storage place rented and also my garage. I just do not have time to do this now but I am not going to feel guilty, I have instead put it on my calendar. 
I also am not buying anything right now, I am fixing up what needs tweaking and using what I have with some creative display. Many times we buy for the sake of buying but have a garage full of stuff that needs tweaking. If I get too many projects lined up, I will feel too overwhelmed and do nothing. And then fall into buying for the next event or shop and it becomes a vicious circle.  

In closing, I want to add that I think this accumulation of out of control stuff is a growing problem for many of us. We live in a society that shops... we shop for pleasure and for the hunt, with so many blessings accessible to us.
We are a very busy society that hardly has time to sit down at the dining room table together, let alone deal with everything in the garage. There are only so many hours in our day...
By working hard together with encouragement we can overcome what we have created and reap the rewards. It will be well worth the efforts.
Thank you so much for having me, I so enjoyed visiting today.
Many Blessings

Thank you Rebecca for helping me out with this difficult topic!
I love seeing things through your eyes!
It gives us whole new perspective on our stuff!And the role it should play in our lives~ donna
If you haven't visited her is Rebecca's Blog


  1. Boy do I get this!
    I have the same beliefs. I think it is important to use what God gives me for His glory (and that is what you just did by your testimony)
    My it up for hospitality that blesses vehicle...pick up kids for church or take someone to the doctor. And you'd give it all up if He would.

  2. Hi Rebecca! I followed you over here via your blog and I just HAD to tell you, that this post couldn't have come at a better time for me! I have been struggling the with too-much-stuff syndrome and it has robbed me of my peace..especially time to go create, because I was constantly thinking about, feeling guilty about all the 'stuff' I've accumulated and have no where to put. I have set a date next Saturday to have a garage sale and am going thru all the areas of my house trying to get rid of things, but IT IS SO HARD!! I can think of a million ways to use something and I JUST KNOW I will need it as soon as I get rid of it! Ya know what I mean? ;-)
    The Lord's given me the scripture
    Matthew 6:19-21 (The Message)

    A Life of God-Worship
    19-21"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."
    Even so IT IS SO HARD! Your post resonated with gave me comfort that you expressed the very things that I feel, and I don't feel so alone now.
    Thank you so much for this wonderful, timely post!
    Blessings to you!

  3. Rebecca and Donna,

    I cannot tell you how much this post touches my heart. Knowing that other "birds of a feather" struggle with the same issues as I makes me feel so much better. I had begun to feel like I was one step away from the "Hoarders" show (okay, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but anyway...). Somehow, knowing that this issue of accumulating is not uncommon among us vintage loving/creative types makes me feel like I can tackle my monsters, pretty monsters though they may be.

    Love to both of you for addressing this subject,


  4. What a wonderful post to read this quiet Sunday morning. DH and I are working on decluttering. We've been in the business of buying and selling antiques and collectibles but got out many years ago. The green eyed monster can attack us in many ways in many areas. We no longer buy 'things' like we did, and what a relief that is. I am learning contentment where I am with what I have been blessed with.

    Thank you for this heartfelt post.


  5. Hello Rebecca, This is such a wonderful post, I have to say that I have a lot of these traits and it is hard to control. Thank you for doing this post, it really make me think. Have a wonderful week. Hugs, Terri

  6. Hello beautiful ladies. Thank you for this great post and for hosting the Studio Sunday! Much love to you!
    XXX Ido

  7. Hello Rebecca,
    You do have a beautiful studio to create in!
    This is a lovely post and it does make me stop and think as I could be a little guilty of collecting too much stuff!!!
    Take care,

  8. Sweetest Rebecca,
    I ,too belong in this "little" comunity of people ,almost hoarding ,the things that for each of us are beautifull old treasures,-I feel it hard to resist, too- and I too, have the excuse of being able to take it to my shop, for sale-
    thankyou for your beautifull, and so well thought and written post, sweet friend-- you surely made me take a look inside , to reflect on my overfilled studio, and collections.

    Blessings and hugs,

  9. Beautiful pictures and thoughtful post.

  10. Donna,
    This is an excellent post. and so helpful.
    The part about choosing something over God is good food for thought.
    I'm afraid I get entirely too 'thing' oriented sometimes.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    barbara jean

  11. oops. just remembered it was Rebecca who wrote that. thank you for having her as a guest.

    barbara jean

  12. What useful ideas! And so thoughtfully expressed! So many things to think about. Thanks so much.

  13. What a treat for me tonight to come here and see my two favorite girls in the whole world!!!! I came by late last night and blogger wouldn't let me comment, so I am back tonight to tell you Rebecca that I loved every word of this beautifully written post. I have gained much from your words and hope that this will help me in making the tough decisions (you know...the to buy or the not to buy). Sometimes I let my heart take over and not my head. I am an emotional person and I form attachments that sometimes make no sense at all. I have learned to edit, by not having it all out at once, but I can't make myself part with things. Thank goodness we have a BIG shed and four daughter's who sometimes like to take things home to live with them for awhile until I want them back. I know this is not the answer, but I will work on it. Luckily I don't get to shop very often because of commitments at home and the fact that I have to drive so far for any kind of decent shopping.
    I love your sweet heart and I love all that you do and accomplish in your life. (that goes for you too Donna!!!!!!!!!!)
    Thank you for this saved me so much money on a shrink.heehee Just writing this has been theraputic.

    sending love to you both...

    Now if blogger trashes THIS comment i'll scream!


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné