The Graceful Art of Subtraction

My youngest daughter and I visited my friends over the summer while they did a house sit in LA. My daughter was most impressed by the fact that Warner Brothers was shooting a television show next door and using the lawn of the house we were in to stage equipment.

I was impressed with the house owners’ fork and knife and spoon drawer.

The homeowners were committed minimalists. Every item in their house was beautiful, useful, and had a place. In the utensil drawer, there was no mosh pit of metal and plastic and crumbs. Everything was uniform and serene and I swore I heard the forks chanting “om” whenever I moved to set the table.

On my return to my own home, I devoted a day to clutter clearing my own kitchen, bathrooms, and closets. I gave away a full Prius hatchback worth of stuff. I subtracted so many of my extraneous belongings that my house was a minimalist dream for months. I was proud of myself.

This is my utensil drawer now post-holiday:


If you put your ear close to the screen you can hear the forks screaming for their lives.

Don’t worry, I’m going to fix it, and every other space that fell off the minimalist wagon over the holidays. I like the freedom of movement in a space with a lot of space.

A lot of what’s good in my life I attribute to general subtraction and not just with my stuff. There is a long list of habits I’ve either dropped or never started because I prefer the peace and space I get without them. There is an even longer list of hobbies, activities, and events I eschew every day in favor of writing and reading. Soccer practice, for example. Knitting. I hardly even watch Netflix unless I have it on while I’m ironing because there is something very minimalist about wearing a crisp white shirt steam ironed while I was watching The Peaky Blinders.

I’m most inspired by single-taskers. For example, I like the long annual reading lists my author friends are posting on Facebook this week. They must clear a merciless swath of time in their schedules to read. Obligations to clutter their lives with less interesting matters must end up in the bin like the branches my husband pruned off the fruit trees yesterday. What a wonderful way to live.

I’m going to go fix my forks.







  1. Your forks were screaming. Ha ha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were though.


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