The Spring Cure: The Landing Strip

The Spring Cure: The Landing Strip

Sarah Rae Smith
Mar 31, 2010

• Cure Clock: 6 weeks to go
• Assignment: Read Week 3: The Landing Strip
• Cure Members: 1,326 (join here)

Although this week's Cure is all about bringing color into your home and working out a landing strip, I'd like to take this moment to bring you the words and photos from a man who calls himself "The Minimalist Slob." Forester Michael from Kansas City, Mo. wrote to us to share how decluttering his home not only changed the way he feels in his space, but changed his life all together. His words and pictures are more than inspiring and we hope you're able to gather some inspiration from someone who's been where you are — and not only come out alive, but a changed man!

Having been through my own personal steps of purging and cleaning clutter, I know first hand what it takes to come to terms with the deep seated need to hang onto things that were essentially weighing me down. This behind the scenes look at how someone else conquered the need for "stuff and things" really hit home. Although we talk a great deal about making your house a home and the decorating stages, none of that really means a thing if you can't clear or organize the space so your decorative touches don't end up as clutter themselves.

Nest week we'll be back with a full gallery of tons of photos from all of our Curees hard work, so keep those photos coming in our Flickr pool and check out the wise words and story below from artist and photographer, Forester Michael.

Forester's previous loft space.

I love the minimalist designers, painters and architects. Oh, The clean lines. The open spaces, The fields of color, the long walks from a table to a chair. And the LIGHT! Swoon. I've wanted this as long as I can remember. To be so simple and pure. Like a monk… but on a Knoll. The thing is. I'm not a minimalist. I'm a slob.

I am a World-Class slob. Not the kind that keeps twenty years of newspapers, but the procrastinator kind. The kind that's always full of guilt. "I really should clean this place up." The response was always, "How do I start?" It's daunting! Scary! Bigger than you! So I went and hid under a pile of coats. The mess always continued.

For the last couple of years I've had a lovely little one bedroom with a ten foot wide French doors and side windows that open onto it's balcony. It, of course, is a pit. Clothes, papers, tools, boxes, dishes, miscellaneous things dragged home because they seemed useful. These are dropped unceremoniously into any speck of open space. The sofa has a job. It's for coats. A plate is only cleaned the moment before it is used. Then it waits with it's film of sauce, grease, and or crumbs until it is needed again and then washed. I live in shame. Never inviting friends over. Constantly loosing face in front of girlfriends. The counters and my ego looked like shit. This has been my existence in my home for my entire life.

This year something has changed. Possibly feeling my age. Possibly no longer content with dying young or dying old and alone. Possibly no longer waiting to have the world I want. It took me a couple of months but now… my apartment is clean. Really clean. Everything is put away in it's place. Nothing out of place. Oh! And it's not about having one day a week where you go and tidy up the place. Oh no. When I am done with a pen, I put it away. When I am done with a meal I clean my plate. When I take off my clothes for bed, they go in the hamper. And when I get out of bed… I make it.

The transition to living in this kind of place for the first time was unnerving… what was the feeling?.. it felt… morbid. The emptiness made it feel like a tomb. Like the fear we have of the dark. The cold, empty nothingness in front of us. When I moved around in the space all I could hear were my footsteps. I would walk from one end of my apartment to get a dustpan, then back across to use it, and then again as I went to put it where it belongs. There was nothing but steps and the whisp(er)s of a broom. After a week or two I stopped waiting for the emptiness to be filled with a ghost that would stimulate my senses. In the same way the clutter focused me with the threat of taking me down at the knees and killing me by putting my head into a casually tossed aside bike pedal. I noticed I was by choice living quieter. I don't constantly have music or podcasts blaring. I now liked the quiet, and I'm the one that quieted it. I have made this my home, and I chose for it to be quiet. I am a minimalist.

There are no design masterpieces here in my lovely home. No brilliant storage solutions. There is space. Space for confidence in travel across a floor. Space for work. Space for decisions. Space for calm. I am now happy here. I feel joy in the morning as I make my bed. I put on a clean folded t-shirt, pants, socks, shoes, maybe a sweater if it's chilly. I'm dressed. I am now ready for the day. I can do as I choose, and there is nothing in my way.

Thanks Forester!

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