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Clearing Clutter

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I woke up this morning thinking again about the importance of clearing clutter.  This is true in our gardens as much as our lives.  Then I read this.  It brought yet another dimension to the benefits of removing the things that no longer serve us.  The way another friend put it was to walk away from the things that no longer serve us, grow us or help us.  I remember hearing one interior designer say that everything she owned had to serve at least one of two purposes: it had to be either beautiful or useful.  I was out in the garden fairly late into the evening last night, after a rain.  I’d had some marigolds to accompany the tomato plants but didn’t have time to put them in the ground earlier.  So I squished around with my rubber boots in the mud and got the eight of them in the ground.  Now that everything is pretty much in and where it’s going to be (but never say never — I seem to always find a spot that needs a pot or a pot that needs a resident), my focus now will be to clear away the clutter from my garden.  I do have lots of seeds and tools that I’m not using.

I think it’s easy for gardeners in particular to hold onto the things we don’t really want or need because there is always another season.  My friend, the clutter buster, though, would remind me that when you clear space, you make room for something new and better to come into your life.

QUESTION:  What have you had a hard time clearing from your collection of garden supplies?  What do you save and what do you toss year to year?  What are you on the fence about letting go of?

Go ahead … gimme the dirt!

9 responses to “Clearing Clutter

  1. terence ⋅

    i never think of friends as serving me unless i don’t like them and don’t care about exploiting them. hee hee.
    maybe it’s just the words you use. they kinda give off a wierd vibe. anyway, i liked that clutter buster guy. that’s interesting. thanks.

    • Revel

      Hi Terence, I hear you. I don’t think about people that way either, at least I like to think I don’t, although maybe we all do to some extent. I wasn’t necessarily advocating that approach (in other words – ditch someone unless they’re doing you some good). I do think it’s useful though to take an expansive view of the definition of clutter. It’s not just things. It can be unhealthiness in relationships. Even if you don’t toss the relationship, maybe you can toss the unhealthy aspect of it. I know, easier said than done. Btw, I had seen that comment on FB and also kinda gristled at it, especially since I’m a member of a family/household, and don’t have the luxury or desire to just toss people off if the relationship isn’t serving me well. My mantra, as of late, has been “choose harmony.” It’s gotten me through some fingernail on chalkboard moments, and has cleared the debris that can be caused by unhealthy interactions. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

  2. Ralph ⋅

    Garden wise- flower pots or anything that looks like it would do a reasonable job of holding soil. You know, the yogurt, margarine, and similar containers, the clear plastic containers with covers that fold down into a mini greenhouse, and don’t forget the tall plastic containers that often come with Chinese soup takeout. Actually the tall soup type containers are home for a few of my red ti branches. Most recently, old plastic kitchen storage containers (with a hole in the bottom) have been put to use. I use the lids as a dish underneath.

    Lately I am once again getting to like the old fashion brown clay pots. I only have a couple still unbroken, one with a clay ‘dish’ to go underneath and catch excess water. For leaving outside, the weight of the clay is an advantage when windy. I’ve picked a few plastic pots off the floor after a windy day. Now I either move all the plastic pots to the ground or position them between heavier containers to keep them in place. For recycling those broken clay pots I break them into pieces and use them with gravel at the bottom of other pots. I just used some pieces for that yesterday.

    One more thing that fortunately does not take up much room (is it still clutter) is seeds. When anything goes to seed I try to save as many seeds as reasonably possible. Part of the reason is so things won’t grow rampant next season (not much of an issue lately), and the other is I guess I like collecting them.

    A small size plastic shed I bought a few years back is real nice clutter collector/ hiding place. It’s out of the way but still near the garden. It holds the not often used lawn mower and a mixture of ‘stuff’ that shouldn’t be in the house- like some gasoline and paint thinner.

    Far worse than the garden clutter is magazine, mail, and catalog accumulation. But that’s a different topic 🙂

  3. Revel

    I also have taken to the old(er) fashioned clay pots this year. I was reading about planting some strawberries I picked up on a whim (more on that later), and the book suggested using broken clay pot pieces in the bottom. I realized i didn’t have any. I’ve been trying to get away from plastic in general lately , so I figured it was time to move to clay. I think the clay also helps keep the plants cool on some of the hotter days we’ve had lately. In the morning, I spray down the clay pots and you can tell by looking and seeing how dark it is that it’s holding water. It also, I think, is better because the water can seep into it if you happen to over-water. Unfortunately, they’re pricey, especially the very large ones. If anyone knows a good source to get them cheap, please let us know.

    I’m having a hard time with all the plastic containers I have too, especially because I have been short on them seasons prior when I’m growing something from seed.

    It’s great that you have the shed. I’m thinking about trying to create some space like that as well. While I don’t have room for a full shed, the fact that there is no storage space out there makes my back gardening area (deck and yard) more prone to clutter. I keep the lawnmower (also rarely used) under a raised portion of the deck right now, and probably would continue to do so, but some place to keep my gardening tools away from rust-causing elements would be helpful. Now that the plants are in the ground and busy doing their growing, I think I’ll turn to projects like these. Any suggestions are welcome!

    p.s. even small seeds can be clutter…size does not matter wen it comes to clutter. What is more significant is if there is emotional connection to something (and by that I mean emotional connection that is not necessarily the healthiest). Pay attention to your reaction to something. If you look at it and sigh and think about the work it’s creating (usually by virtue simply of finding a place for it, or because it represents something you don’t really want to do), it’s likely clutter. Old books and magazines tend to be very big clutter clusters. When I’m having a hard time letting go of something, I usually tell myself that if I have not used it within the past year, it’s time to let it go. I then throw it away, and try to get it out of the house (not just put it in a pile to toss later).

  4. Ralph ⋅

    I only have a few clay pots that are intact. From what I’ve heard they tend to dry up faster since they’re porous. I haven’t noticed that but it seems to make sense. On really hot days I fill the saucer (what do you call the dish under the pot?) with water and it absorbs into the soil after a while. One pot with some carrots in it has roots coming out the hole in the bottom. I am guessing they grew down to use the water in the tray when the soil gets too dry. In the heat lately my containers have been soaking up lots of water. A few are pretty crammed which doesn’t help and I usually end up watering them a couple times per day.

    The shed I have is not as large as you may think. I measured the ‘footprint’ of the things I wanted to store in it and found a plastic one (in Home Depot if I recall) that’s a little more than waist high (I measured the height of the lawnmower handle when folded for storage) and has 2 swinging doors in front.

    I also hung up a tarp under my deck. It keeps rain and snow off whatever is under it but also allows wind through to help keep things dry. My deck is high enough to go under if you bend over (and watch your head). I haven’t done it yet, but there should be a way to also the tarp to collect rain since it’s a pretty good size- 8×12 feet. Rain tends to accumulate on it, so some way to drain that off with a hole or maybe a hose into a barrel of sorts should work.

    You probably know already, but with clay pots you have to be careful in winter. If left outside with soil they usually freeze and crack. I either dump the soil or take them inside- same with any ceramic pots.

  5. Ralph ⋅

    I finally got the lumber (untreated) to build my bamboo planter. I had Home Depot where I bought it cut it to size which was much quicker and straighter than doing it myself- plus the cut pieces fit easily in the car. I bought the last of the hardware I needed yesterday. I’ll need to get some soil to fill the box once it’s built, but that should be the easiest part of the project.

    • Revel

      That’s impressive! And ambitious. You can do it, and it will undoubtedly be beautiful. Feel free to send pics if you can. Even if you don’t send them, make sure to take some while in progress — it can be encouraging and reassuring when taking on a big project like that. Will this keep the bamboos from growing too big? Or will it not affect the size of them at all?

  6. Ralph ⋅

    It’s not really hard to do. Home Depot did a lot of the work by cutting the wood for me. Hopefully I have the right size drill- and it’s sharp. I already have a couple ideas on finishing it, but the bottom will take a bit more thought. It’s roughly 2×3 feet and will have to support all the soil’s weight. I am no longer thinking of making this thing mobile unless I have a real strong bottom. Good idea on the pictures. I just got a new camera and can use the practice.

    This should allow the bamboo to spread and get larger. Mine barely passed 5 feet but they can get to 25 feet if I recall. Bamboo grows fast then seems to stop. The newer shoots get larger than the previous. If you are going to use it for something you usually want the branch on the plant a few years before cutting so the canes get good and hard. I would like to get a cutting to start a new batch, but so far I haven’t had any luck.

  7. Ralph ⋅

    Today was the third time I had the lumber for my planter outside, and the third time it got rained on. I was hoping to test fit things but the weather had other things in mind for me. Where are those dry sunny days when you need them?

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