Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Less Is More Than Enough

One of my favorite NPR radio programs, “The Story,” recently featured a guy named Chris McNaught, who is determined to pare his possessions down to a modest 500. Can you imagine? I have more than that in my sewing room alone!

His concept is not unlike the William Morris' quotation, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It’s about making intentional, purposeful choices, rather than mindlessly accumulating stuff.

Chris includes everyday items like dishes, clothes, books, and music CDs in his tally. However, food, toothpaste, or other personal products that get used upare not counted. With sentimental items, he’ll sometimes take photos for posterity, before selling or giving things away.

I couldn't live like that, could you? I’m way too fond of my stuff. Even so, an occasional exercise in restraint is a good reminder that less is often more than we actually need.

On one of my first Mother’s Days, I asked my husband to skip the gift. What I really wanted was some uninterrupted time to sew. This little quilt is what I started that day. It's made of Roberta Horton's "Mood Indigo" fabric, just a few sample squares that I had of the black plaids. It reminds me that it doesn’t take a big investment of money, fabric, or time to satisfy a creative urge--just the bare essentials.

Sawtooth Sampler
16” x 18”
machine pieced, hand quilted
© Diane Burdin, 1990

George Carlin also has a great take on "Stuff"
(contains adult language)


  1. sweet quilt. I really miss those Roberta Horton fabrics. I truly enjoy watching all those de-cluttering shows too. Makes me feel better about myself cuz I might be slobby, but I'm a looong way from living like that.

  2. Oh I really love that quilt! Those are my colors and plaids! And the little iron it is sooo cute! It is perfect!

  3. Wow! I was searching to see if anyone has used any of my flickr photos, and I noticed my name in one of the results - so I clicked on it. I feel almost famous because you mentioned me in your blog.

    Thanks for the publicity, and for listening to my story.