Skipping the destruction


Sitting at my workstation, about 8:30am, and desperately wanting to order a skip and throw half my house into it. Bit drastic.

It goes against the reuse and recycle ethos. So, I didn’t order the skip. But it was a reminder that last year’s Year of Liveability didn’t fix everything in my home.

It particularly didn’t fix my habit of making a mess.  It’s one thing to growl at the dust bunnies accumulating in the corners as I sweep them up – I’m unable to control the creation of dust – but it seems I am limited to only growling at myself when I look at the state of my sewing table, study and (very embarrassingly) the kitchen counter.

I should be able to control the placement of objects.

(And, no, that is not a photo of my kitchen counter. The glasses are waiting patiently for someone to take them home from a charity garage sale.)


This post has been prompted by a piece of paper I found – an article I printed last year about the Japanese concept of ‘mottainai’. I wish I knew how to pronounce it. It looks like a beautifully-sounding word.


In a nutshell, mottainai is the feeling of regret at wasting the intrinsic value of a resource or object. It is only OK to thankfully farewell the object’s spirit when that intrinsic value is exhausted.

It also means one should only have as much as one needs. To have more is also wasteful.

As I found out last year, the definition of “need” is often at the crux of the problem.


Was it my teenage years, or maybe my twenties, when I was going to hand-make everything? … that wasn’t electrical. That would limit what I owned; time is limited.

The overwhelming scope of that idea ensured it didn’t last long. Nevertheless, the essence remains and occasionally finds expression.

I broke one of my home-made, hand-made pottery bowls today. These glasses, wearing them when I shouldn’t, coupled with a lack of attention, Opps.

All broken pottery goes into a bucket. One day I will make a mosaic with them. One day, when I learn how to make mosaics.


I think it is easier to avoid making a mess in beautiful spaces, and I have the example to prove it.

My front doormat is a rug of exquisite colours that warm my heart. On this rug sit two reclaimed cane baskets. They look comfortably at home. They have an intentional look about them, as if saying “We are here for a purpose, that purpose is fulfilled and we are proud of our contribution”.

Into them I happily toss my always-practical shoes.

Cane Baskets


It’s time to create some more beautiful spaces. They don’t have to be expensive. They just have to make me smile when I look at them.

_ _


Taylor, K. Radio National. “Avoiding waste with the Japanese concept of ‘mottainai’, downloaded 27/8/2015 from‘mottainai’/6722720

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: