Sunday, March 24, 2013

clearing out

The last couple of weeks have been something of a whirlwind. Joanne (Phyllis' daughter) came over from Brunei for 10 days as it was her term break and the two of us have gone through the house and garage doing a major reorganisation, de-clutter and tidy up. Given so much stuff had been shifted out to the garage so the carpet could be put down it was the perfect opportunity to sort through things.

It has been quite a process with varying amounts of enthusiasm shown by other members of the family for the decision making. There was a mini family get together last weekend and one of Phyllis' daughter in laws was chatting to me whilst her husband and his brother debated the worthiness of what looked to us like just (another) lump of rusty metal - "It's easy for me" she said, "I've no sentimental attachment to it, I'd just say chuck it!" (especially given the rather handy skip sitting on the driveway...). I knew exactly what she meant.

One of the spin-offs of the major clear out/tidy-up is that there is now room for more of my stuff to migrate the 8km down the road from my previous home. Apart from several feet of books and bookcases mostly what is still there is yes, you've guessed it - stuff with sentimental attachment. The sort of stuff that is oh so easy for me to raise my eyebrows about and do 'you don't really need to keep it do you?' when it belongs to someone else but is far harder to part with when you know the story behind it and the memories attached.

However my plan is to bring a few more boxes of stuff and not just simply put it in the place that has been cleared out there in the garage but go through it, properly, and try to whittle it down, even if only a little. Admittedly what I have is the result of several such siftings and has not simply been stashed away "for 'ron" (ie later on) over several decades. Paying for storage and shipping is a huge incentive to reduce the volume of your belongings I can tell you!

Is it useful? Is it beautiful? Does it make me happy? They are the key questions I now try to use when clearing clutter thanks to Karen Kingston's wonderful books - whether you believe in feng shui or not she has some fantastic advice about how to part with 'stuff'.

Since Joanne left the work around the house has slowed down, mainly due to having done most of what was needed, but we had the skip for another day after she left so yet more garden waste was shifted from what had been an enormous pile. Now that corner of the garden looks so spacious and, well, clutter-free! There is room for the things we want to encourage to grow, it is easier to find the quinces as they fall to harvest them - echoing the feng shui theory in a slightly different way. Whether it will bring about longer term changes in our lives who knows, all I know is the short term effect has been a day spent rescuing mice from the cat who has found she now has easy access to a nest of them somewhere in that corner! I'll keep you posted...

No comments: