24 April 2012

Decluttering and moving forward

I've was busy all day yesterday and will be again today so instead of carrying on from the food challenge, today I'm writing about decluttering. I still have some thinking and reorganising to do with the food so I'll carry on with that tomorrow.

I suggest in my book that it's a worthwhile exercise to declutter at the end of every decade. If you do that, you'll open up yourself for new life to float in and you'll not be tied down with excessive possessions that you have to look after. Hanno and I are not at the end of decades but we decided to reorganise and declutter our bedroom and our guest bedroom. We have an expanding family and changes need to be made so everyone feels comfortable here.

The room is now light and airy with only what is necessary left in the room. There is a little portable cot for the babies tucked away in the cupboard.

Our guest room was originally our bedroom and 15 years ago, when we came to live here, we added a bedroom and an extra bathroom. Hanno and I use that bedroom and bathroom now and over the years our old bedroom has turned into a guest room and a collection point for old furniture and junk the kids left behind when they left home.  We decided to spruce everything up about three weeks ago. I told Hanno my plan - to paint and reorganise, he added his ideas, and before I knew it, we'd selected paint and the job was started. We also replaced the 15 year old previously recycled curtains and while we didn't add any furniture to our bedroom we bought a little dressing table for the guest room. Everything else was recycled and moved around to better suit the style of each room.

The walls were painted a very pale grey-blue, we took out everything that wasn't necessary and either gave it away or have it stored in the shed in case the kids want extra furniture when they move from flats into houses. I haven't quite finished working on our bedroom yet. We have French doors in there and I'm still trying to find time to make new curtains for the doors. When it's finished, I might take a photo to show you what we've done in there to. I'm very happy with both rooms - they both feel lighter, bigger and liberated from the weight of junk and stuff.

That little green rabbit was made for me by my sister, Tricia, using a recycled woollen blanket.

We both still have some decluttering of our wardrobes to carry out, but I hope mine will be done this weekend. Decluttering your own wardrobe can be quite confronting. I have resisted doing it for too long, but I'm in the right frame of mind now and on the weekend, there will be a couple of bags full of clothes and shoes going to the local St Vincent de Paul shop. Hanno will do his too, but I'm not sure when. (He might even start his when he reads this post so he can beat me to it.) ; - ) I have three questions I ask myself when I declutter:
  1. Would I be sad if I didn't have this?
  2. Is this important to me and my family?
  3. Have I used this in the past year?
Usually the answer is no, and out it goes to be given away or recycled in some way. It feels good.

No one wants to spend their life being a curator of accumulated goods. It is liberating and symbolic when you start divesting yourself of all the unwanted goods you've carried with you for years. It is silently saying: I don't need these things now and I don't need to hang on to them. My life is simpler now, I am moving on. 

I keep going into our guest room so I can smile at it. I'm pretty sure it's smiling back at me because we've removed the burden of those 15 years. All those reminders of wasted hours shopping and wasted dollars, I wonder now why I waited so long to do it. 

I'd love to hear your decluttering story, or your reasons why you haven't decluttered even when you wanted to.

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