I've been organising my home over the past few weeks but this time it's not the same as what I've done in the past. I don't think of it as decluttering anymore because to me, clutter is a group of unwanted items making a room look untidy; most of what I let go of was hidden in drawers, cupboards and sheds and taking up space that I wanted to reclaim.
This was way overdue - my spices. I only had one bottle that was passed its use-by date but that date was 2018!
I was much more mindful this time. Now it's only me who lives here, I didn't have to consider anyone else's ideas or choices - I was creating the spaces where I would live in the coming years. The thought of cupboards and drawers containing unwanted clothes and shoes, unneeded bed linens, tools, manuscripts, fabrics, timber, paper work, photos and who knows what else forced me to sort through it all. It was a horrible job, it took a lot longer than I thought it would but it was liberating, satisfying and SO worthwhile. If you've been thinking of doing something like this, I urge you to go ahead with it. It's life changing.
It made me think of my parents and my grandmother's homes. Back then, houses generally didn't have spare rooms, garages or sheds packed full of "stuff". Now, in a world where most families need storage space for all the things they buy, we also have the newish business of storage sheds where you can buy space to store things you own but never use. 🤔 My mother, like most parents back then, packed summer or winter clothes away in the top of the linen press and used the clothes appropriate for that season. At the end of the season, they were washed, folded and put away again. That was the only kind of storage I can remember.
Hanno's office. I spent a long time here working out how to pay things on time, what accounts could go and shredding papers.
Sadly, we've fallen into a trap of buying what we like because it's cheap. We've surrendered our dollars to China/India who make what we want while they become stronger and we are weakened. We need OUR OWN manufacturing industries so that our people have jobs and we stop giving money to other countries. When we pay our own populations to make the goods we need, they'll be paid a fair and decent wage and the products will be priced appropriately. It's a good way to cut rampant consumerism.
While I was at it, I made a new ironing board cover.
I started reorganising our home soon after Hanno died. Tricia organised Hanno's clothes so I didn't have to deal with them and I started on the kitchen cupboards, Hanno's office, laundry, bathrooms and garage. I thought about doing this for about three weeks and I decided to keep what I love as well as what I absolutely need, and remove the rest. And when I say remove, that doesn't mean it's now in the garage or in the car boot, it's ALL GONE from my life and my home. For instance, I got rid of my old china, cutlery, glassware, pots, pans, bakeware and some furniture and small appliances. But I kept the dinner set Hanno gave me for our 25th wedding anniversary - a Villeroy and Boch Petite Fleur set that I love and had on display in a cupboard. We only used it at Christmas and birthdays, now I use it every day and it makes me SO happy. I got rid of my bread maker and slow cooker. If I want bread I'll knead it by hand and I can easily use my old cast iron pot on the induction top for slow cooking. I'm currently working on my wardrobe and the linen press. I'll be finished next week. 🙃
I use my Petite Fleur dinner set every day now and wish I'd done it years ago. I just kept a few extra dinner plates and bowls because when all my family are here, there are ten of us.
It took a long time because I wanted to be sure of my decisions and I was dealing with my stuff as well as Hanno's, but now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Most of my reorganisation is done, 90 percent of what I want gone is gone and I feel that the work I've done is an investment in my future. There were SO many things I could have been doing instead of sorting through rubbish, getting stuck with pins, sneezing because of the dust, and having to decide where to put what was in my hand (most of the time it went to recycle and sometimes the rubbish bin).
I resolved that from now on I'll deal with excess by not buying it in the first place and if something I already have becomes superfluous, I'll get rid of it. No more putting things in a box or a cupboard to gather dust for years simply because I couldn't decide, or was too lazy to deal with it there and then. This has been life changing for me and it makes me happy every day to get out of bed and look at what I've done. I'm not looking after junk I don't need now, I have extra space inside my home, it feels right and I'm SO glad I did it. If you've got a lot of stuff you're not using and have stored away, I hope my story will help you to do what I did. It's not easy but it will make your future life easier.