Huge thanks must go to my sister who came over last week and kickstarted the decluttering process for me. We are moving house in 10 days time and thank goodness I started when I did. For the first time in our eight year relationship, Pete and I will have all our possessions all together in one place and, put it this way, there ain’t a lot of room.
It was also my sister who put me on to Marie Kondo‘s The Magic of the Art of Tidying, a couple of Christmases ago. I’m assuming you’ve read it? I mean who hasn’t? It’s the kind of book I love, read immediately and stop about 3/4 of the way through. Why? I’m not sure, but perhaps it has to do with the fact that once one finishes, one presumably has to take action of some sort. In any case I have since finished it and still love it and subscribe to Marie’s philosophy on tidying and only keeping the things that bring you joy. By which I mean it’s aspirational, not necessarily applicable to my life. Hmm.
Which brings me back to last week and the start of the major declutter (I’m currently on my eighth car load destined for the charity shop, not counting the eBay and Gumtree items). Pete had left 4 days prior and I had been hit by a debilitating tiredness. Like a whole wall of tiredness I couldn’t find the reason for. Was it being a single mum again after 2 weeks of splitting the responsibility? I don’t remember it happening before. Was it menopausal symptoms? Too much wine? Too much sun? None seemed likely. The only time I could remember feeling something similar was when I was grieving for my father, but that didn’t make sense, I mean there’s a little grief when Pete leaves and I like my rented house and that, but actual grieving? Unlikely.
The spare room had become a nightmare of such proportions I couldn’t face it and simply closed the door. Undeterred my brave sister marched in, wine in hand and made me go through my wardrobe. Having an objective eye was invaluable, as she politely (or should that be pointedly) asked questions like; when was the last time you wore that? does that still fit you? would you ever wear that again? as item after item was held up for scrutiny. She didn’t stop there, demanding ever more items to sort, boxes of random materials and tablecloths appeared, the mountain of bedding mostly disappeared, even the kids
wardrobes got the treatment. Bags, shoes, scarves, the ‘holiday’ clothes, the ‘souvenir’ t-shirts and, er, tasselled poncho from Mexico (yes really, and the cowboy boots went too). “It’s not the easiest colour” she remarked of the lime green African shirt, at which point we collapsed in a heap of giggles and from then on that was the verdict on anything we consigned to the charity bag. It was midnight when we retired, three car loads ready for donation the next day.
And lo and behold, the next day I felt AWESOME! Like a ton weight of bricks had been lifted off my shoulders. Despite the wine and the late night I felt like a different person and I ascribe it all to the decluttering we had started the night before. Of course, I thought, I’ve been overwhelmed by the move and all that needs to be done, shutting the door both literally and metaphorically on the mess Pete and I had created and the baggage we had dragged around with us from house to house, country to country.
Now I can’t stop. I’ve been decluttering for over a week and it feels fantastic. I have unpacked boxes we brought from Myanmar and hadn’t opened in two years, I’ve sent 4 bin liners of the kids books, toys and games to the charity shop and I’m only half way through, and I have become ruthless in my sorting. The thing is, the more I get rid of the better I feel. Plus, on a purely practical note, there simply isn’t the storage in the new place and I’m the one that will be lugging all the bloody stuff around. So less is definitely more. And if I feel a twinge of doubt about something, I simply look at it and think; well, it’s not the easiest colour… Cheers Sis!