New fun activity, wait for it….de-cluttering! Not as glamorous or fun as you know, print making or gem hunting for jewellery, however surprisingly fun or cathartic or both. Less fun at the start – addictive by the end.
Lets set the scene, this time last year I found myself in the fortunate/unfortunate position of having to leave my flat/cave. The abode I had lived in for just over three years and the place/cave (I say cave as there were many times when I went into the darkness and disappeared for days on end. No signal pass the threshold and no heating for 9 months of the year it was my cave haven) I had begun to call home. Until this time last year that is, when a series of events set in motion the need to get out and get out now! I was then fortunate to discover, over a bottle of wine or three, sat on my living room floor that one of my amazing friends had a solution for me.
So I was moving. Moving all the of the clutter, the gems, the scarves, pillows, throws, eight (yes EIGHT) coffee tables, candles, cups and one very loved rug out of my flat and into a room in a flat. I very quickly had to accept that this was not going to work. Even I, the self-proclaimed logistical queen and planner of planners could not work out a way to get all of my possessions into essentially one room.
So in stepped the second friend; “I know you love everything but you have to be brutal!” So I started, first with the odd tea light here and there, then moving to “maybe some of the cushions have seen better days?”, to the final proclamation: “Everything should go!”
I was obsessed.
In the 8 years of moving from place to place, packing all my belongings and gathering more as I went, I had never really had a clear out. So 5 flats later I had accumulated the contents of a very eclectic manor house and rammed them into a one bedroom flat in a lovely Victorian terrace. It took some convincing from aforementioned second friend, but once the ball was rolling, my goodness it was rolling…very quickly out of control.
After I’d decided that all the furniture could go my very sensible mother stepped in and kindly offered to house some of the larger items until they were required later down the line. She also pointed out that in the heat of the frantic “life de-cluttering” some of the items may hold sentimental value and that I should slow down! So I did, and a selection of things made the cut to my new hideaway. When I say a selection my new bedroom is still heaving and I don’t think I will ever find a place to live that has enough storage.
So that brings us up to now; one massive de-clutter, a fresh start and a new addiction to the lovely cathartic act of – getting rid of the crap!
I am a collector, I’ve written about this many times and friends and family are well aware of the obsession with all things, well actually everything. So de-cluttering has become a useful skill and a great way to de-stress. I love my trinkets and scarves, but until I had no choice but to downsize I’d never realised how stressed and overcrowded having all of my things could make me. I’d never appreciated that my over cluttered flat was causing havoc in my already pretty cluttered brain.
So I am (trying) to embrace the art of continual de-cluttering and I am also improving the art of asking myself whether I really need this or that new item. I also once a month asses and evaluate what I have and what I need (materialistically speaking) and seek out ways I can reduced the mass further. I now actively enjoy sorting through my things, sometimes finding things I had forgotten I had and always feeling like I had cleared a fresh new space in my mind as well as my room.
I hope to have this mastered by the time I move on to my next dwelling. To have the obsession to collect under control and to be able to differentiate between what I need and what I want and to then keep those things in check – as you need a little of what you want!
This idea of mindful living and “slow living” is something that has struck a chord with me of late. After some time away I am starting to realize that maybe modern life does rush by in a whir that isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable. We are always taught that coming first is what we should aim for and modern life is all about fast paced living and I do think that this mindset is leaving so many people feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied. I remember when I first left Somerset, so many people commenting on their experiences of the area and “how laid back life seems to be there” – I miss this.
I will be reading more on slow living and mindful living – I definitely think that there is something to be gained in this.