Judging from the amount of stuff donated to charity shops during the beginning of January, many fellow declutterers used their time off over the Christmas period to do some serious clearing out.
Me too. During the long break over Christmas and the New Year, I had a major blitz on the stuff. My final Burberry out of the 4 I inherited from my mother along with everything else not sold on eBay, went to a charity shop. I also worked through the kitchen with my husband to go through a few cupboards (that we never open) to get rid of all the stuff we never use. 6 large bags of unused kitchen items went to charity, including vintage Tupperware. Even though it was hard to part with expensive items of clothing (that I will never wear) handing it over to charity was cathartic. Using the 365 rule enabled me to be ruthless, it was exhausting but I felt lighter.
After the burst of energy and associated ruthlessness,I came to a standstill. I still wasn’t loving my home and the overwhelming desire to put everything into a skip, sell the house and run away, was tapping me on the shoulder.
Then a few things happened that came out of the blue to change all that. As I have discovered on this journey is that sometimes things happen that you couldn’t have planned for. What you have to do is recognise them and embrace them for what they are. Opportunities. I could have said no to these, but I am glad I didn’t.
First, I had an offer of an hour of one to one life coaching from Lisa Cherry Beaumont. I met Lisa last summer and had benefitted from some group sessions with her, but this one to one session has really helped nail what I want out of life. Lisa enabled me to identify what I needed to do to enjoy my home and current life more while planning for more travel in the short and long term.
One big dilemma was what to do with the house. Sell or rent? With guidance from Lisa, I have developed a plan to rent the house out to fund travelling. Part of this plan involves the continued decluttering and de personalising the house. What I had been doing, she helped me realise, was mentally storing all my to do’s on virtual post its in my head. The coaching helped me to get all those tasks on one page and gain clarity to identify what needed to be done, why I needed to do it, and by when.
Second, a friend advertised two rather lush leather sofas for sale. And I really hated my sitting room and its tatty furniture.
A few days later, my sitting room looks like this.
I had to put up with this for a couple more days.
A phone call to a local charity and I am now left with this to reclaim as a study/dining room.
I have already begun to tackle the paper mountain so scanning and the cloud are becoming my decluttering friends. My once 20,000 plus email inbox at home is empty. Read it, action it, file it or Pin it, depending on what it is. My office one I am working on.
I am happier in my space and re energised to continue to follow through the plan Lisa helped me to formulate. I can see progress. I am taking action and making changes to achieve the life I want to live.
I then had an email from Warren, one half of a married couple who write a blog I follow, Married with Luggage. They sold everything to travel a few years ago, and have written a short book about decluttering. The purpose of the email was to thank me for sharing their posts and came with an offer of advice from them – what could they do for me. Wow! Now I am not naive enough to think that they only single me out, however I am a super sharer, when it comes to social media. And that is why they emailed me.
The stumbling block for me is photos. I have so many. Mom kept many in shoe boxes gathering dust for 30 years. There are others, in albums, that belonged to my Nan. Dating back to the 1930’s and before. My mother was an organised hoarder, everything labelled in boxes, and I recognised I had inherited this trait.
The solution offered was to have a photo party. Spend some time going through them, re living memories, scanning in the ones we love. And then getting rid of the ones we don’t. I am not sure that I am ready to lose all of them. I am certain that there will be a lot that I will be able to. As I am not selling the house, I can keep some things in ‘our space’ that are important to us now. and let go of those things that are not.
Then came the big one. Out of the blue I got an offer of a house sit in Melbourne for 4 weeks.
Going back to Australia was always part of the long term strategy to achieve the life of travel I wanted. But not just yet. I love my job and Italy and Greece was the plan for this summer. Will I deviate from the plan? Right now I have to grab all those virtual post its and get them on one page. Then I will have clarity.
Addendum October 2017
Looking back on this post and I had no idea how my life was about to change in 2015. While we didn’t get to Greece or Italy in 2015, we took 5 weeks on extended leave to go to Australia. Then we sold the house and I left the job I loved (I volunteer there now). In 2016 we had another 4 months down under and the DH and I visited Italy and Greece. We then undertook major renovations on the new house which was painful but worth it. Phew. Life is all a bit dull now…..