Clearing the clutter from my house

I am not a hoarder. Definitely not.

Well maybe I am. Just a little bit!

I have had to face facts. I pack things up and put them away at the back of the cupboard. Rarely open them, rarely use them, but comforted in the knowledge that they are there. I have come to understand this quote thoroughly.

I recently moved to the Surrey Hills. This meant my home of 23 years was standing lonely and unloved. I had to bite the bullet and take steps to rent it out. The first step was ‘operation clear out’, which I thought would be straight forward. I wrote my action plan as this task was going to be a practical one, maybe with peripheral emotion.

My house was tidy, but somewhat full. Full! Full was an understatement. I am surprised at the naivety with which I approached this. Digging around nooks and crannies untouched for years. Did I really think it was going to be simple?

I had cultivated and treasured years of memories. My mind, just like my house, was stuffed full to the gunnels with things. Things that would:
• Come in handy in the future.
• Be back in fashion soon.
• Remind me of my life so far.
• Keep people I have lost alive.
• Stop me forgetting.

I felt as if I had been hit by an emotional steam roller. Memories, painful, happy and resurrected, tumbled out as quick as I pulled the precious items from the shelves. My head rang with questions. Will my memories fade? Am I being wasteful? What if I need this in the future?

There is a great article by Michele Hanson at the Guardian called ‘How to conquer the clutter’. One line in it resonated so loud for me it was almost deafening:

‘I daren’t let go of the past, and I know that I’ve completely lost control of the present, never mind the future.’
Michele Hanson, 15 February 2010

Bolstered by the article, knowing I was not alone, I ploughed on. I made piles called:
• Bin it.
• Sell it.
• Use and enjoy it.
• Still can’t get rid of it!

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Box Hill in the Surrey Hills

 

This made the physical space to allow me to rent the house out. It also made space for new thoughts and seeing things in a new light. Luckily nature can provide a way to explain the complex. I came across this scene while walking, and it says how I felt better than any words could.

Inspired by my first round of decluttering, it may be time to revisit the still crammed bookcases and wardrobes. The brilliant blog, minimal-lol.com , on minimalism is spurring me on. Have a look and you will get the bug too.

Or have you already had a go at decluttering? Any tips would be welcome.

Anyway, time for me to dash off until next time, when I would really like to introduce you to Ted, also known as Mr Barker.