Sunday, 21 December 2014

Simplify

Theme?  Bandwagon?  Trend?  Zeitgeist?   Whatever the reason I've noticed a tendency over the last couple of years for people not to set the dreaded-and-doomed-to-fail New Year's Resolutions but instead to focus on a word which exemplifies their aims for the coming 12 months.  And that seems far more sensible - and achievable - and useful - than cutting down on the cookies, or going to the gym, or whatever other lifestyle choices seem like a good idea in the aftermath of the commercialised bun-fight which now surrounds Christmas and the holidays.  And it neatly dovetails into a feeling which has been growing in my head for the last few months and that is to SIMPLIFY.

The apparently rurally idyllic life which I enjoy contains far too much STUFF and not enough hours.  The first problem is the accumulation of possessions, the second problem is trying to do too much.  Neither is good for me.

The 'possessions' problem is one of habit.  Neither Management and I buy clothes or house stuff unless we absolutely have to, but we're both buggers for shopping related to our hobbies.  We're also particularly bad at getting rid of things, him more than me.  We have good reasons/excuses for that.  His parents lived and fought through WWII and raised their family without spare cash.  You didn't chuck stuff out because it really MIGHT be useful one day.  So quite rightly Management learned to hang onto items which weren't wanted/needed now but might be in the future.  My excuse is less clear cut but I put the blame on a less than ideal and insecure childhood.  I came to associate having 'stuff' around me with security, which is a load of tosh but it's taken me years to find that out.

When we packed up our Hampshire home to move 350 miles north we had a huge purge.  We cut down from over 30 bookcases to less than 20, I culled 15 years of textile and art magazines by half, and we still needed two removal trucks to shift our belongings to Bag End.   Seven years on I realise I haven't looked at more than half a dozen of the remaining magazines (there is an entire cupboard full of them) and I haven't worn any of the dresses or pretty clothes from a past life on more than a couple of occasions.  On the subject of hobbies - the shed is groaning with gardening stuff that I never use but cannot bear to throw out.  That's got to change.  But it's not just about physically having more room, after all this is a big house, but getting away from the oppressive feeling of having the weight of all this STUFF bearing down on me.

The 'trying to do too much' thing is more complicated.  I might blether about that some other time.

So on Solstice Day* I am looking forward to the New Year which for me begins tomorrow, and thinking about all that space which my decluttering is going to create.  That's my motivation - I do love space.  Not pared to the bone minimalist empty space, but tidy, organised, under control space where I've got room to breath and relax.

I've already made a start - how many tatty gardening jackets does one girl need?  I'm now down to two - a much-loved and comfy 20 year-old Berghaus fleece and an old and no-longer-very-waterproof Vango jacket (also about 20 years old!)  Everything else went in the bin, they were way past being good enough for a charity shop :-{  and half a dozen gardening shirts were re-purposed last week.  This lot and an unphotographed pile that half filled the back of the car have all made it to the charity shop this month.




*  depending upon who you believe (but I'll go with Greenwich Observatory) this year Solstice is at 23.03 however many will mark the event at sunrise tomorrow (8.00am)






13 comments:

  1. I feel the same at times and we did have a huge clean up when we moved, but every now and then I get the bug and have a small clear out. My worst is fabric, books and magazines, though I've been a fair bit better lately. As to trying to do too much, I think it must be something that crafty people are prone to. People that don't have "hobbies" are much more laid back. Now you've got me thinking. Take care.

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    1. I never thought I'd say this but the Kindle has helped. I still have LOADS of quilting and reference books, but the lightweight fiction is now digital, and that saves a load of space!

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    2. Yes to the reference books, as I only have a very small bookcase with novels, though I do still have some favourite chidrens novels too (only 1 small shelf). I am learning to use the library more and have a few booked for the new year, which I may even blog about.

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  2. Long live the Kindle, which saved us from a b i i g bookcase problem. I don't like clutter either, which is why I don't have much in the way of Christmas decorations, and I'm proud to say there is nothing in our loft at all nowadays.

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    1. ooohhhhh - attic envy! I would love to have nothing in the loft except insulation :}

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  3. When we decorate we tend to have a throwing away spree. and now we get emags which take less space, Funnily my hardening wardrobe is becoming rather full too,

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    1. Not so much throwing away here - lots of recycling and rehoming.

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  4. I definitely need to have a good clear out this year, there's things that are being held on to just for the sake of it and the house is now groaning under all the clutter.

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    1. Hi Jo, you sound like you've been in my house! I find decluttering happens best 'on the fly'. For example, M. and I were putting away the dishes last night and all of a sudden a basket of ramekins and glass dishes we never use found their way onto the 'charity shop' pile for next year :}

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  5. Happy Solstice! :-D
    I've been having a declutter too - must be the season!

    Have a very happy Christmas and a joy-filled 2015 m'dear xx

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    1. Solstice Blessings from our house to yours :}
      Hope next year has all the things you wish for, and a Gnome/Hobbit get-together as well :}

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  6. Ah yes. I see what you mean in your comment on mine! We have the same state if too much stuff.

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth, I think we are in the same 'place' but you expressed it far more eloquently than I did :}

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