It’s week 2. Aiming to create a sanctuary for myself, so that no matter what happens over the next 11 weeks I’ll have a haven to retreat to, I chose to attack my bedroom.
I say my bedroom, where I should really say our bedroom, as this is a space I share with the Imelda Marcos of things.
Our bedroom has, over the years, become my go-to place for stashing stuff during frenzied tidying spates that happen when guests are due, before birthday parties or other events and at Christmas time. The result is a static congestion of piles of random things we have either long forgotten about, no longer serve a purpose, or have spent years intending to use but never have.
From these piles, which I addressed one by one, the easier part of the job was picking out the pieces that were important. Once that was done asking two questions of myself helped widen the highway to the exit pile and made it easier to shift the remaining stuff large-scale for donation.
- Which do I want more – space or all this stuff?
- None of us will last forever – do I want my kids to have to deal with all this, or would I rather do it now?
The vast majority of it went.
The ‘our’ element of this room however delivered my first encounter with clearing a space and dealing with stuff that was not my own, providing an opportunity to test the rule I had set not to dump anyone elses stuff. Sticking with that policy, I left Imelda Marcos mountains of shoes and coats for himself and just removed rubbish. I stacked my now empty shoe rack on top of his, providing a high-rise home for his entire shoe collection and allocated newly empty underbed drawers to hold the overfill from the Marcos summer wardrobe.
And I’m happy with that, the space works much better and my initiative gained a big fan. I’m not sure the comment “Wow, it’s like living in a 5 star hotel” is quite an accurate reflection, but hey – high five!
This week I said goodbye to:
- Countless large art canvasses sitting unused for I guess 10 years
- Crafts and craft equipment we’ve outgrown
- Paintings sitting unhung (mine, I was never happy with them – why on earth are they even here?)
- Shoes that don’t match my lifestyle needs any longer
- Spare blankets and linen stored here that don’t fit in the real spare blanket area
- Mountains of paperwork and filing.
- Never used ‘handy stuff’ – like a paper shredder
- Storage chests holding above filing and crafts
- Some clothes, mainly mine, though the week ran out before I addressed my clothing in full.
In going through the piles of stuff, I encountered 2 types of guilt, both of which needed addressing as they were going to re-emerge consistently throughout my whole home. The two thoughts swirling around with each realisation that I didn’t want all this stuff were:
- Look at all the money cumulative somebody spent on this
- And look at all the resource wastage
Beyond the comforting detour to new homes or recycling facilities, which hopefully helps somebody else and saves some resources while delaying whatever the eventual dumping destination is for all this stuff, the only responsible route for me is to deal with past money spent, and past resources wasted as just that – past.
And to resolve to do better going forward, to buy less, bin less and tread a little lighter.