DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO NEED TO REFRESH THEIR HOME, WANT TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD, CAN’T SEE THE WOOD FOR THE TREES; OR JUST HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!
Traditionally this time of year is associated with gathering in for winter. Gather the crops; bottle and preserve the fruits; dry the herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes; and stable the cattle. Perhaps less associated is – having a good clear out.
This year I was taken on a journey of a good clear out, which I thought was worth sharing to perhaps inspire others to do likewise. Sometimes we think we’ve already done the de-clutter, or cleared out. Or some of us don’t want to or find it too daunting to even consider. Well hopefully this will help you find away or reason for doing it.
We all know that certainly in the “Western World” we seem to have accumulated a lot of stuff and even cultivated the stuff accumulation process to a fine art form often through the constant need to purchase stuff; either out of a personal need or encouraged to do so by our peers or by commerce in interests and need to keep the economy growing. For whatever reason we have a lot of stuff. Or as one Aboriginal, many years ago on my travels, put it – “….you whites need a lot of shit to go anywhere!” While not a very nice phrase I couldn’t disagree, nor at the time could I get my one large backpack down to anything less as I was at the time embarking on a “whizz round the world in 3 months tour”.
So this Autumn, spurred on oddly enough by our big fruit and berry harvest this year to go foraging and “gather in fruits and preserves for the winter” I started to really feel that first I’d need to make room for it. Oddly no matter how many things I seemed to chuck out I still didn’t really have suitable space for a new Jam Jar collection. My work then took me on, to do a Space Clear (this I have to say for those who are not so familiar with this term is clearing on a vibrational or energy level to aid healing and rejuvenation in places that are otherwise lack luster, troublesome, or are somehow stuck).
Anyway this particular Clearing was for a lady who is among other things a Colour Therapist and Interior Designer. As we were about to undertake work to our own living room, a space that had been waiting since we moved into the place for a proper face lift, I welcomed her fresh and expert view. I knew I’d grown somewhat blind to what was going on in the space and as it was a shared home space it was important not to just have my view imposed on it. Suneet worked sensitively and respectfully recognising it was an established home and shared space. We discussed the use of the space and what went on in it. Delving into how we really used the space, what activities went on there and what would be nice to have more time or energy to spend on in the living space. She picked up on a number of personal characteristics in the home that reflected personal interests and passions of both myself and my husband.
We started to discuss placement of key furniture, pictures, ornaments and then went onto colours of the room. Many of these things might seem to many as trivial. However, what it opened up in me was the fact that there were many items in the room, which had followed me around for many years, from abode to abode. I had grown accustomed to them and believed them to be old friends. However, now I started to see that some had grown very tiered and were in need of a refresh (e.g. reframing of a couple of the beloved pictures) or were not friends at all, but actually just reminders of a time that no-longer was, tinged with nostalgia that wasn’t warming as I had thought, but was actually holding me back in that time. This might sound over dramatic, but just consider for a moment, every day you go into your kitchen or living room, even if you don’t consciously take note of the picture on the wall (you’ve had for 10 years+) or the ornament beloved Aunt Prue gave you 15 year’s ago when you first moved into your first flat or went to college), there is some small part of your brain taking it in. Just like a subliminal reminder of that time, or who you were, of what you did.
So from Suneet’s visit of just starting to move one or two items (which was starting to gather a pace towards the end of the consultation), I started to relook at items around me afresh. This was not about some brutal chuck out, or suddenly deciding that by having some new style would miraculously mean we’d have amaising and untroubled lives. It was about taking a hearty look at what were the Things that were taking up space in our living environment. I found having some key questions in mind helped the process. These were:
1) Do I like it? This question needs to be answered in all honestly, not tinged with “oh but Great Aunt Prue bought this for me therefore I must keep it”; or “but they were great days!” Honestly Do I like it?
2) Does it suite me now today or where I want to see my life heading in the next few years? This again is not about judging the item or décor by some latest “must have” or “this is so today” fad. It’s a personal choice, one that can rest easy or with a wholesome feeling of anticipation resting in ones belly.
3) Consideration for others living with you ……. Get them on the same page and if you know it’s something they really love or value, accept it. Or have a serious rethink about your acceptance levels. Beyond this perhaps we stray too much into issues around compatibility, may be getting a little too deep for this one article. I don’t advocate divorce on the grounds of Great Aunt Prue’s picture. Although some may have different tales to tell!
The amazing thing was that the process was not just carried out in the living space, it spread to the whole house. I have to say I have not done every room yet, but I targeted key trouble spots. (If you want to know how these were identified email for more details.)
A couple of things stand out, one was our bedroom mirror I realised I always hated it, it had horrible associations for me, and worse still this was what I looked into everyday to get ready. Even the object through which I try to make myself look reasonably presentable to world. The only reason I’d not said anything was my husband used to like it, but now no longer was bothered. Just shows how over the years you can think you’re doing someone a favour not realising they have moved on. It’s gone!
The other was a box full of travel books, I’d kept them in-case we went back to the place and also as travel memorabilia. The trouble was the box was full and I didn’t want another box. Going through I realised most of them were a decade old and we would probably want new ones if we were to return to these foreign places and we had our memories and photos, which were infinitely better source for holiday memory recall. When I did empty them out, I had an odd feeling that now we had space to travel again. I know this makes no rational sense, but there we have it, space isn’t necessarily rational, it’s also …..well ‘erm? …… space.
So far it’s produced 5 trips to the charity shop, 4 loads of recycling, donations of some items to friends who seem to welcome the items as useful and timely, a large box for a brick-a-brac stand and a visit to some Antique dealers. So a fair dispersal, recycling and renewal of life for the items themselves. This is not about dumping your junk on someone or somewhere else.
When the de-cluttering took me into storage chests in my office and our loft, I was back into the bowls of my childhood and my heritage. Items which had been left to me, or come to me through inheritance. Although having now several times done several sensitive culls on this stuff, here it was again, taking up large spaces in my life. Causing clutter and confusion in my work space! However, as much as I wanted to chuck all of it out, there was also part of me that knew some of it is about where I come from and where younger members of my family also come from. Some of it is their heritage too. So what to keep and what to shed?
While I had the same questions monitoring the process of going through these items, as mentioned earlier, I added a couple more.
A) Are these key items of interest if anyone in our family at some stage wanted to trace their ancestry? IF yes it got kept although somewhat radicalised and if NO off it went.
B) Does anyone else want these items?
C) How to dispose of them in away that the people they did belong to would approve of? Sell, recycle, pass on, gift etc….
In shedding these items and passing them on, particularly if they have some deep sentimental value or have been in the family for a long time, on an energetic level it is really important to disconnect from the item. Practical ways of readying them for passing on is by cleaning them, “smudging” them. This is important for you to disconnect and for whoever is going to be buying them or using them in the future. They don’t want to bogged down by your in ability to truly let go and give away or your family energy.
The process for me is not quite complete as I write this, but it has taken me from dreading another DIY / Building project to manage, to actually really looking forward to breathing in new and rejuvenated life into a key space in our home.
I have also realised another thing from this, while I could have gone into a self defeating, beat myself up “I should have cleared this out long ago”; “I’m supposed to know all about this business of clearing out stuff”. Instead I realised that when you’re dealing with things which have accumulated due to family deaths, changes in circumstances, consolidation of homes, changing life styles. Each time you do a clear out you can only go so far and this simply reflects were you are or where you were at the time. So this leads me to the final point – do it regularly! Certainly do it thoroughly before or after taking up a new role or change in life direction. Don’t wait till you move house!
For Hints, tips and guidance on letting or Space Clearings contact Pathwayfinder@mail.com. For expert advice on renewing your living space and new or refreshed design contact Suneet Goomer www.divinesouls.co.uk