Sunday, 16 September 2012

Letting go of childhood memories - stamps

I have just given away my old stamp collection and my sister's, to a young teenage girl who is just starting her collection, via 'Freegle' (in the UK part of Freecycle converted to Freegle). 

It was a very personal collection - wish I'd photographed the front cover of mine, which was a bit of cardboard that said 'Jane's stamp collection until further notice' on it in my best writing.  The stamps were held in paper strips glued to the pages, and date from the 50s and 60s.  The address my sister put in hers was where we were living 54 years ago!

We (my sister and I) still have my father's collection, which we want to sell, however I hope this has cleared the way to do that as well.

It was great to find someone who actually wanted these things!  Maybe I could have sold them, but I know they weren't collector's items, and it is lovely to pass them on to the next generation of avid collectors.

What I am grateful for:
Being able to pass on something I loved doing to someone else who now loves doing it. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The 'best china' cupboard

I have just given away a cut glass trifle bowl I have not used ever!  I have another larger one.  I started wondering if this were a more useful size - but given I don't use it, I realised there's not much point thinking it is useful!

This is part of the sideboard's hoard of rarely-used 'best' and 'family' items I am slowly working through.  Maybe I can sell the shot glasses on the web...  One advantage of giving it to my neighbour is that she says I can have it back if I change my mind, or borrow it if I need it, which helped me let go.

What I am grateful for today - great weather and friendly neighbours.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Declutter your head

I saw this photo on Facebook - I couldn't find the source but it seems apt to include here.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Increasing clutter-consciousness

I've not posted for awhile, and maybe that's partly because I feel like a cluttery sort of person and not the sort of person who should write about decluttering as I could be a fraud.  The more I get rid of things, the more I realise how much clutter I have!

I've just read people's entries to a little test on '365 Less Things', about what you would take to go and live on a remote island - very entertaining.  It reminded me of living in France for 18 months.  I was happy buying things like basic furniture and kitchen items in Paris, and I got used to living without much stuff.  Then a kind friend brought my records over from England, and I felt partly happy (I had no TV so music was a great relaxer) and partly polluted by my past! Then I came back to England and my flat and all my 'stuff'.

Decluttering is often something that feels better once you've done it than when you are contemplating it, as it involves letting go of things.  Once you have let go you realise that you are not your things, and you are stronger than you think, being able to live with less.

Meanwhile, I have chucked out some ornamental things (see photo): hard ones, as they were gifts.  Also I have passed on some crystals that were gathering dust on my dressing table - didn't register they were clutter for ages!  And my Bach flower remedies, as I do nothing with them and their use-by date had handily expired.  Glad to have got rid of all these.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I'm still going, just not blogging about it..

I have been decluttering and sorting things without blogging - I spend too much time pottering on the computer as it is.  Always find time to read '365 less things' though.  Shows how creativity, however little, is less easy than passive reading!

I have gone through all my big bookcase and nearly finished packing books away so I can paint it.  In the process have discarded 5 books or so, out of which 2 are first edition hardbacks, so I can sell them to make a little money.  Good find!  I didn't intend to buy first editions however after some research I conclude they must be.

Yesterday I threw out a bottle of old face toner.  I still have half a bottle which is really old.  And I used up a 15-year-old pack of hair dye!  My neighbour was a hairdresser and checked it out for me first.  My hair is fine.

Today I threw out a bra and pair of knickers I no longer wear, inspired by Oxfam's campaign for women to recycle any unused bras.  Apparently we all have many of these stashed away, so have a look yourself.

Happy decluttering!   I'm off to sample my focaccia bread - have been enjoying baking a lot recently.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Filing filing filing

I have been busy designing a garden for a competition hence big pause in decluttering.  Now I am back happily going through my papers and chucking things.  However more organising than chucking.  Garden design is my future work, so relevant information has to be easily accessible and easily added to.  I've been putting everything into categories, with bits of paper over them, to sit in hanging files, all titled.  Very satisfying!

What I am grateful for
Someone is going to rent my spare room!  Out of the blue after I almost gave up, and she is very taken with the place and very friendly.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Saving £350 by decluttering

I have just realised that I have actually saved myself £350 (about $535) by clearing out my 2 drawers, as I can now fit my jumpers into drawers rather than having to sort through a pile on a chair every morning.  This means I don't have to buy that oak chest of drawers (which would have had to be a strange shaped-one anyway, to fit in the space) I had my eye on.  So even without thinking about it, decluttering has saved me money!  Has anyone else had this happen to them?

What I'm grateful for:
A local market with fresh fish and bread, and the local butcher's with a friendly welcoming serving woman. 

Friday, 17 February 2012

The makeup and travel drawer

I've just cleaned and cleared out my odd things drawer in my bedroom and discovered I had:
10 mascaras (for someone who only wears makeup now on special occasions this is unnecessary!)
5 bottles of nail varnish
8 lipsticks
6 emergency sewing kits
3 eye shadow kits 2 of which were finished but had a nice mirror - OUT they go
and very usefully, 3 more pairs of scissors!

So have thrown out some mascaras & put some cleaner makeup to go out to charity.
I still have lots of handy things for travelling, but not ancient dirty things.  And I have more space on my dressing table as a bag of stuff will now fit in the drawer.  Result!

Now my 'charity chair' where I keep things I'm throwing out needs to be cleared too:
What I'm grateful for today:
That my house has not burnt down or been smoked out by a neighbour putting hot ash in their barn and it catching fire.  This happened to a friend who nearly lost her house!  Fortunately the builders built a new wall so well it contained the fire and they just had a lot of smoke instead, but it was a very near thing.  You never think this will happen, but it can.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Old Drawings Out

Today I threw out a lot of old duplicate drawings of garden designs I have done.  All the remaining ones are neatly upright, using a wine box insert (must get more) in a cardboard box, and the floor area in my study has greatly increased.  The basket you see alongside the box was also full of drawings. ...Having seen the photo, I've just straightened out the rolls and thrown out a broken one - I can easily buy some more rolls for my client drawings.  Also threw out massive file of Forever Living product information as I don't sell that anymore.  What else is lurking, hidden behind other guff?

I also threw out a blouse I never wear because of the buttons - not nice enough to replace them.  And yesterday, enjoyed virtuous feeling when I went to my church and left a sheet I'd found and washed (see Into the Ottoman) and pyjamas for the local homeless hostel.  So I guess others may benefit from this clear-out too!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

New drawer I found

I can now open a drawer at the bottom of my wardrobe, so that's the next place that needs going through.  Meanwhile, I have thrown out a scarf from it, and old bag embroidered in Afghan style.  I noticed I was relieved that it had a rip in it, as that meant (to me) that I could throw it out.  Strange thinking really!  That I need things to be wrecked before I feel OK about letting go of them!

I have also cleared a space on top of my old desk, so my wooden letter rack (moved from my bookcase and emptied of old papers) can go there instead - a useful little in-tray.  It's nice to be able to use good quality things when you do actually need them.

What I am grateful for today:  365 Less Things for the 'Grateful' idea; and my ceramics class, where I decorated a plate today.  Good company, absorbing activity.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Into the ottoman

I have managed to sort out things hidden from view for the first time for years.  My ottoman in my bedroom turned out to contain a lot of crumpled tissue paper, bubble wrap, my mother's wedding dress, a bicycle horn, patchwork bits, curtain material, cushion insides and Christmas decorations.  For years, I've just accessed the decorations and left the rest! 

Threw out paper, boxes supposedly kept for gifts, and an old towel. A guitar capo (I have no guitar) and the horn go to charity.   Salvaged some cotton for those recipes which ask for muslin - will give them a go now, eg bramble jelly.  Got the cushion out, as I am just finishing a tapestry that fits its size.  And with the spare space, have put wrapping paper and ribbons and bows in there tidily so there is space and order elsewhere.  Dug out some of the jewellery so I actually wear it, rather than keep it for 'best'.

This may not be a scintillating read, but it was good to do!

Conclusions: it's good to look in those drawers and cupboards.  You may find things that are just what you need, and don't have to go to the shops.  And use things rather than keep for 'best'. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Those heaps on the floor...

I have so much scope for decluttering at the moment, having been ill for a long time and got used to things lying about the place.  The experience of clearing up and creating space is very satisfying, and I realise I must have been subconsciously annoyed with the mess every time I saw it, out of the corner of my eye.

Today I cleared up under my desk in the study - there was a pile of files that had been there for years!  Looking through them I found useful gardening cuttings for my design work, and a silver and opal ring I'd lost.  I have filed some of the stuff so I can use the design ideas, however it's all been pruned down.

So now there is nothing under the desk that shouldn't be there - it all has a purpose and doesn't get in the way of my feet.  Brilliant!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Mini-missions continued - guilt item

I am again following the 'mini-missions' of 365 Less Things.  I actually did today's mission today, too, which is to throw out something you felt guilty about acquiring in the first place.  In my case this is the Argos catalogue, given to me before Christmas.  I can use the net to look at Argos, so out it goes.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

One thing leads to another - more paper gone!

Well, my sister came round, and we spent a happy afternoon going through my old art coursework.  I created a huge pile of stuff to throw out - things I had done as course projects that were not visually pleasing!  And a lot of bits of mount board.  (Now these last are in the bin, I wonder if I could have passed them on - better luck next time!)  As well as feeling cleaner and clearer about my room, I enjoyed seeing all the work I had put into the course.

This is what's left, which may not look tidy to anyone else, however it is a vast improvement on the previous state:

And this is Sue pointing to all the junk I got rid of!  She is a declutter expert.

NB you may recognise this area - the art box is behind this, and the pile of unfinished self-help books featured in previous posts!  I am aware I have some way to go to a decluttered house.

As a result of all this activity I feel much better about myself and have a lot more energy - it's amazing what a difference decluttering makes.  Onwards and upwards!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Grand art declutter!

My sister is coming over to help me put things away tomorrow, which has inspired me to start picking out my paintings which can be put or thrown away.  This in turn meant I had to turn out not only a pile in the study, but my Art Box in the kitchen - a nice plastic box full of sketchbooks and odd things.  As I've not been well enough to tackle this for years (OK also have not thought of it till now!) this was full of dust and sand!  I now have:
 5 watercolour sketchbooks
9 cartridge sketchbooks of varying sizes
1 oil colour pad
1 pastel pad in Ingres paper (good stuff)
3 or so pockets of loose paper
2 packets of wet palette paper
3+ pads of acrylic paper
1 pad of tracing paper (v useful for my garden design work)
1pad of graph paper

So I shouldn't need to buy any art paper for quite some time!!

Got rid of mountains of paper - sketches I didn't want, newspaper supplement about Diana POW (why did I keep?) very dirty flimsy mobile phone jacket, various bits of paper and lids of tubes and bits of cardboard, and 1 sketchbook I wasn't inspired by.  All to recycling.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Mini-missions Completed!

I have been using '365 less things' and her mini-missions for the week this week, loosely, to do some decluttering, and it has taken off!  You were meant to throw out 1 thing from a different specified place each day (see 365 Less Things' Mini-Mission Monday) I omitted the car's glove compartment as I don't keep anything there.  I ended up completely clearing a drawer and putting jumpers into it, which has reduced the amount of stuff on my chairs.  This means less stuff to sort through every morning to get things to wear.  All good stuff!