Unclutter my life. Day Seven. The Bearwood Jumble Trail.

It an attempt to sell some of the things I am unearthing during this unclutter my life process I am taking part in the Bearwood summer Jumble Trail. Think yard sale with lots of people all holding one on the same day in the same neighbourhood.

I am hoping to offload some of the cookery books I sorted through, and have been going throught the last few things that I still have from Mom after sorting through her stuff. The amount of stuff she had was staggering for just one room. And I am sorting through my stuff so my kids don’t have to.

At the moment this is what is going into the jumble.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBrownie badges circa 1989.

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Including the sash.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESEnamel souvenir charms.

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Soft toys.

And a selection of Bionicles, donated by my son. He too has the declutter bug. He has a vested interest in this declutter exercise as when he saw how much stuff Mom had, he realised that one day he may have to go through my stuff. And as a person who is not a hoarder, has enough clothes to last a week and only one pair of shoes, this one collection of stuff was a blip.

Let us hope the sun shines and the people of Bearwood want some decent cookbooks, Bionicles and Brownie Badges.

 

 

 

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Unclutter My Life. Day Six. Back into the closet.

This is definitely more than a 7 day exercise. I started clearing my closet on day one. What I didn’t say was that was just one of many that need uncluttering. And then there are the sock and undie drawers. Stuffed to overflowing and something had to be done.

I emptied the sock drawer.

54 pairs of socks

Cleaned it.

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Drawer organiser

Inserted an organiser.

Organised socks

Put back only socks I knew I would wear. The thick colourful ones are a necessity for English winters. And on a chilly summer evening. I started with 54 pairs and 17 odd socks. I now have 24 pairs in the drawer.

These did not make the cut, and I plan to donate them to Socks and Chocs, a charity that helps the homeless.

The left over socks

Seriously, do I need 24 pairs of socks?

Then onto the undies (no photos of those you will pleased to know).

The suck you in to give you a flat tummy that make you faint, went straight into the bin. I am fat, these will never make me look thin. The shabby ones also went into the bin. The rest were sorted by colour into an organiser. Bras, the ones that I have not worn for over two years because the fasteners have broken – binned. I have kept some I rarely never wear, just in case. Just in case of what? No idea. This uncluttering is hard!

Inspired, I went through the baskets. I have one for tights. People who know me well and read this blog, how many times have you seen me in a dress and tights? I did sort them and the ones with holes in were binned. I do wear dresses sometimes. In the summer, with sandals. And for interviews. And they may come in useful. You never know.

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A basket of tights

A basket for thermals. I can justify those. Victorian house that is cold. My current workplace is a church, my office is the vestry. It is cold in there in the summer. Yup those thermals will be needed.

A basket of thermals

Sarongs and scarves in another.

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Sarongs and wraps

That did not fit on this.

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Scarves

I wear scarves ALL THE TIME. I don’t of course, but one day they may come in useful, all 30 something of them.

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Organised and colour coordinated

I then colour coordinated the dress closet. My 31 year old wedding dress is hiding in the plastic covers. There are a couple of items that still have the label attached, that I have never worn. Bought many years ago from Planet and Monsoon. Too gorgeous to part with. As is the beaded evening dress from Monsoon. None fit me of course. This is the year that I will lose 4 stone and wear them. It is.

So the de cluttering is going well. As you can see.

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Linen and the closet of the man of the house

At least the bed linen is organised (all 10 sets of it).The extra duvets and electric blanket? Did I mention a cold Victorian house? This my husbands side of the wardrobe. He too did the socks and undies exercise with me, in that he sorted his, not mine, obviously.

How do you think I am doing in my de cluttering journey?

 

Unclutter My Life. Day Five. The Hall aka the dumping ground.

It seems that these posts have been inspiring readers to tackle the clutter in their lives too. My Unclutter book is now out on loan to a friend.

The Reception Station Before

I managed to clear/create the reception station. As I don’t have the book I have no idea what day or time of day I was suppoed to do this. Monday I think.  It is Wednesday. And I started this 9 days ago. What I do know that this seems to be a daily task as everyone empties their lives into the hall on a daily basis.

The Reception Station After It is also the place we put things that are on the way out of the house, such as books to return to the library, things we need to remember to take to work, or donations to take to charity shops. I am going to have to come up with a better solution to keeping this area clutter free.

I also tackled the emotional task of letting go of paperwork I found when going through yet another shoe box that my mother had kept in her wardrobe. I put my wedding planning folder from 31 years ago in the recycling bin.

The table plan was fun as there were divorcees there with new partners and the aunts and uncles from one side of the family were not talking to each other.

Table Plan

And many people on this plan are no longer with us. Holding on to stuff that have happy memories can trigger sad thoughts too.

Wedding Picture

Seems crazy that Mom kept them for so long.

Wedding disco

Gathering dust.

Menu

Yet when I came across them the other day, I could not part with them immediately.

Stone Manor Hotel for your Special Day

I scanned them.

Wedding Stone Manor Bill

And finally in a mass sort out of paperwork I said goodbye to them.

Comparing the costs

It was tough. Why so we hold such attachment to such things?

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I guess that is why sometimes we need a friend to help us let go of stuff. Someone to hold them for us to stop us forming an attachment to them. To help us decide that we do not need a table plan and the receipt for the wedding cake from 31 years ago

Wedding cake

After all I still have my husband, most of the dinner set, some of the cutlery and the towels. Not bad for 31 years.

Unclutter My Life. Day Four. Music to inspire the process and technical issues.

There has been a gap in my efforts to get on with the decluttering. This is mainly to do with my WordPress issues. I have spent hours exploring ways to find a solution to the issue, the problem being I have used all the space on my free WordPress site. I then stupidly deleted photos from my posts because I am a ditz, spent ages uploading photos to Flickr as I thought I could link them to WordPress from there (if you can, I cannot work out how to). Spent even more time debating whether to go self hosted and how much will that cost and how the hell do I do it and basically having a digital meltdown.

Why has that got in the way of the decluttering process? Blogging and photos of the progress is very important to me on this journey. It is giving me a visual record of progress made. I am faced with a huge task and somedays I look at it and don’t know where to start. That depresses me, the negative thoughts creep in, I beat myself up for letting it get so bad and tell myself that I will never manage to get this house clean and neat and saleable. At that stage, and because it is sunny, I go in the garden and read. Shut the door on the mess that is my house.

What is different today? It is my day off work and I promised myself that I would get back on task. I want to go on holiday in September.  I want this house up for sale next summer. And I am going to see a good friend on Sunday who may just help me out with my WordPress issues.

Confession time. The decluttering was a by product of deciding to clean the sitting room. I could write my name in the dust on the tv stand. When the sun hits the window I could see that it needed cleaning. I didn’t want to go in there it was so depressing.

First of all the vacuum cleaner was full. Then I noticed that on the shelves were yet more bloody magazines. They went in the recycle bin. The oldest one today was from 2008. I was fat then and am fat now, lot of good buying that did me.

2008 magazine

Once they were off the shelf I noticed that the shelves were really dusty as were all the books on the other shelves. If they are that dusty this must mean we never look at these books. Right those can go too. A bag now sits in the hall to go to the charity shop.

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Steinbeck, I am sorry, I disagree. In my house at least, I really do not want or need more books. This is what I started with.

Before

An hour or two later, with Adele, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for company, the shelves are sorted. All the vinyl in one place. What remains of my cook book collection is no longer on the floor, where they have been for the past few days. And clean shelves. It so much easier with good music blasting out, I even did a bit of dancing like no one is watching. And I clean, tidy shelves. Now to get that vinyl in alphabetical order… see number 21 of 30 Things Vinyl Collectors Love.

After

 

Unclutter My Life. Selling the Burberry, another persons closet to clear.

I haven’t actually got rid of anything today. I have however acted on a specific task from my life coaching session with Lisa Beaumont Cherry.  It also relates to my first post in this series, Unclutter My Life. Day One. However it is not my closet I am clearing. It is my mothers.

I have written before about my late mother and her clutter, and the hard process I have gone, and am still going through, slowly letting go of her stuff.

I identified during the life coaching session that it was realistic to advertise the four Burberry Trench coats, which were among the mountain of clothes that Mom hoarded, within a week. It has in fact been four weeks, but hey, it is done now. They have been in a spare wardrobe for over a year now. It is a step forward.

Today I photographed them.

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They have now been uploaded to Vestaire, and once I have negotiated the prices, they will be for sale.

And actually, I remember, I have got rid of some things today. I sold four of my cookbooks I sorted on Day Two.

Baby steps in the right direction.

 

Unclutter My Life. Day Two. Too many cookbooks.

I have jumped to Chapter 4, Wednesday Evening, of Unclutter Your Life in One Week. I am sorting my cookbooks into three piles. Yes my life is that interesting. This is how they were stored previous to this sorting process.

The task got started on Sunday afternoon. I think that the fact that I started a Monday morning task on Thursday afternoon (sorting my wardrobe) and a Wednesday evening task on Sunday afternoon gives you some idea of how I approach most things in life. Not a linear person at all. What I am doing however is tackling the jobs I can deal with. It seems to me it is pretty unreasonable to do all the jobs she suggests in 7 days. Others seem to agree, going on some of the reviews on Good Reads. I too am flicking through and cherry picking the tasks that work for me. Letting go of stuff is never easy so why force myself into a place that makes me uncomfortable? The task was to sort them into books I use once a week, once a month and those I rarely or never open. These made it to the less than a monthly/rarely pile. Some have one or two recipes I use occasionally. I checked and they are all available on line. All of these are being offered for sale.

Which books have I kept? My cookbooks nowDelia taught me to cook. Both are over 30 years old. I think they have stood the test of time. The student book is one I use all the time. The Hairy Bikers is relatively new so I have not tested which category it belongs to yet (that said all the recipes are on line) and this is the most used Jamie Oliver cook book. As most of his recipes seem to be availble on line even this may go. The juicing book came with the juicer and I live in hope of becoming a dedicated juice type of person. We shall see. How many cook books do you have and could you get rid of them like this?

Unclutter My Life, Day One. Going into the Closet.

In an attempt to restore order in my life, and to clear this house of all the stuff we have accumulated over 30 odd years, I am reading this book. Unlutter in 7 days

I know it will take me longer than 7 days. I have a six bedroom house. And the amount of stuff that is in it is overwhelming. I really did not know where to start.

This book is helping me to tackle the clutter, as it deals with one area at a time. I tend to start one job then get distracted. Yet the tranformation from being a person who talked and blogged about needing to do this, to one that was doing it, came as a result of attending a life coaching workshop at Nettlefest, led by Lisa Cherry Beaumont.

During the session I identfied that the area of my life I most wanted to make a change in was the clutter in my home.There are lots of other things about and in my life that I want and need to change and I listed all of them during the session.  I could only choose one and I chose this particular topic because, as it impacted on so many other areas of my life, it would potentially make positive changes there too.

It really helped that part of the process was writing an outcome statement and putting a date on it. As was visualising the impact that achieving the goal would have on my life.

I am constantly reading articles about decluttering, and after reading 20 Things In Your Home you Need To Get Rid Of Now I recycled 100’s of magazines that have been gathering dust. Some date back to 2009. I am not sure a dentist surgery will take magazines that old.

Old magazines

I have had this book for sometime, yet I am now more focussed on the goal as a result of the life coaching. The book is a tool to help me achieve that goal. After reading Chapter 1, Foundations, and Chapter 2, Monday Morning, Your Wardrobe, on a sunny Thursday afternoon in the garden, I was inspired to get going on some closet clearing.

My colour coordinated wardrobe

In 30 minutes I achieved this.

Coathangers

These are all the spare coathangers I have after weeding these out of the wardrobe. Out with the old

These clothes have now been donated to charity.

The book is, I think, somewhat unrealistic. Chapter 1, Monday, implies that the closet could be sorted before you set off for work. The second section of Monday covers organising your desk and office at work.  Monday evening, no flopping on the sofa with a chilled white wine, there is the Reception Station to be sorted.

Yeah right, that’s going to happen. Not.

Perhaps starting on a Thursday held me back.

Yet I have made a start. I have a Goal. I have identified the Reality. Explored my Options. Identified my Way forward. I am going to GROW.

The 9 to 5 is a con to get you on the work, watch, spend, treadmill

It is what normal people do. I don’t. I rather like people who are not. Who do things differently. I believe that Life begins after normal.

Do you want to be normal?

Do you want to be normal?

It all starts here.

It all starts here

The work, watch, spend treadmill is all about buying stuff to make us feel better about ourselves. Stuff we have been told we need to make us fit in with, well normal people.

Most of us have to go to work so we have the money to buy stuff. Stuff we probably don’t need. Got an iPhone 3, really that is so last year? Now you need an iPhone 4G and in five months that will be so out of date, we will bring out a new version.

The end of the world

The end of the world

And people will queue all night to get their hands on the new version of Windows, trainers or the iPhone to replace the shiny ones they bought less than a year ago. Why?

I have an iPad. It is a ‘first generation’ iPad. Recently, because I hadn’t been ridiculed by a teenager for a while, I took it to the Apple Store for some advice. The child who helped me was amazed that I still had one, described it as vintage. It is less than 5 years old. It does what I need it to do and it will not be replaced until it completely breaks.

Which of course it will. All stuff now is made with a limited shelf life.

I have thought for a while that things don’t last as long as they used to. I have a Kenwood Chef that is 37 years old. I still use it every week. I guess you could call that vintage. Built to last. Now things are no longer built to last. The are built to break.

This is all due to Planned Obsolescence.

If it is not designed to break after a few years then the corporations will design a new version and advertise it as the new must have.

I waste

I waste

And consumers will dump the old style one in order to have the newest and most fashionable so that they don’t look different. They need to fit in and be normal. This is Perceived Obsolescence.

I am not nearly clever enough to have thought all this up by myself.images (4)

The credit for this cleverness has to go to The Story of Stuff. I came across this series of films a while back when writing  De Clutter please for your kids but today was the first time I really listened to it. And truly this needs to be shown at prime time every day for a week. It won’t of course because the governments and corporations will be exposed for their greed and lies.

Wait, haven’t they been exposed for their greed and lies already? And we are still buying into all this crap?

I bought into all this, I was building my career during The Thatcher Years, I didn’t really have a choice know I could have a choice. I got married, had a baby and bought my first home all in the matter of two years in the mid 80’s. I was fed a diet of Dynasty and Dallas and Thirty Something.  I wanted the house, the family, the lifestyle. I wanted to be Hope Steadman.

I was in a managerial role and sending my daughter to day care (even when she had chickenpox). No one at work knew I was a mom. No photos on the desk, I was suited and booted, so career driven so that I, with my husband, could buy a bigger house. And fill it with stuff.

The chance to jump off that treadmill came along when the first redundancy hit us. Do we sell the house and go travelling of look for another job?

Or move nearer family so that when the children were ill we didn’t have to take time off work, a relative could care for them. Really, that was what the conversation was like. And we chose the latter. We bought a five bed house for three of us. Did it up.Rag rolled and sponged everywhere. Had another child five years later (I had been made redundant so it seemed a good time to do so, no time off work). Moved to a six bedroomed house that was ‘in need of modernisation’ and lived on a building site for six months.

Seven redundancies and 30 years of paying off debt in the form of credit cards and mortgages because we chose the lie.

Be Happy

Be Happy

Now, when I read blogs by Ytravelblog and World Travel Family, who educate their children on the road, I regret not doing it. I made excuses, and still do. There was no Google when our children were young we would have had to haul books with us was the excuse I used for not taking my 3 year old travelling. Now of course we happily haul a heavy laptop with us everywhere. And at 3, did she need loads of books?

I wish we had not wondered what we would do when we came back. If we came back. Yet life is not for what ifs. I cannot change the past.

Which is why when we got a second bite at the cherry we ate the whole bunch. Took the money and went on a journey.

Travel Often

Travel Often

If you think you cannot go, ask yourself, what is stopping you?

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings

Many of my friends said to me that I was lucky to be able to go off for 5 months around the world. No I wasn’t. I made it happen, it wasn’t luck it was planning. I saw the opportunity and made it happen. If I had waited longer it may not have happened as my mom had been diagnosed with an untreatable condition, yet she still encouraged me to make the trip. And stayed alive long enough to hear about what we did and who we met and where we went. I wrote about this in the post Go Travelling While You Can.

Take the leap

Take the leap

When Mom died I was sure of the poem I wanted read at her funeral.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

She too was a traveller, and took the road less travelled by, often.

So what are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

 

California Dreaming – Happy Birthday John Steinbeck

As we headed south toward Monterey on our Californian road trip, we noticed how the landscape seemed to suddenly change. We were driving across a vast dark, almost menacing plain, which was such a contrast to the colourful pumpkin patch

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

rolling hills and vales we had driven through earlier that day. 

Fields around Salinas

Fields around Salinas

Once settled in Monterey we sifted through the leaflets in the motel reception for ideas of what to do in the surrounding area. We thought we would only be staying one night and move on south after visiting Carmel (Phil was convinced we would bump into Clint) but that was not to be. There was so much to do in the area.

I discovered we were not far from where Steinbeck was born and raised and, having recently read Of Mice and Men with my Make Friends with a Book group, I was keen to visit.

We headed back to Salinas, a town surrounded by the dark and never-ending fertile plains we had driven across the day before.IMG_1741

And immediately I understood how this landscape would have influenced Steinbeck’s writing. There were people still toiling in the fields and digging up vegetables by hand just as George and Lennie had. This was a farming system that seemed very labour intensive.

Steinbeck was no stranger to such work himself, he worked on the farms in his summer holidays. I am sure he met people then who would become the basis of some of his characters.

I cannot say I liked Salinas. It was a featureless town built on a grid. The car park was full of big station wagons with number plates like this. IMG_1696It was a gritty place with gritty people. A real contrast after San Francisco with its hills and Bay Area. Yet near to the National Steinbeck Center art was fighting back.

And I discovered that in addition to the gritty novels that he wrote Steinbeck was famous for, he was also a traveller. He had lived in England for a while and had also been on his own road trip of America, documented in the book Travels with Charley. IMG_1710He had a pretty cool vehicle to travel in.

We had lunch in his former home, which I wrote about in this post Lunch with Steinbeck Dinner with Forrest.

The National Steinbeck Center is definitely worth a visit. I just wished I could share the experience with my friends at Bleakhouse Library who I had shared Of Mice and Men with in my Make Friends with a Book group.

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And I definitely agree with this.IMG_1703

Happy birthday John Steinbeck. 112 on February 23rd 2014.

I have just discovered that in two days time it is your birthday, whilst looking up the links for this post. Synchronicity, perhaps?  The Celestine Prophesy, which helped me understand this concept is also about travelling. And it has just occurred to me that I will be looking at camper vans on your birthday. Not planned, only because I have won free tickets to the Caravan and Camping Show. Perhaps it is meant to be? So, that like you, I can go on another road trip. 

TB kills 2000 Africans every day

As an aside, Moxa also got rid of my unsightly warts on my hands I acquired in Fiji.

travellingcoral

At the beginning of Blog Action Day 2012 I truly had no idea what to write about. I had a day meticulously planned, appointments to fulfil and thought perhaps I would go to an indie coffee shop in Birmingham and find inspiration.

Missing a bus made all those plans fall apart. Then my Internet went down at home. I was getting stressed and so decided to see if I could get an appointment for acupuncture….

At the clinic I met an inspirational person, called Merlin. It is his story that gave me subject matter for this blog.

If you have read The Celestine Prophesy you will understand that there is no such thing as coincidence. I was destined to meet Merlin on #BAD12.

I’m going to tell you about a little known charity, Moxafrica, who use moxa on people suffering from TB in Africa and Uganda. Most of these…

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