I have been away having therapy…… Well no I haven’t really, but it feels like I have been through an intensive two week course – there is no part of my life that hasn’t been picked over and processed. It has been gruelling and emotionally exhausting. What have I been doing? Clearing out the loft!
You may remember that Mr Stoatie and I were contemplating re-insulating the loft and had been taking out the odd box or two with the intention of going through them gradually. Well, after realising that it was going to take too long that way, we hit upon the idea of removing all the boxes at once. As the only available space is one of the girls bedrooms, we have just over a month to complete the job. This meant no more messing about, we just had to get on with it.
It took two days to take everything out. Most of it was in plastic storage boxes. There were an awful lot of them. The older stuff was in cardboard boxes, I reckon they had been in there unopened for almost twenty years, ever since we moved in.
The Grand Plan was to use the opportunity to get rid of a load of clutter. I had hoped, and still dream, that all that would be going back would be the christmas and camping stuff, and maybe out of season clothes. It seems to me that if there is something we want to keep, then really it should be downstairs, where it can either be seen and appreciated or used.
Some of The Stuff (yes it started to develop a personality of its own!) was easy to get rid of. Ten boxes of books went to the charity shop. Whole sets of books that I had spent months collecting, that I had enjoyed reading, but I staved off the pangs by the thought of all of the others downstairs that I hadn’t even opened yet. At my current rate if reading it would take me about five years to read all the ones in the loft again so I bit the bullet and passed them on.
Next went the clothes that didn’t fit, which again was a bit of a reality check. Would I really never be that thin again 😦 Old magazines, snorkelling equipment (when was the last time we went anywhere to use it!) soft toys (mine – what was I thinking?) and all my A Level and University notes. We did quite well and reduced the amount of stuff by about half.
Because I wanted to bring most of the things down into the house I really doubled the amount of work we had to do, because in order to make room I had to go through all the storage downstairs too. By the end I had picked up and assessed practically everything we owned. It was time consuming, completely absorbing and very draining.
The sad thing was that there is still too much stuff to fit back into the house. We’ve decided to allow one box of sentimental stuff each back into the loft for now, but thats got stretched by the fact that Mr Stoatie has two boxes of his train set, a box of meccano and all his ‘vintage’ computer stuff and I have four boxes of favourite books that I can’t let go just yet.
I am still hoping to be able to whittle down all the rubbish in the house, we have way too many things. The Stuff is still in the back bedroom and I am still working at it on and off. I have spent so long with it I am beginning to talk to it … I am a bit worried about that!
I think such a drastic reappraisal is something that you have to be ready emotionally to do. Both the kids sort of leaving home has made Mr Stoatie and I ready for more changes. Once you get started it becomes addictive and very spiritually uplifting. You get to re-assess exactly where you are now, what you want in your life, what is working, what you are prepared to give up. You feel lighter and freer and almost as if anything is possible. It is a workshop and a counselling session all in one, I’m certainly getting a lot out of it!