Tuesday 2 July 2013

Taking It Easy & Doing Some Decluttering

So, this past week I have done a bit of mending (mending some dresses that had holes in them, sewing some buttons back on a cardigan, sewing up a couple of holes in some blankets)...

... and I started sewing up some Big Knit hats which I think I made last year (?) and then forgot about (oops, lucky it's on again this year, eh?)...

... but mostly things have been quite quiet on the crafting front.

I have been feeling exhausted this week - partly with the sadness/stress of my grandmother's death and funeral (thanks for all the kind messages about this, by the way, they are much appreciated!) but mostly because I've been ill quite a bit this spring/summer and I think it has just worn me out.

Long-time readers may remember that I've had M.E. since I was a kid. It's mostly pretty manageable these days as long as I take care of myself, but my immune system is still a bit rubbish and when I get sick it hits me hard and then it takes me a loooong time to fully recover. So although though there are a gazillion things on my work / crafting To Do list which I'm itching to get on with, my main priority at the moment is to try and take it easy so I can get well as soon as possible.

So last week I didn't do much work but instead went to my grandmother's funeral, spent lots of time watching DVDs with my mum, and continued to have a bit of a tidy up and a clear out, gradually working through loads of old boxes.

I've really been enjoying clearing stuff out recently. It's been nice having a lovely nostalgic look back at stuff like old mix tapes & teen poetry but it also feels great to be tidying and decluttering and generally making my space a bit less busy / messy / full of stuff. And it is wonderful to have a relaxing, not super-demanding task I can get on with slowly when I need to take the afternoon off (or the whole day off) and rest for a bit. Also I think having a clear-out can be quite therapeutic and stress-relieving - I don't know if you feel this way too?

I'm definitely one of those people who tries to have "a place for everything and everything in its place" but I am much better at the first part than the second! I have a pretty detailed filing system, but my "things to file" pile often gets so big that it nearly falls over. And like many (most?) crafters I find it pretty hard to make stuff without making a huge mess in the process... and, well, it's hard to find time to put things away when there's all this exciting new stuff to make! :)

So actually getting round to tidying / filing / sorting things / properly putting stuff away feels great. A mega filing session always makes me feel super-efficient and organised even though the only reason I was able to spend the whole day filing things was because I'd been lazy not filed anything for months, haha.

As well as being a bit lazy with my filing, etc, I also have to admit to having slight hoarding tendencies. Being both "crafty" and thrifty, I am forever keeping things that "might be useful" ... and I'm quite sentimental too. I'm forever keeping stuff like ticket stubs and newspaper clippings and old postcards and birthday cards and so on, which all adds up to a lot of stuff after a while.

I actually had to give up making scrapbooks (which is something I loved to do as a kid and in my early teens) because I'd scrapbook everything and end up with loads of scrapbooks with a ton of really random stuff in it which I'd look back and and think why the heck did I keep that?? Nowadays I have "memory boxes" (this sounds a bit cheesy but I'm not sure what else to call them?) full of all sorts of sentimental paper-y bits and bobs in them, which can be easily edited as time passes and things cease to have that nostalgic appeal and just become "stuff".

Here's a quick snap of some of the paper-y stuff that I cleared out last week (plus some old headphones that sadly will cost more to mend than it will to just buy a new pair, boo).

I still need to sort all that lot into piles to chuck, shred and recycle. That second pass through is very helpful, I find, as it stops you accidentally throwing away anything you didn't mean to (or, at the very least, it stops you worrying that you might have next time you can't find something important!).

As well as sorting through old boxes and files, re-organising things and clearing out small bits and pieces, I've also been doing some "proper" decluttering, clearing out things like books and clothes and jewellery and Christmas ornaments and CDs and bits of vintage china.

I did quite a lot of decluttering a few years ago, trying to make space in my old flat for my expanding crafty business and to help the flat look tidier & generally nicer. I am not (and will never be) a minimalist but I cleared out a lot of junk and old / unwanted stuff to make room to better display and store the stuff I needed, used and loved. Then I cleared out even more stuff when I moved out of my old flat and back into my parents house, and packed up all the "household" things from my flat into crates ready for when I (eventually) move out again.

I'm really lucky to have a large studio/office space in my parents house (I've rearranged things a lot since I first moved in, but you can see some old pics of the space HERE if you're feeling nosy) so I don't have any real space issues at the moment, but after looking at some flats online I've realised that when I do move out it will likely be into somewhere pretty tiny, so I need to try and downsize my stuff down quite a bit more. Chances of me having a studio space in my new place? Slim to none.

And what better time to make a start on this when I'm pottering about my parents house with not much to do because I'm having to rest & take a bit of time off work? So, I'll be continuing to have little clear-outs for a while and I've also decided to do another Less 365 project, getting rid of one thing a day for a whole year (from now until this time next summer).

I really enjoyed the challenge of my last Less 365, it made me properly think about my stuff - what I really loved, what I actually needed, what I was using and what I wasn't, and so on. I also found it made me much more mindful about buying new things, which was great for my bank balance! (I'd really recommend trying it if you fancy doing a bit of decluttering yourself).

Hmm, this has turned into a bit of a ramble, hasn't it? Anyway, I hope you'll wish me luck with my decluttering! I'm not 100% sure I'll manage the full 365 things, but I'm going to give it a jolly good try and - fingers crossed - hopefully get most of my stuff a lot more organised along the way.


Unknown said...

Funnily enough hun, whilst I've been back at my parents, the being limbo thing has reminded me that I still have a hell of a lot of stuff. Despite having had a six month spread out clear out of the flat prior to moving out. I am determined not to let the old stuff hang over me so I too will be starting another declutter again, in fact started the other week with clothes that don't fit. Why do we keep on to things, in the vain hope that one day they might fit...daft. Anyway, take it easy hun and I'll see you when your ready for that cuppa and cake xx

Katy said...

Good luck with the 365 decluttering. I was so inspired by your last one that I did my own last year.

It's pretty addictive, and I'm pretty sure I could do another one this year (moving house always makes it easier)!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your 365 decluttering!

I was so inspired by your last one that I did one of my own last year.

...only seven months later, I'm pretty sure I should be doing another one!

Jane said...

Good luck with the decluttering its an ongoing battle and something we all avoid.

I have ME too, its a cruel thing and always hits you when you most need to be ok.

I also craft and write a blog, but mine always seems to become an ME moan so is not that interesting to others, I want to be more craft focused.

bairozan said...

Wish you the best of luck luck with overcoming grief and stress, crafting and decluttering!

Anonymous said...

I love decluttering and find it a great way to have a sort of day off whilst still doing something useful :)

KathyH said...

I know that you are decluttering, but for some reason this post brought a smile to my face. As a crafter, I have stuff everywhere and love knowing I'm not alone! We moved back into our home after working in another state for 5 years and I got rid of stuff I didn't even recall having! Not craft things though!! Hope you feel back to your old self soon.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Laura - yup, there's nothing like moving to make you realise how much stuff you've got, is there? Also I think during this "limbo" period you're just sitting looking at it all instead of actually using it, which always makes stuff seem more like, "just stuff" :)

Clothes wise I find it really hard to get rid of things I used to wear all the time (even if I've not worn them in years) and things for occasions which I never actually attend: I really do not need half a closet full of smart dresses and formal wear!!

Katy - I'm so glad to hear you managed your own Less 365. It is pretty addictive, isn't it? I am never going to become a minimalist but the satisfaction that comes from decluttering projects like this = the closest I get to feeling like minimalism would be a good idea. It's very freeing!

Jane - Yup, it can be a very frustrating thing, can't it? Best of luck with your crafting and blogging xx

bairozan - thank you! :)

Chloe - Yes! "A sort of day off" = exactly right.

KathyH - Oh gosh yes, I always love when people post pictures of their overflowing craft stash, etc, as it's great to know it's not just me who has crafty stuff everywhere :D