Clearing out

14 Jun

It’s a strange process.  We spend so much time and money accumulating stuff.  Some of it’s given to us.  Some of it has sentimental value and fond associtations.  Some of it’s just tat picked up by the children off the street.  But at the end of the day, it’s all just stuff.

I’m trying to get rid of as much stuff as I possibly can before we go away, to make storing our belongings a bit easier.  It’s going quite well, lots and lots of clothes have gone to the charity shop.  Friends have taken one of our high chairs and the two baby monitors.  I’ve promised the sandpit to our neighbours and our best toys to my niece and nephews.

Some of it, I feel bad about giving away.  Presents to the children from treasured people.  Is it really mine to give away if it was a present to the children?

I love my books, and am struggling to make even the smallest dent in my bookshelves.  So I’ve given some of Steve’s away instead.

Some things I’m glad to see the back of, things I never liked and now have a legitimate excuse to say goodbye to.

Some things I’m really very sad about giving away, but I know I need to.  Baby things, that I’ll never use again.   The cot is still sitting dismantled in the attic.  I haven’t decided what to do with it, but when it finally goes, I think I’ll probably cry.

But the thing is, it’s only stuff.  A cot isn’t  a baby, it just represents the fact that we are moving on and that my babies are growing up.  Having less stuff will make our lives much easier, my head will be clearer, our house will be more spacious.  We don’t need most of it.  In fact, we need hardly anything at all.  Humans need very little to be happy.

When we embark on our trip, I’ll be taking my husband and children with me.  That’s all the stuff I need.


24 Responses to “Clearing out”

  1. Peabee72 14/06/2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Exactly – that’s all the stuff you need, and when you release everything else you see that so much more clearly. I’m not great at decluttering but when it’s done I love it – like you I struggle with the guilt, and my mum notices everything!


    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 2:44 pm #

      I don’t know where it all comes from. We didn’t use to have this much crap.

  2. Marisa 14/06/2010 at 2:45 pm #

    emotional turmoil – despite it being worth it in the end. My heart wrenched when reading the cot part of your blog … can someone store it for you in their attic?! I relunctantly passed on a load of my sons 6-12mnths clothes to my nephew at the weekend which was quite hard as they were the ‘nice’ ones I had kept full of memories. Am totally with you on the ‘stuff’ front = us humans gather too much unnecessary ‘clutter’ over time. )she says whilst looking round this pit of a home office!!)

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 2:47 pm #

      I’ve yet to tackle the paper. That’s going to be tricky.

  3. shar13 14/06/2010 at 3:15 pm #

    I know how you feel! I had to clear out our attic as we were having new insulation. Some of the stuff had been there since we moved in 28 years ago! The most difficult thing is my cream and grey Silver Cross carriage pram. We bought it new for the last two, as we had given our other one away. I loved that pram, I had no car, so it felt like my equivalent of a Rolls Royce. Trouble is, no-one wants prams like that any more and I can’t bear to just take it to the tip, so it’s dismantled and under my daughter’s bed!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 4:31 pm #

      It would be very hard to get rid of a pram like that. I’m sorely tempted to hold on to the cot.

  4. Susie @newdaynewlesson 14/06/2010 at 4:01 pm #

    But it also feels good to whittle down to the minimum no?

    Take a picture of all the things you are getting rid of and maybe write a few sentences for yourself about the items and what they mean. That way you can still remember and cherish.

    And the book giving thing? that was last week’s kindness club prompt:
    and the linky is on this post:

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 14/06/2010 at 4:04 pm #

      I did write a blog post about my daughter’s dresses because of this. And yes, it does feel good to get rid of it, did that not come across in the post?

  5. Modern Dilemma 14/06/2010 at 5:12 pm #

    Moving abroad was for me the greatest ever declutter excuse. By the time we arrived in Asia I’d got our home down to the bare minimum. However, by the time we got back I’d surpassed my initial levels of toot and gone on to a whole new level of buying/retaining/hoarding. We needed three times as much shipping on the way home as on the way out.

    And now, 18 months later I see again it really is all just “stuff”. I’m glad you are all having the chance to travel and enjoy a big chunk of life with only the important things – each other.

    MD xx

  6. Mummy Mania 14/06/2010 at 6:21 pm #

    To throw a spanner in the works – when Daisy was born we went to visit hubby’s mum. That night Daisy slept in the cot her daddy had slept in 40 years before (new mattress!) and it meant a lot to him. So there’s a thought – you keep a couple of the really important stuff for the next generation. When this baby arrives in September we’ll be getting all the gear down from the attic. I can’t wait to see it all again – hubby can’t wait to throw it all out! And most of it we will. But not the moses basket. I couldn’t bear it. Though of course – for two years I travelled the world with just a rucksaack on my back – now our house is creaking with accumulated stuff. I secretly am jealous of your de-cluttering – it is so liberating!

  7. scribblingmum 14/06/2010 at 8:11 pm #

    I’ve felt really liberated since having a clear out to move house. Found it really hard at first, like you I felt bad getting rid of gifts. But you really don’t it, I gave didn’t re-open 2 boxes of kids stuff when we move into the new house, gave it straight away to the school fete and the kids haven’t missed a thing.

    You’re right, all you need are the lot of you. Things can be bought again if you want them, they will always be there in the shops. You’re about to have a super cool adventure and as long as the kids have cameras and scrap books you’ll be grand.

  8. marketingtomilk 14/06/2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Nice post.
    I actually find throwing stuff away quite liberating. I usually procrastinate about everything, so it feels like decisions are being made, and for me that’s a good thing!

  9. Pants With Names 15/06/2010 at 8:14 am #

    It is liberating. Hard to do but liberating. We found that moving every couple of years forced us to keep the stuff down. Certainly having to be able to fit everything into the back of the car was a good limit! Then we came back and looked into storage. 102 boxes of stuff that we hadn’t even thought about for 2 years. Such a load of rubbish in there! Should have just thrown away the key..

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 15/06/2010 at 9:47 am #

      I keep bearing in mind what you’ve said about your boxes in storage. I’ve taken note.

  10. MummyT 15/06/2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Books are the hardest things… Mine and Z’s are clogging my parents’ attic at the moment. Even books from college! It’s extraordinary.

    We live out of two backpacks right now. And it is, honestly, amazing how little stuff you need. Or miss.

    Books, however, are the biggest thing. Most of them have a history of their own. They are given to you, recommended to you, part of a person in that way. You buy them at a specific time in your life.

    And it is much, much harder for me to say I will never wear this again / why did I ever own this vase? than “I will never read this again. Or want to look at it.”

    Time to find a friend with shelfspace?

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 15/06/2010 at 6:06 pm #

      I think I’ll just keep them. We’ve got a lot of space in our basement. I shall prioritise books over toys. Because I can!

  11. Karen @ If I Could Escape . . . 15/06/2010 at 5:54 pm #

    Awwww, I love this. I like to have a good clear out and sort through of our stuff every so often, but when it comes to getting rid of those treasured pressies or schoolwork, I just have such a hard time of it.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 15/06/2010 at 6:07 pm #

      I’ve started blogging about precious things or taking photos so that I’ve got something to remember them by.

  12. Trish@ Mum's Gone to 16/06/2010 at 9:58 am #

    I remember your post about the dresses. It doesn’t get any easier does it? Passing things on, like prams and cots, made me feel good, especially as they were to my cousin who didn’t have much money and was so grateful for our seconds. Harder just chucking things away.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 16/06/2010 at 3:09 pm #

      It was easy when my brother was still having babies too, things got passed back and forth. Now, just giving stuff to the charity shop is not so easy. It’s a very final goodbye.

  13. Nickie@Typecast 16/06/2010 at 3:01 pm #

    I have one drawer full of keepsakes of “family heirlooms”. I have kept none of the children’s paintings or old school reports or anything like that and all the photo’s are at my sisters house across the country and I occasionally take one album to scan in on my hard drive, which I then upload to an online storage site.

    I have a few items that I would never want to part with but that’s it really. There’s a whole load of crap in the loft and I truthfully couldn’t tell you what was up there, apart from two off-cuts of carpet that went up last week.

    Feel no guilt – your kids are going to have THE BEST memories – you don’t need a piece of paper for that.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 16/06/2010 at 3:10 pm #

      You are very right.

  14. Muddling Along Mummy 22/06/2010 at 10:29 pm #

    I know exactly what you mean – somethings have a sentimental attachment way beyond their actual value or meaning

    Both my girls have worn the same vest when they were born, I just now couldn’t throw it despite it being just a vest

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 23/06/2010 at 4:39 pm #

      Writing about these things really helps a lot.

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