About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Final thoughts on the decluttering challenge

Well, I didn't do very well with the November decluttering challenge. I certainly didn't manage to get rid of something every day. It seemed like a lot of effort and frankly, wasn't a high enough priority for me at the moment.

On the other hand, I did get rid of some things, and the challenge motivated me to do more than I would have done, so it wasn't a complete failure. Commenting on this challenge, Water Pegasus points out the importance of organising stuff as part of decluttering, which I can really relate to. During November I did quite a lot of tidying that didn't involve actually getting rid of anything, so I didn't include it in the challenge, but the effect was definitely less clutter.

At the same time, my resistance to throwing things away was reinforced by one stage of the heating project. I haven't yet written about the insulation, but to hold up floppy insulation we wedged short lengths of whatever we could get hold of between the joists. Whatever we could get hold of included strips of cardboard that had protected the heating boards when they were delivered, plastic conduit that had covered heating pipes running down the walls, bits of polystyrene packaging from various things, and offcuts of chipboard from the new boards. All of these things would usually count as rubbish, but I'd kept them, thinking they might be useful - and they were!

Whilst my hoarding instinct has been reinforced, I think organising things helps me put a limit on how much I keep. I find that whilst I think things, might be useful, there is a limit on what quantity of each thing I feel might be useful and/or how much space is appropriate to fill. When Louisa told me about her father-not-in-law stashing building materials at relatives' houses, I thought, When it goes beyond your own house, that's definitely too much. On a smaller scale, when I tackled the plastic bottles that were threatening to take over the kitchen, I put a new shelf in a cupboard and when that was full I threw the rest away. I could look at a shelf full of bottles and think, Surely that's enough for what I'm likely to need.

So, I'm still an unrepentant hoarder, but I'm learning how to put limits on my hoarding, and organisation is key to that. When the mess have taken over the house (or even just the garage) it can be a huge job to sort it out, but it's so rewarding. We built some shelves in the garage yesterday out of old floorboards and offcuts of chipboard. Whereas we used to have stuff all over the floor, we now have this:

This makes me very happy.

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