… Cautionary and inspiring tales from the dusty front line of Accumulated Stuff. And how a self portrait photography course helped me clean up my act!
We moved into our new house – #ecodreamhome – around a year ago, and after many waves of releasing belongings, Tangerine Man and I are doing our (hopefully) final round of Discern and Release! Hoorah!
Some call it decluttering. I don’t like the word ‘declutter’ even though I know everyone gets what it means.
How about de-fragging?
You know when your computer defragments, it sorts and re-files scattered fragments of information leaving free space to think and do? That’s what we need to do to our belongings!
The computer takes ages to de-frag.
So do we.
‘Defrag’ is a great name for this process, don’tcha think?
What I’ve learned from culling the combined treasures of 2 collectors
- Forget about sunk costs! [Crikey, the collections we’ve let go!… Magazines, toys, education notes, clothing] … I dare not calculate the original cost of acquisition!
- If you’ve lived for 1 or more years without touching an item, ya probably don’t need it. Except your skates, you’ll always be glad you have your skates.
- Many of the things which haven’t been touched can be useful / enjoyable for someone else. I found that an encouraging thought, particularly with clothes that are no longer suitable for whatever reason.
- You don’t need as much as you think you will. Or, the things you think you will … a good reason to take your sweet sweet time about this!
- Tangerine Man sees there’s more usable space. I look around and am amazed at the high percentage of usable objects right now… And, the other side is we know where to find what we need (see point 6).
- All the pins and needles are in one spot. All the bandaids are in one spot. All the fabric is in one spot. All the dresses… This is a revelation to me. I’ve become used to looking, sorting, searching, not finding the right version… One goal was to have a place for everything and everything in its place, and we’re genuinely getting there…
- Without consciously planning to, I’ve all but stopped watching renovation and house flipping shows. Interesting. They were my comfort food for a while there! I don’t know why I’m hardly drawn to them any more. Pretty sure I still like them, though my current
realityset up show is the Queer Eye re-boot, which makes me so happy that I’ve decided to watch one a week (rather than binge watching) like in the olde days, and take the in between week to enjoy anticipating the next episode. Hope they make some more soon :)
- Have a pause (of days even) between car loads of op (thrift) shop drop offs. It takes a day or so to re-set after the off lift! No hurry. Settle in with with the space and changes you’ve made, then go again.
It’s been a matter of re-grouping things in the same category, cleaning, deleting. It’s so fresh to look around and feel that your space clearly tells your story… How did a photography course help? Read on…
Self Portrait photography course helped me clean up my story
I did one or several of Vivienne McMaster’s online photographic self portrait courses. I assure you they’re not at all about a self portrait with perfect skin and a selfie stick at a famous concert. Vivienne is such a beautiful teacher of knowing and looking at yourself with kindness.
Ever since first learning of photographic self story telling, I’ve wanted less messy/distracting options for backgrounds in my real space, which has been a motivator to get my rooms cleared to the point of being true and beautiful backdrops. [Implementation has taken a while!]
Sometimes maligned as ‘selfies’ or narcissistic, photographic self portraits are a valid way to include yourself in your own story. I recommend you do any course with Vivienne McMaster for gentle ways to beautifully evolve your relationship with yourself in photos.
[Later: I realise I may have given the wrong impression here. We haven’t moved house so I have clean photo backgrounds – there were loads of reasons it was right for us – and Vivienne McMaster encourages getting yourself into your story now whatever is alongside you … I meant, that looking more at self portraiture had me thinking … well how am I living? Do I like it? (It was messy with 2 kids and 1 adult at the time, I can tell you) What do I really want? What is my story? Considering surroundings to be part of that, and letting it help me to recalibrate was motivating for me as a visual person. Does that make sense?]
Home de-fragging, pro tip:
You don’t have to move house to clear things, you can shift a piece of furniture! You still want to: sweep where it’s taken from, sort what was on/in/under it and release as needed, decide where it’s going. Sweep the new space. Choose what goes back in/on/under! What wants to be binned/recycled, what is moving forward with you?
Have you a history or story with de-fragging? I’d love to hear! ‘Specially encouraging/success stories, or, even stories about when a re-frame made a difference.
Love Meg x o
PS Check out my Happy Home pinterest board, if you’re interested in my home inspirations. Maybe one day – when the pictures are hung – I’ll post some pics of our house somewhere on line!
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PS3 You can still get calendars... They’re $25. From 400 printed there are just 26 left on hand as we speak… 20 Bold Women. 5 Cats. 1 Still Lifes.