Its been a funny summer holiday this one. I love the summer and relish spending the time with my children but a series of incidents (and a serious lack of funds) meant that we spent a lot more time at home than usual and the holiday went in a completely different direction to planned.
It all began when we returned from our week long trip to the Isle of Wight. This was a lovely holiday, although as we couldn’t afford to book a holiday cottage of the appropriate size for us, the children were topping and tailing in bed which meant that there wasn’t a great deal of sleep.
Unfortunately I’d booked a location perfect for adults, the cottage was sandwiched between 2 places suitable for long evening walks to places serving delicious food and fossil hunting. But not really ideal for children, especially as the wet weather slightly curtailed fossil hunting opportunities and there was quite a long drive to civilisation as they saw it. To be honest, it was a bit of a relief to be making our way home, to home comforts. However, from the moment we opened the door we knew there was a potential issue.
We had engaged a professional cat sitter to look after our two cats and this had gone disastrously wrong. To be honest, I could go into detail but its all quite traumatic and far worse than when we were burgled. Far worse.
The cat sitter had Public Liability Insurance, this is useless in such circumstances. It doesn’t pay to sort things out straight away, we are still waiting on replacement of stuff. As such I cant really say much more other than suggest that professional cat sitting is not something to ever consider!
Still, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m a bit of a hoarder, I cant help it as I cant bear to see waste. The children are the same. However this situation forced my hand and the childrens. As a result we have spent a lot of the summer sorting through our things and having quite a ruthless and radical clear out. This has been far more radical than I had envisaged. One day alone we got rid of nearly 10 bin bags of stuff, on top of things which had been destroyed by the cats. Another day I thoroughly cleaned and so forth. I’ve even got rid of furniture. Having to go through every single thing in every single room of our house has been cathartic and as we are not doing it with the immediate intention of moving the difference that it has begun to make is really noticeable.
One of the things I’ve realised is how much emotions are tied up with stuff. Looking at the children’s toys with them I felt sadder than they did when they cleared them out. For me the rejection of these things felt like the rejection of their babyhood and the memories that they contained were probably more special to me than to them. In the past i’ve been unable to clear out clothes which don’t fit because they remind me of happy times.
I have come to realise that a lot of my hoarding is tied up with emotional anxieties, the desire not to waste things because i’m concerned that we wont be able to afford to replace them and because I like having a back up plan, it makes me feel secure.
At the moment the clear out is a good thing, the house looks better, its healthier and cleaner and i’m even considering trying to decorate some of the rooms. With all the children now at school I might even have the time to do it myself.
Now, i’m on a roll I’m wondering what I can clear out next. After 8 years of parenting i’m starting to take a bit more responsibility for my own happiness and that begins with being selfish about my home environment.
Have you had a good clear out? If so what are your top tips?