Tag Archives: decluttering

Sewing Memories

So, with spring in the air and the clocks going forward an hour here in the UK, we decided to start clearing/decluttering our home from the top down.

The attic was first on the list. It didn’t take long as we tend to shove everything we don’t need into the garage keeping the loft relatively free, but there were several discoveries. Mostly it was old suitcases of holiday clothes (a bikini, size 12 if you please! – was that really once mine?) and equipment like snorkels, waterproof footwear for pebbly beaches, old beach mats and towels, and broken tennis and squash rackets.

The best discovery was a small case containing a real blast from the past. Loads of dressmaking patterns! I was once a very keen sewer and loved making my own clothes. I loved choosing a pattern, then the fabric, matching the thread precisely to the material – often, if I liked the style, I’d make the outfit in different fabrics. I couldn’t get enough of dressmaking back in the day and got a real buzz from it.

Pre-marriage we were keen ballroom dancers and went every week for classes (AJ loves to remind me that he once was given an award for student with the fanciest footwork!) Every Saturday we attended the dance school’s social where we could practice what we’d learned that week as well as learn a new group dance. Heck, it was fun! During the week, I’d often make a new dress specifically to wear to the Saturday dance. Yes, I was a make-a-dress-in-a-week girl. If only I could say the same about my life as a writer – imagine being a create-a-book-in a-week author!

I even found some fabric in that case in the loft so maybe one of these days I’ll turn my hand to dressmaking again – maybe a simple strappy summer shift dress? Oh, if you look closely at the bottom of the photo you’ll see the pattern I used for my wedding dress. I can only dream of the size pattern I used for it back then *sigh*

Good Intentions

I can’t believe we are in February already! Where has the time gone? I don’t make New Year resolutions but at the start of every year, I resolve to carry out those tasks I have for one reason or another put off. And already, some of this year’s good intentions have slipped by the wayside. The first was to go out every day for a walk. I need the exercise as I do sit for long periods either at the desk or whilst painting. So far I’ve not managed one day; the weather has been far too cold and windy here for me to risk going out, and the past two weeks I have been laid very low with an awful chest infection and cough which doesn’t want to go away. But I do intend, once I feel fit enough, to venture out daily, even if only for 5 minutes. I hate this time of year as invariably I fall ill, I miss not being able to potter outside in the garden, and I sorely miss the warmth of the sun on my face. Roll on spring, I say.

What I find even harder to believe is that today sees the commencement of my fifth year being at home after having been made redundant and deciding to retire, of sorts. Those last few months working out my notice were filled with all the tasks and plans for things I wanted, nay needed, to do at home and I was itching to get started on them: things like cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, decluttering, and getting rid of the all the pots and dishes I never use.

The same with my cabinets in the dining room – why on earth was I hanging on to what must be a dozen rectangular table cloths when my dining table is round? These cupboards seem to breed junk, cookery books never used, dishes and all sorts given as gifts yet rarely removed from their boxes. Why was I holding on to a drawer full of cutlery, when we use the canteen we treated ourselves to for our 25th wedding anniversary? Miss-matched sets of crockery, a shelf full of drinking glasses we don’t use, empty biscuits tins that would one day come in handy. What other little treasures would I to find in the deep recesses of the shelves, I wondered? And, yes, you’ve guessed… I still haven’t sorted them out.

Then there’s the stash of recipes carefully torn from magazines – cake recipes and baking ideas and hints that need to be filed in a ring-binder instead of shoved down the side of the microwave. Which brings me onto the breadbin. No, don’t panic, it’s not full of breadcrumbs and mouldy bits of crust! We use our wooden breadbin as a storage box; it’s our medicine cabinet, but things in there I know are so out of date and old, it really must be sorted out. And soon.

And I won’t even mention the huge box full of photographs. Oh, all right then, I will. My husband and I love taking photographs; they do provide a lovely memory of people, places, times etc. But we even keep the bad photos, the blurred and not so good ones. Why, I ask myself. Why? Why? Why? They were all stored in one of the drawers in the base of our bed. When last year we refurbished our bedroom the packets of photos were consigned to a large plastic box in my dressing room, the divan drawers now used to store the bed linen. I really must sort them through and be ruthless, along with the overflowing wardrobes, groaning bookshelves in the office and, not least, the creepy dark cupboard under the stairs. Heaven only knows what’s lurking in there.

And yet, here I am several years down the line and not a thing done. It’s not that I’m lazy, far from it, but other things have somehow gotten in the way. I haven’t dawdled away four years. I set up a small publishing house helping other authors get published for the first time, got my first novel published, edited novels, painted, sold paintings, helped fund raise for my nephew (news of little George to come soon, I promise). All things as well as gardening, writing – not that I’ve done a lot of that lately – housework, holidays etc etc.

So, maybe the intentions were there and still are, but at least they are good intentions and somehow, this year, they are going to be done. I’m determined. But first, I’m going for that little walk. Not far, it’s freezing out there this morning, but I have to start somewhere. Small steps. And who knows, by this time next year I might have achieved something: a tidy, clutter-free house along with a feeling of a job well done.