Friday, 8 May 2015

A Little Overwhelmed

Is it possible to feel only a little overwhelmed?  Doesn't the word imply being entirely overcome, utterly submerged?

The process of separating my things, bringing them in from store, cleaning, sorting and repacking is proving slow, frustrating and horribly dirty. Sorting out stuff inside the cottage is not much better, although thankfully cleaner. I can feel myself teetering on the brink of despair but refuse to feel completely defeated by this seemingly enormous task. Despite tackling it a bit at a time, it's difficult to be very systematic because of the random way in which things were put into store. (I should add, by someone else while I was out at work!) For example, vases; three different sources so far, and I think I may still be missing one. I've found candles, tealights and candleholders in four different boxes so far, and still have not come across the snuffer which should have been packed with the advent candleholder. There are currently boxes everywhere, as I try to find things, get them clean and pack like with like. I've become so cross with myself for not being able to find, for example, my jewellery tools (I'm sure it's not that long since I used them, they must be here somewhere, dammit!), that I have vowed never again to let things become so chaotic. In the meantime, I have other things to do too, not to mention the pile of laundry which is growing faster than I can get it washed and dried (mainly because I need a bath and a change of clothes when I've been rummaging around in the storage area in the back of the barn, and now that it's May, it keeps raining!).

People have been very helpful, finding packing boxes and making suggestions. A friend suggested I just pick out my things and repack straight away, leaving the cleaning and sorting until I'm putting away in the new place. That would probably be okay if things were just a bit dusty, but some things really are filthy. When I retrieved the rest of the mugs, one had a dessicated, headless mouse in it, presumably dropped and forgotten about by one of the owls. The muck stays here; besides which, I know I won't have the energy or inclination after the move.

A rather ruthless acquaintance pointed out that if everything was so filthy, and considering that I hadn't used any of this stuff in five years, I obviously didn't need it, so why didn't I just throw out the lot, or have a massive bonfire? And the simple answer is, because it would be wasteful, and there are some things in store which I have missed and felt too overwhelmed, or in too much pain to want to fight my way into the back of the silage shed, to search for until now. All my books on dance, old photos, a wooden kitchen tray, my honey drizzler ... even the Christmas decorations, unused for the past few years. I don't have the money to get rid and just treat myself to new whatever I find I need or miss.

Some people are minimalists, others have no choice, but most people accumulate things they don't strictly need, but keep just for the sake of interest, decoration, sentiment or convenience. If you have a grill, you don't, strictly speaking, need a toaster.  You can chop herbs and garlic with a chef's knife, but I love my mezzaluna. My cherry/olive stoner gets quite a lot of use, too. I like detail and find minimalist environments sterile and unsettling, distressing rather than de-stressing. Of course I could declutter more and no doubt will in future, but at the moment I take a load to the recycling, and a bag of items to the charity shop (trying not to bring anything back!) every couple of weeks, and constantly surprise myself by what I'm letting go. Bye-bye ice skates, the spare set of kitchen scales, the third teapot, my old jazz shoes.

So, no extreme decluttering for me. It always seems so cruel; I've seen advice to parents that they impose a 'one in, one out' rule for their children's toys! "You can only have a new toy if you part with one." feels like some sort of emotional blackmail, although I suppose some children have more toys than they know what to do with (and that's hardly their fault, now, is it?). As for the decluttering techniques which use disaster scenarios and questions such as "You have to flee for your life/your house is flooding/on fire, what do you save? What would you miss most and have to replace?", they fill me with sorrow for those who are actually living the nightmares, and gratitude for my abundant blessings.

It's easy to find lots of tips online if you're into that sort of decluttering, but I'm really enjoying reading articles from Apartment Therapy. (No, they aren't paying me anything for the mention, unfortunately!) They seem to take a more balanced, sympathetic, realistic view of things and there are lots of useful tips and life hacks, as well as practical interior design ideas.

I've just heard that the local searches are back at last, although it will be another day or two before I receive the report in the post. It's a bit too tight now to move in mid-May, but sometime from the third week of May to early June may still be feasible.

Oh help. I really need to get cracking with the packing

No comments: