Yeah, yeah, it's winter in Ireland but a WINTER CLEAN doesn't sound quite the same, does it?
It's also the NEW YEAR. A time for do-overs, resolutions, fresh starts and what better way to do this than with none other than the help of Peter Walsh.
I love Peter Walsh, an Australian-made-good in the UK with the help of Oprah. He's the neat-freak, the guy who helps disorganised people get organised. His Facebook page is full of tips, several of which I have not only done, but maintain to this day.
His annual 31 Days to Get Organised started on January 1 and it encouraged me to have a look around our place and see what might benefit from a New Year Spring Clean. If you've not heard of Peter, or seen his Challenge, I encourage you to do so.
First things first, as we were enjoying a staycation over the Christmas/NY break, it allowed us the opportunity to take stuff to the Clubs storage unit that should have been gone months ago. I needed G's help as two of the storage buckets were too heavy for me and not worth me aggravating my back. It was a really good feeling just knowing the 3 buckets of stuff where no longer in the garage, and the bag and extra bucket were no longer taking up space in the sitting room. (Prior to taking them to the storage unit, I typed up a label for the outside of each box detailing it's contents for ease of reference in the future.)
With this feeling of accomplishment I was spurred on to look around and see what we no longer need, or use. G was around to help take things to the recycle centre, or tip, or to reorganise things if needed.
I had a cupboard full of empty jars which I occasionally use as vases for fresh flowers. I was going to glue them in small groups and sell them as mini-geometric vases at the Bazaar the Club held, but never got around to it. The amount of useless jars annoyed G even tho the cupboard was seldom opened. Realising I was never going to make the mini-geometric vases, all but 7 were put into the recycling bin. Too easy.
The attic. The place where things get put when not immediately needed anymore, or not at all.
Encouraging G to come up and help with the decision of what to keep was futile. So it was left to moi.
I LOVE having at attic to store stuff. We had the garage when I was growing up. Anything you wanted to keep, but didn't use went into the garage. Every few months, we'd have a family tidy of the garage, reorganising what we wanted to keep, and throwing out the things we realised we didn't really want/need long term. Stuff still get's put into the garage! Even tho we've not lived with mum for years, and Dad passeed away even longer ago, things still go into the garage, and my brother is asked to go over every few months and help her 'go thru stuff'. It 's a standing joke with my brother and I.
Our attic has very useful stuff stored. All our luggage is there plus envelopes full of loose change in various currencies, and any other items we require when travelling (neck pillows, various adaptors, toiletries bags etc), the stuff that's needed once a year, (Christmas, Chanukah, Passover, Halloween, Easter), umbrella for outdoor table setting, snow sleds, picnic basket and chairs ...... all fairly normal stuff that families have that need to go somewhere.
We also have lots of other stuff in our attic. Our dining room table/chairs (there was one in the house, so we kept ours packed), a couple of boxes of kitchen things (the kitchen here was stocked with pots'n'pans), numerous empty boxes to house electrical products and ornaments when we are on the move again (keeps the items safer, tho the empty boxes take up room between moves), and MissM's baby stuff.
My biggest issue at the moment is what to do with several storage boxes of MissM's early toddler year stuff. Stuff that is carefully wrapped and put 'away' for when she has a baby; stunning pop up books, her favourite musical toys, several stuffed toys and other items given to her on those precious first few birthdays and Christmas', baby clothes (some of which have found their way onto her dolls), ornaments, pillows etc.
So many wonderful warm emotions took over me as I looked at them yesterday. I sincerely hope MissM has the same experience when she touches them in years to come. How horrible to go thru all this drama for her to ask 'why on earth did Mum keep this????????'
If we were normal, and didn't move countries every 2-3 years, we'd put all this stuff (and more probably) in the attic, or under the house, or, in the garage and ignore it!
MissM has enjoyed played with my dolls pram, has my very first proper doll, Carrie on her memory table, snuggles up with my stuffed cat Chi-Chi, and reads my first hard cover Winne The Pooh book.
Maybe I am keeping too much of her stuff?
We don't have the choice of keeping 'stuff in the garage' and it would be so easy to sell, or give away most of the things, but part of me won't allow that to happen. I've decided to find out how much it will cost to ship two boxes back to Sydney to store in Mums garage (ironic, eh?) till our next visit when we will go thru our storage unit (we have half a household packed away for the past 8 years, reckon 90% will get chucked) and add it to the remaining items.
Part of the reason we can't simply hold onto stuff like most people, is that we are limited to a specific amount of container space with our moves, and we are currently 9 cubic metres OVER! Now, we can identify every centimetre of space without a problem as there's several items we purchased in the UK e.g.: trampoline, outdoor table setting/umbrella, Ikebana bits'n'pieces, a few new paintings. We also moved with a full compliment of electrical equipment (we tend to sell all of this as we move from different power strengths) so 'loosing' 9 cubic metres won't be too hard.
Peter Walshe's encouragement to Get Organisined coupled with my subconscious need to reduce our stuff by 9 cubic metres has come down to things like throwing out old pillows, repacking the Christmas decorations in a more orderly fashion (reduced boxes by two!), donating leftover Christmas paper/cards/unwanted decorations to charity, accepting that buying 3 plastic sleds to play in the snow in the UK was ridiculous. We'll probably leave the outdoor table setting and chairs when we move on to our next Adventure, as well as the trampoline (not sure it would cope being pulled down and built again), MissM will probably not want/need as many toys'n'games as she's entering tween-hood and is playing differently, we've all got clothes and shoes we don't wear!
I love a good purge!
It not only frees up physical space, it affects our emotions too.
Donating stuff to charity is a good thing, as is recycling.
One thing expat life has taught me, none of us need all the material stuff we hang onto. If you haven't seen Peter Walshes video yet, you should. You might just find yourself looking inside your cupboard and drawers differently.
What's in your garage/attic/basement?
Do expats over compensate for their kids moving around by
keeping material things i.e.: memories from their 'past'?
How often do you Spring Clean?
Which of Peter Walshe's Challenges attracted you? WHY?