We all have too much clutter in our lives and homes, and I have to admit that, by nature, I'm a bit (lot) of a hoarder. I blame my parents for it - they were youngsters during WW2 and the austerity years that followed, and so saved everything - from old dresses to used batteries - with the idea that they might be useful for something one day.
So, always preparing myself for the zombie apocalypse, I do the same.
Wardrobe doors that won't close, boxes and baskets containing 'useful' things piled perilously high, a freezer full of allotment veggies ... all of these made me include de-cluttering in my New Year resolutions. Unfortunately, for a long while putting it on a list was as far as I got but this past month or so I've been filled with an urge to spring-clean and throw things out.
I started with clothes. I tend to hang on to things too long 'just in case'. They reach a certain level of shabbiness and I put them to one side for dirty jobs - gardening, decorating, helping dye my daughters' hair - but rarely actually use them. Then of course, the next generation of clothes goes the same way - a small hole here, a stubborn stain there, but still fit for those messy days - and before I know it, drawers, shelves, wardrobes are full of clothes too tatty to be worn outside the house. So, time at last for a clear out - old t-shirts, ripped trousers, they all went into bags and off to the charity collection point, BUT I did find some useful coats and jackets that I'd completely forgotten!
Then shoes ... again it's amazing to discover how many scuffed and worn pairs I'd hung on to assuming I'd wear them someday, and perfectly good pairs lying ignored in scruffy boxes.
Tucked away in a cupboard I had masses of paper, card, snippets of wool and fancy threads, paint, pens, all sorts of things that just might be used in art or crafts. Most of it dates from when my youngest was at primary school, so at least ten years ago, and the pens and paints are dried out, the paper creased. I went through it all, still kept some bits that might be used for card-making, but most of it has gone.
Lastly an odd sort of de-cluttering - garden produce, both fresh and frozen. It's the time of year when lots of allotment produce has to be picked before the frosts and winds of autumn ruin it. Squashes and pumpkins sit on the windowsills, onions are strung up in the garage, and boxes are filled with apples. It's nice to have so much home grown veg but before long you can't move for it, and the freezer lid rfuses to shut!
First I tackled a couple of butternut squashes that weren't going to keep - soup used up a small amount, chutney a lot more. Then apples, particularly windfalls, and those slightly damaged by bugs or wasps, went to make jam with some blackberries from the freezer, which helped start to clear that up a bit too. Tomatoes have been turned into passata, courgettes into bread and butter pickles. Fortunately neither chutney nor jam take up as much space as the raw ingredients. It's not made a massive amount of space but it's a start. I plan next to make more jam - apple and (frozen) raspberry - chutney with gooseberries from the freezer, and maybe flavoured vodka with (frozen) redcurrants. After all, I need to celebrate my de-cluttering success!
To be honest, it feels like merely the tip of an iceberg; that behind cupboard doors huge amounts of STUFF is waiting to escape. But at least I've made a start, and gained some space to shoe-horn NEW clothes into.