Family, Home & Garden, Lessons in Loss

Having a clear out

I am genetically not predisposed to letting go of stuff. I am biologically prone to keeping hold of things. Maybe it’s nurture too.

My mum and her mum both have houses full of many many bits and bobs. For my grandma, that’s fair enough; she’s been on her own since the mid-80s. However, my dad has to put up with my mum’s hoarding of magazines that might have good recipes, fabric for quilting, and every book she’s ever bought.

Himself has spent almost 20 years now gently and subtly encouraging me to defy my genes and not live in a house of clutter. He likes clear surfaces and no dust (allergies). I like little trinkets and reminders of friends or events. We meet in the middle.

The thing I find really hard though is letting go of toys, books, clothes and equipment from when the boys were babies. It’s part of my recovery from the loss of boy3 that has just felt too painful.

Until now.

Well, we did a clear out of older clothes and books a couple of years ago. But now I’m facing at least some of the baby stuff.

I haven’t consciously got to this point and made the decision to face the challenge. Instead, it’s been forced on us because we’re about to start a very big (for us) renovation of pretty much our whole downstairs. That means emptying the whole kitchen, dining room and living room into the upstairs. And that means making space upstairs for everything.

So, I’ve emptied boxes and sorted through piles, filled bin bags and thrown out broken or holey things. I’ve taken clothes to the school recycling collection point, donated old uniform to the PTA, dropped bags and bags at Barnardos, left more bags on the drive for collection, gathered running shoes to take to my running shop and given the nicest stuff to a friend with a 2 year old and tight finances.

Now we have space to fill with other stuff.

Now most of the practical bits are done, I’ve realised that it wasn’t painful. Yes, I thought about boy3 as I packed away the lovely wooden jigsaws and decided to keep the odd book or toy. But it didn’t leave me sobbing.

At moments like this, I can reflect on my healing. There will always be a big hole where boy3 isn’t. But, we’re definitely moving on to new phases in our lives as large and small boy grow up. That’s neither bad nor good and it doesn’t need to be defined as either. It just is. And that’s worthwhile recognising.

How about you?

How do you feel about clearing out things? Whether that’s social media friends, memories, junk, or emotions?

Love from Smell xxx

16 thoughts on “Having a clear out”

  1. I think I’m like you, and keep stuff because I like it. Also like you I am going through a period of change where we are selling our house and going off-grid for a few months, a sort of nomadic lifestyle. Now the kids are older it feels right to do. I’ve had to downsize, and books and films are very hard for me to part with. However, I have done it by telling myself that a library is my bookshelf, and stores all that I need. It’s exciting, but also exhausting at times. Very emotional. I wish you all the best with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am perfectly fine with clearing out things. During covid I realised that I had too much, so I decided to sort clothes out. I sold a lot on the social media, and what wasn’t sold was given to Oxfam. Then last year I gave a lot of stuff, stationery also, to the Ukrainian refugees and this year to the victims of earthquake in Syria and Türkiye. Let’s hope that next year there won’t be another catastrophe, but I am sure I will find something else I could give away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So important to have a tidy out and get rid of things you don’t wear or want. I work for a charity that raises over £900,000 a year from textile recycling – from all the old clothes that people leave in our recycling banks across the UK. It is money that we desperately need (especially during a cost of living crisis that has seen other sources of fundraising decline) and which changes people’s lives for the better. So, next time you have a clear out, donate your old clothes and make a difference to a charity that matters to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done on defying your genetics! I find it hard to get rid of things, especially when you think they “could” come in handy one day. But I also really like having clear outs and spring cleans and organising things. So for me it’s more about moving stuff from one location to another 😆 I do wish we had more space in this house than we have though, especially now half my room or more is taken up with medical-related junk, prescriptions, devices, blah blah. I think you’ve done very well and I hope you feel refreshed! Plus, there’s now extra space for accruing new stuff! 😉

    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are some things I will hang onto and struggle to let go but I am generally someone who loves to sort things out and declutter/streamline. I did a bit recycle, repurpose and donation sorting last April when we loved into our new apartment. I think I’m due for a clear out again!

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  6. It’s a hard process especially when there’s emotion attached to what I’m decluttering. I always feel better after clearing out even a tiny space though. There’s something nice about having a fresh new empty space and to let go of what isn’t being used. It looks like you’ve done really well with it. Love that last picture!

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  7. I have found that clearing old stuff also gives me more clarity of thought. Though for mothers, giving away stuff of their children is very hard because of sentimental value but everything has a time to stay and then let go. It’s clearing the path for more space for positive vibes to enter your house.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, I think you know how I feel about clearing out things! LOL Honestly, though, some things are harder than others. I still have a box of baby clothes and shoes that I kept from when my girls were small. I got rid of a lot, but stored a few away. We also kept some of their favourite toys in a tote box in the basement. They’ll come in handy if we ever have grandkids.

    My husband recently unearthed our old high chair in the basement. We gave it to my sister-in-law because her daughter is expecting twins this summer so they’ll probably need it.

    Overall, I find it always feels good to have a good declutter. I’ve been neglecting that this year. Maybe it’s time to start again.

    Liked by 1 person

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