beach cottage, bEAching, decluttering, drEAming, general chit chat, rEArranging, simplifying

Back in Focus…or I can see clearly now my stuff has gone…

 …Whoops I have been away a lot longer than I thought this time but I haven’t been sitting with my feet up  – well only to rest my dodgy knee occasionally – another sudden and unexpected problem to deal with.

Just to update everyone on the flood saga – we went up to the cottage last weekend for a pre-contract meeting with the contractor and it is now completely bare of contents and waiting for the strip out of floors / walls etc next week.  As we closed the door behind us it was a bit sad to leave our cottage looking all empty and forlorn and I did have a little tear but somehow that emptiness felt good too and is quite a freeing experience.

I was astounded to realise when listing the contents for the insurers how much stuff we had accumulated at the cottage since we bought it back in 2004.  When we moved in it was just as empty as last weekend until the bed, cooker and fridge were delivered.  We knew these were the important items that we needed to live there as well as a kettle, pans crockery and cutlery and a few toiletries and towels.  We really were down to the absolute basics but then over time as the contents built up and friends and family have added to them by way of gifts etc it has become unintentionally rather overloaded.

We have had to bring a lot of undamaged items back home to store so now this house is once again groaning under the weight of contents and I am striving to get our home here in Yorkshire back to basics – down to the stuff we really need.

As anyone reading my blog will know nothing has really gone as planned for us this year – but after the last few hectic and stressful months I am turning my attentions back to my 2014 word FOCUS and on completing what I started earlier in the year in February – Simplifying my space (but now even more!)

I have a few areas in particular where I need to limit our contents – one is our bedroom wardrobe which I use for storing clothes, shoes, some bags and linens, the second is the kitchen /dining area and laundry room cupboards and the third the office come craft room.  The storage in these areas should be more than adequate but I think the problem is we have far more items than are in everyday use or we might ever get to use and it is these items I want to decide on whether they should stay or go.

I am sure you will all be familiar with the term the Pareto principle or the 80:20 rule and strangely enough I always find, as a good measure, it actually works.

So with this in mind I have been gathering up items and applying the principle starting with the 20% of items used 80% of the time or the everyday stuff.  This is the easier category as they are well used items which are in use constantly and are usually in the most accessible place.  However, I do think there is room for improvement here as sometimes even items kept to hand might not be in the best place and I have been having a bit of a change round but more on that later.

The difficult category the one we perhaps all struggle with is the 80% of items used only 20% or less of the time – taking a lot of storage space but nevertheless very useful – I think Christmas items come under this category and our trusty little camping stove and kettle, used quite infrequently, but you may remember it got us through Christmas Day in 2012 and has been invaluable for making a cup of tea on a weekend at at the cottage since the flood has left us without any power.  Click here or on the picture if you really want to read about or be reminded of our unusual Christmas 2012 dinner in a car park – you couldn’t make it up could you!

Camping Stove

Other items falling into this useful some of the time section (and size is no indication of their usefulness) would be

  • the summer parasol and picnic/party items,
  • garden chairs,
  • suitcases,
  • the travel hairdryer,
  • our old projector for viewing our slides,
  • dressmakers dummy,
  • a stack of ‘plastipots’,
  • decorating equipment,
  • spare bedding/sleeping bags,
  • thick woolly tights for winter,
  • posh sheer tights for parties,
  • evening bags,
  • special cleaners,
  • special adhesives,
  • Jiffy bags and bubble wrap
  • … I could go on and on.

Of course as well as this there are little collections all over the house of things that are very rarely used they are more objects and items just to look at or listen to –

  • ornaments,
  • pictures and photos,
  • keepsakes,
  • other people’s precious possessions you don’t feel you can get rid of – I think heirlooms is the correct term!,
  • piles of magazines/books and CD/DVD’s
  • …oh and record albums if you are as old as me!

Then on top of that are the disasters – the never used only stored items such as

  • the impulsive good idea purchases that never were (those winter boots that still pinch!),
  • presents given that are frankly just not your taste,
  • those items that might come in handy one day,
  • those items you hang on to in case they come back into fashion or become valuable one day,
  • and those numerous half-finished projects.

I am sure most bloggers can identify with all of the above and it doesn’t matter how many times I have a clear out I am still left with a mass of the above items that need a home but the question is do they need my home!

So on with the marigolds and out with the charity bags and let’s get started…I will keep you updated on my progress.


Have a good weekend everyone x