One of the great joys of blogging for me is the instant feedback of the comments.
It’s so satisfying when lovely people ‘get’ what you’re talking about – and even more so when they add further texture to the subject by relating their own experiences and insights.
Hoarding and hurling has garnered a particularly satisfying crop of comments and while I know you could just go and read them, I wanted to share the best bits directly.
One of them immediately tapped into a section I had cut out of my original clutter clearing post, because I thought it was getting too long – which was that one of the best bits of the Life Laundry TV show was the way they took all the stuff out of the person’s house and stacked it all up on a playing field, or in their garden (if it was big enough…).
Seeing all that stuff out of the context of the house was really edifying. You’d need Melbourne Cricket Ground for mine.
So imagine my delight when I heard from a very nice lady called Lissanne Oliver, who had presented an Aussie TV show ten years ago, that was based on Life Laundry and cut right to the chase, being called: Your Life on the Lawn.
Here’s a link to excerpts http://youtu.be/oOVNSmVXaFs and she’s going to be posting follow ups to see how the participants are getting on ten years after being sorted by her, which will be gripping viewing.
The first of these is a piece by second hand dealer, Simon Fenner about the state of the market for selling the stuff you want to unload. It was an edifying watch for me, as I had just wasted the best part of a morning putting some vintage pillow slips to sell on eBay.
Let’s just say, I’ll be sending the rest of my cleared clutter to op shops…
Another comment which really touched me came from the delightfully named Wattleflat Jane ( real name, Jane Neville). It brought big fat tears to me eyes, so I’m just going to quote it here:
“For months I have been sorting through Mum’s things. She passed away last year and had kept every card, painting, letter etc that I (and my brother) had ever given her. Plus all our school books and Uni notes. Plus everyone else’s letters and cards.
Mum also had an extensive collection of clothes, bags and shoes. Immaculately kept and organised. Lovely things from the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond (she was dainty and I am a heifer, so unfortunately I can’t wear much).
Carefully stored in the wardrobes were my darling Dad’s clothes. He passed away in 1999.( In one sense it was even more difficult for me to sort through his things).
But wait, there’s more: lots of my grandmother’s, great aunt’s and aunt’s clothes, jewellery and personal papers. My renegade aunt’s collection of letters and memorabilia (she was a character – ex Tivoli dancer; one time co-manager of Esmeralda’s Barn in the 50s/60s; married to an ex-MI6 ‘cultural attaché’…)
The worst was unpacking all my brother’s things. He went AWOL in 1989.”
You can see why I welled up. I felt overwhelmed just reading it and imagining having to do all that. It’s hard enough sorting out my own clutter, but to have to do it to someone else’s possessions, with the weight of grief as well, is just unimaginable.
I replied to Jane suggesting – as tactfully as I could muster – that perhaps she could sell her parents’ clothes and spend the cash on one lovely thing for herself (I’d make it a Chanel bag, if it were me…).
This was her response:
“I did make a decision early in the process that I hope Mum would have approved of: I took a stand at a vintage fashion fair in Melbourne and decided to ‘celebrate’ Mum’s things. Sharing her Italian bags and shoes with an appreciative audience was very cathartic. Yes, there were some tears, but that was fine.
Some highlights were:
* the president of the Button Collectors’ Club (!) who bought a gorgeous brilliant green silk cheongsam that Dad had brought back from Singapore in the 70s. Its re-purpose: displaying antique oriental buttons
* the jaunty group of lady line dancers up from Frankston for the day: they adored Mum’s 70s cinch belts and full circle skirts
* the charming male zookeeper (and he was all man…) who was on the hunt for cotton or silk scarves to protect his neck from the sun whilst out in the enclosures
I even had fun writing captions for some of the handbags, eg for a 70s Faigen favourite I wrote: ‘Sarah gently
clasped the butter soft cream leather clutch in her immaculately manicured fingers. Barry couldn’t possibly suspect the blunt instrument that was lurking inside for him…’
I have kept some special things (e.g. Mum’s ‘New Look’ wedding dress) and am delighted that my darling 15 year old has adopted the navy and white spotted dress (trim-waisted and bias-cut skirt) that Mum wore to my 21st. Yesterday she took it down to her work experience week with the Australian Ballet – again, something that Mum would have adored.”
Isn’t that heaven? I love the captions on the handbags more than I can say and how lucky I feel to have such wonderful blog pals.
And here’s another one – an excellent and very specific tip from passionate clutter clearer, Isabella Ebbitt, how I should attack that toxic basket of unattended mail in my home office:
“I recommend the Flylady (http://www.flylady.net/) approach – spend 15 minutes a day on it, and don’t take out more than you can put away in that time. If it is truely overwhelming (and it sounds like it is), I would do the following:
1. Set the kitchen timer for 15 mins
2. Pick up whatever item is sitting on the very top
3. Do whatever needs to be done with it
4. If the timer has yet to go off, go back to step 2. If the timer has already gone off, congratulate yourself and forget about the basket until tomorrow when you go back to step 1.”
With all this fascinating input, I’m staying committed to my de-cluttering process and will blog more on it soon. Meanwhile, keep those comments coming.