I have been very busy over the last few months, dealing with some issues that have been lingering in my life for almost 10 years. You see, 10 years ago, I lost both my parents within a very short space of time. My son was 8 months old at the time. Initially, my sister was here to help me and we dealt with the immediate things like clearing out their toiletries, medicines and clothing. For some time, I was able to keep the property as a weekender and so kept the furniture and linen and we enjoyed our weekends and holidays at what was my parents home. There came a time where it was too expensive for me to continue to keep it without an income for it so I put it up for rent. The furniture and linen and 2 lifetimes of hoarding (my parents had kept most of my grandparents things as well from when they passed away over 30 years ago) went into storage. It was difficult emotionally for me to even begin to think about clearing out things. Then of course, having a tenant at the property made it even more difficult to attempt the mammoth task as I knew it was going to mean about a weeks worth of tireless hours of sorting and preparing for a garage sale.
Well, I did it. I sorted and cleared out everything. I have some furniture left which I plan to collect and bring back to my home for a more easier sale, as the property is four hours drive from my home and 3 hours from a major city. It feels pretty good to have it all done.
I have watched Peter Walsh on Oprah and mentally took note of what he recommended about decluttering. It was still very emotionally challenging. I did it on my own as well which made me feel very alone I guess. Never knowing if I had made the right choice of what to keep and what to let go. And now of course I have one regret of something that I sold but wished I had kept. And I know that is just my mind telling me I will miss it. It is something I had when I was a child. I haven't 'used' it for probably 35 years. I haven't seen it in probably 4 years (other than the day I sold it of course). Still it hurts. I know that with time the thoughts about it will come less and eventually it will hurt no more. It's tough.
And of course, what doesn't help is, when I get home, then I have to go through everything I kept and find a place in my own home for it or pack it away and at the same time clear out some of my 'stuff' to make space for the 'stuff' I brought back. It's happening. Yesterday I couldn't see daylight over my scrapping desk. Today it's clear. Other than my scrapping stuff. As soon as the table was cleared, I felt the flow come back for my Lifescrap365(http://lifescrap365.blogspot.com/) and I was able to finish off August and September. I feel flow returning for other areas of my life as well as I plod away at clearing the clutter. I am interested to see long term now how the 'decluttering of my life' plays out in the future, or not. **sigh**
So what advice would I impart for someone having to undertake a similar challenge?
1. Break it down into zones or rooms. For me, it was all in one room and I found it very hard to work out where to start. I chose to start with the linen as I knew it was in many bags and sets were not together. Once I got started with that, I was on a roll.
2. Do it alone or with someone else just as dedicated. Often people want to come and see what you are doing and have a chat. If it is a 'big' job, the less distractions, the better.
3. Have healthy meals planned. This is a time when energy, both mental and physical is paramount. Eat healthy meals and snacks.
4. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Try to reduce the intake of caffeinated drinks to assist with no. 5.
5. Try to get as much good quality sleep as possible. Often sleep at these times is restless and I lay awake for hours at night thinking about things I needed to do the next day. Try lavender essential oils or some relaxation techniques to assist with getting to sleep or returning to sleep.
6. Stay focused and on task. Sometimes I would start going through something, go to put something somewhere else, then get tied up there doing something, instead of returning to the original task.
7. Take short breaks. A good opportunity for short breaks is meal times. It helped me enjoy my food and refresh my focus.
8. Be well prepared. As I had plenty of time to plan (10 years!) I thought about all the things I was going to need. Markers, tarps, newspaper, packing boxes, rubbish bags and contact with a local charity who can take away goods that will be recycled after the garage sale. Before the garage sale, contact the charity and arrange a time for them to come so there is not temptation to keep anything that doesn't get sold. Many of them will distribute the goods to other towns and distribution centres if required.
9. Research decluttering information to work out a plan on how to make a decision on what to keep and what to clear out. It is challenging enough to do without having to think logically during the declutter process.
10. Set yourself a time limit (1 day, 3 days, a week, whatever it might be) and at the end of time limit, reward yourself for what you have achieved. If the job isn't finished, diary time straight away tocomplete the job and so on, until the job is complete.