Well, it's been an interesting Christmas and early January.
My father was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of December and rather than the months he was initially given, he actually died just after Christmas. I had booked tickets hoping to get there in time to say goodbye, but it wasn't to be. The day before New Year's I flew to New Zealand for two weeks sans three year old daughter and husband.
Getting on a plane that took me half a world away from my little girl was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, but had to be done. I had a house to clear out, things to sort and a funeral to organise and attend. Luckily I also had time to catch up with some wonderful friends I have missed hugely over the last five years.
And now I'm back - huge Visa bill in tow and a little wiser. Going through someone's house and bagging things up for charity is a sad experience, but also enlightening. It made me think deeply about the true value of possessions. Why do we buy things that we never end up using because we are saving them for tomorrow or best (and then never use at all)? Why do we keep things that no longer suit us, fit us or have a practical use? We keep things for sentimental reasons but is it the item itself that is important, or just the memories that it triggers?
I'm not a hoarder by nature but I do have a habit of collecting things 'just in case' and buying things (especially clothes) because they are on special, fit me, are cheap.... um, or just there when I wander into a shop looking for something to buy. I have clothes in my dresser, wardrobe and Spare Room That Has Been Taken Over As My Walk In Wardrobe that don't actually fit with the way I want to dress, make me feel great or that I actually want to wear. They were a whim or buying them scratched a shopping itch at the time. Too often I manage to convince myself that this one item will transform my style and appearance - it doesn't.
William Morris said 'If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have
nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to
Smart man. This applies to clothes too. I'm not talking going to extremes here, I'm not looking for a 4 piece capsule wardrobe, but it means only owning things that bring me pleasure to wear or have some essential practical purpose (clothes to wear during DIY, gym and running gear etc).
It's not going to be easy but suddenly I'm feeling all the weight of this stuff around me, and I just want to feel lighter, freer and less encumbered. Less, I think, can be more.