The emotions of decluttering

I got up this morning and I saw a bag that I made over the weekend ready to leave for donations. I glared at it and walked by it, planning to ignore it. I went to the bathroom, and, there stood three big bins full to the brim with more clothes that no longer fit the kids. I just need to get rid of this stuff. I had tried many times, took the time to take pictures and post each item to a local Facebook page. Had a few random pieces leave, which I had to rummage through the bins to find, and then the page was deleted and I never put them back up. As much as I wanted to have it all gone, each time I put pictures up or saw them, or touched them if I rummaged through the bin, each time… I felt a bit of panic.

I would imagine how that piece of clothing looked on one of my kids, I could imagine cuddling them while they were wearing those clothes. I could reminisce about how small they use to be and be in awe at how time goes by so quickly and how big they have become.

But this morning something clicked. I sat down at the computer and instead of posting pictures I just posted a simple message on another local Facebook page. “Clothes Lot for girl born in Jan. newborn to 2-3 years. Message me if interested.” I got a message back within about 2 minutes. She asked a price, I gave her one and she accepted. That was it. But she didn’t have a car to come get it. She lives in the old part of the city where most people have very low incomes, which is not far so I had no problem with running it over and it also made me feel a bit better that the clothes were going to someone who needed them.

I transferred the clothes from the bins to the bags, trying to not look much at the clothes but of course I saw my favourites and 3 items did make their way out, but then I took a big breathe, said “no more” and I closed the bags up and set them aside. I looked around for more things and made another bag and then was left with a big bin of miscellaneous boys clothes. So, I decided to donate it all. I asked her if she had any other kids. She said no, but asked why and I told her about the extra bag. She said she had a friend with a young boy so if I was going to donate it I could always leave it with her first. No problem. So there at the bottom of the stairs were 6 full garbage bags worth of clothing ready to leave.

Once Simon got home he put everything in the car along with a little baby chair that I had offered her also.

My heart tightened; It was all in the car and out of the house. I wanted to go and rescue it.

He went to start the car for me and the car wouldn’t start. It was the third time in as many weeks, and though yes we are in a cold snap, today was not that bad of a day so it confirmed what I already knew, that my battery was dying. I called Roadside Assistance and was put on the call back cue with at least an hour of wait (last week I waited 9 hours in cue!) I called the garage and asked if I could stop by for a new battery tonight if I was boosted in time and asked if he had a battery in stock. He said yes, but not too late. Simon asked why I didn’t just wait for tomorrow but I knew that I needed it all out and gone tonight, my emotions were running high. I got the call back and bit more than an hour later and within 20 min the tow truck was there. I left right away and headed straight to the garage. Almost too late. Of course it was not a straight forward job because the battery that he had didn’t exactly fit right but after a small welcomed modification it was done and I was on my way. One step closer. As I unloaded the bags I started feeling lighter and I started feeling a bit sick.

Though I would not exactly see call myself a hoarder, I can recognize that I have many of the traits and I do have a hard time letting go of certain things. I have talked about it before, but years ago I did have a thrift store/garage sale shopping habit that I broke cold turkey one day. I was tired of the clutter that was overrunning our lives and our home. Especially in certain rooms. I never looked back and we are still working on getting stuff out and we are slowly starting to get the upper hand. But there are still those feelings that come with letting go of certain items. Not with all, not even close anymore and not as much as it used to be, but definitely with some. And tonight I definitely felt it.

So I drove away and dropped one last bag off of unrelated items at the donation centre and then made my way back home. It was liberating… but it also made me anxious.

I feel lighter, the house feels lighter and thinking about it I still feel slightly sick, but I also feel that I have just made a big step. I have a few more to make, but with each one, we get closer to getting down to a manageable amount of stuff and having only stuff that we need and love and use. Each step gets us closer to a more realistic amount of stuff that will be able to accompany us in our dream of being on the road. Each step can be really hard to make but you just have to take the step and let things follow through because then you have to get ready to make that next one.

I little while after I got home, I got a message saying that she was going through the clothes and she was so happy. That they were much more then she expected and that there were so many beautiful items.

That felt good.

So, how do you deal with Clutter and items that you love but have no more use for. Baby clothes, favourite kids toys, favourite books? Do you even feel like I do and feel a bit sick and have trouble saying goodbye to items? What are your tricks? I would love to know.

Dreams for 2013

Looking back on 2012, I guess it was really not our year for the big changes that we wanted. Maybe it was for the best, maybe I needed to get ready emotionally and be in a better place. Maybe we needed that time to make the initial leap but were unintentionally resisting what may have come.

A few months ago, our “For Sale” sign blew away. It was just around the time that we realized that we could not get a loan from the bank for our bus project and we were feeling defeated. It was a fitting moment, or so it felt like it and we never bothered putting it back up. I ordered a more professional looking sign from Vistaprint before the holidays and we decided that we would put it up after the holidays. And that is what I did. Out sign is back up and the house is officially up for sale again. It feels good.

Simon and I have been tackling problem areas in our house where there was clutter behind doors. The Tupperware cupboard, the linen closet, the bathroom cupboards and other places like that. I am feeling much less resistance to keeping things and it is easier to let it go. Though I still have a problem with the Kid’s stuff and our love of books etc..

Our dreams this year are to go ahead with our plans and not give up. We want the bus. We need that time and that freedom that the bus could provide to get us back in a better place as a family. We are still in that vicious circle for the bus so I decided to start a bus fund. It is not like me to ask for help, or especially ask for money, but the more I think about it, the more I think that it doesn’t hurt to at least try.

So here I am trying. If you would like to help us out just click on the image above.

My promise to you is that whatever funds we receive will go towards our plans for the future, for the bus or for our move.

I am also going to open another Etsy shop to help us out but I am still questioning what I should put in it. I am loving needle felting and crocheting. I have been less in the sewing room lately but am willing to go back in more often. Is there anything that you are interested in seeing in an Etsy shop? I’ll see what I can do. I need to find a way to work from home, and then on the road, so that we can do this and I am wanting and willing to work as hard as I can for it.

2013 needs to be the year for change.


Change of seasons…

Today we woke up to a light dusting of snow and it sunk in that Winter is coming.

In a few weeks, my Khéna will be 6 years old, then it will be the holidays and then Wilhelmina’s 3rd birthday. Wow… time really does fly…

It was still winter last year in February when we made the big decision to put the house up for sale and move out and head to BC where I was raised. Winter…. and now winter is returning. We showed the house a few times over the months but by not going with an agent and letting up on the advertizing, the visits died down. This summer we added another project to our plans. Not instead of our initial one, but prolonging our move by fixing up a bus and travelling until we reach our destination. But it is now November and we are still here and still not closer to moving. If things were a bit better financially now, we would buy the bus right away, fix it up and get it ready while we work on selling the house. But we are not able to do that at the moment because we just don’t have that lump sum and don’t have any family that can help. If the house sells, we will have to make the decision to either give up on the bus dream or get the bus and do our best to find a place to live while we fix it up. One is giving up on a dream that I have had since I was little and the other would mean that we would have to spend much more money to move twice, money that we would need for the time on the road.

This first snow and having the seasons start to change again is a bit like getting a slap in the face. Back in February, I would have never thought we would still be here. I would have kept our plans a bit more to ourselves because at times facing people that ask questions (not our good friends, but acquaintances) makes me feel as though we have failed, even if I know that it will all come in its own time and that things will work themselves out.

The day the leaves fell…

the day all of the leaves fell

How do you let go?

I love the idea of a clutter free home. A home that has things to look at, books on the shelves and even a few trinkets. A home that looks lived in but is not overly full. The balance between too much and too little and a home in which everything that surrounds you is something that is loved. My goal one day is to have that home and slowly, very slowly, I am getting there. I go through periods of time that I get rid of tons of things and have no regrets, but then there are times that I have great intentions but can’t seem to follow through…

Moving and pursuing the dream of the bus means that we have to get rid of everything that we don’t need. We do plan on keeping a few extras to either store until we have a permanent home or tow behind us if possible but our plan is to get rid of most…

But what to do with them?

I am ready to get rid of all of the baby and kids clothes that the kids have outgrown. I have no problem giving it away to friends that need it, and I do that. But the rest… well ideally it would be great if I can sell a few items.  I have 3 large Rubbermaid’s full of clothing (I used to have at least 3X as much!) Some I given away, some have sold and gone, and the rest just sits there. There are no organizations around here that I would want to donate clothes to. So there they sit…

And what about books? I read in English, there is no english library, there are little english speaking people around here which means that there are no little bookshops that I can try to hand over my books to. I have a ton of books that are perfectly fine and are great books but I just don’t need or want anymore. I also have tons of magazines… like a few years worth of Mothering and the old Homeschool Horizons magazines… what to do with them?

I have way too much clothes too.. I wear the same pieces over and over but have others that I just have trouble letting go of…

I think that some of my problem has to do with “what ifs”… What if I need it? What if I miss it? What if the kids would like it later?, some has to do with a dream that I have that is not shared by others… (like toys that I wish I would have had and I love, but the kids are not into) Some has to lack of community to pass things around to., and there is small bit that has to do with a small pang of wanting to get something back for it, especially when we are trying to find sources of money to fund our dreams.

I saw some great advice a while back from a family that sold their house and most of their belongings to be on the road. She had tried selling things and handing things away but was still having trouble and holding on to too much and then finally came to the realization that it came down to her owning the stuff or the stuff owning her. Once she realized that she was able to let go without any worries. I am way closer to that point then I was a few years ago but I am not there yet…

So how do you let go?
What would you do with things that you can’t find a home for (like books or clothes)?
Where do you draw the line of what is “sentimental” and how much of that you can keep?


I feel like I am withdrawing right now.

I go through phases like this once in a while… maybe it is the season, maybe it is just because I have so much on my mind but I feel like I am ignoring the computer, ignoring the blog, ignoring my friends. I don’t want to because I don’t enjoy feeling this way.

To my friends, if I am not calling you as much right now… it is not because I don’t want to talk  🙂

The only thing that I am not withdrawing from is the family… at this moment I feel even more connection with the kids. As much as I need to work through all my feelings, I also see the need to keep the kids informed to all of the decisions that we are making. At first they were apprehensive of this move and of selling the house but now they are actually getting excited and are able to understand that we need to let go of things. Especially Xavier, he may be the oldest but he is also the one that has the most trouble with change. He is maturing so much however and this whole situation makes that even more apparent and is making me see him and the others in slightly a different light. It’s hard to explain.

In light of the move… The offer on the house fell though this weekend. Everything was looking great and they wer going to have an inspector come in the next few weeks, but the bank called them and said that they finally couldn’t transfer their mortgage… So now we are waiting again… we put up a sign in our window and now we need to put one on the lawn to draw a little more attention. I have the house up for sale on the internet in various places but I know that selling by owner there is less exposure so it might take a while.  In a way, I am happy because then we have time to do all of the things that we need to do. In another way I hate it, because now we have a reason to procrastinate and not do the things that we need to do. I think I work better under pressure at times.

Putting the sign up in front of the house was a big step for me but came easily when I finally did it. What it meant is that we are finally telling everyone, something that I am finally starting to be comfortable with. Though we still have not told everyone yet. My next door neighbour did call me though a few days after… I had talked to her about the possibility that we might put the house up for sale but she was still surprised to see the sign. She told me that she is sad to be losing us as neighbors,

I need to make more effort… I need to get things done around the house, I need to reach out to people more, I need to stop procrastinating, to stop withdrawing.

The biggest thing right now is that I am starting to really feel at peace with our decision. Though it is scary and there is so much unknown, I am looking forward to it so much. I can’t wait until things start moving… I got in the car the other day and I could imagine it being the start of the long trip west and it felt so good.



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