The one where I reclaim my workspace

Moving my work-space to a newly cleared end of our spare room was an empowering decision for me; it’s been a joy to work away from the kitchen table for the first time in three years!

My simple workspac

And being out of the kitchen itself avoids the distraction of washing up, raiding the fridge, having yet-another cup of tea (come on, we’ve all been there, right?) I love the view from here, and the light. I love having a reading chair for the times I’m soaking up the wisdom of others. And I love working at mum’s old sewing table, putting my pens away in the drawer when I’m done and wondering how many other women have created magic in one form or another sat just where I sit now…

So that’s that, totally nailed it!

As if. I can’t even begin to tell you how often I’ve looked behind me and been filled up with unmade decisions, guilt, frustration and sheer weariness.

Yep. I only cleared half the room and even when I don’t look that way I can feel the ton of stuff asking for my attention; just one of the ways a highly-sensitive person like me can easily get overwhelmed!

I feel sorry for spare rooms. They don’t have a role and yet get asked to do so much; jammed with the things we’re not sure we want, might want one-day, use once a year and have already moved a hundred times. Our excuse with everything we dump into this room is that ‘we’re moving into the new house soon, we’ll sort it then…

But you know what?

I don’t want to sort it then, I want to leap unfettered into the new fresh space, taking only what I love with me, not the weight of unwanted junk and a mountain of a sorting-out task ahead of me.

And so, here’s what’s happening today…

🌟That pile of fabric left over from decorating hay bales at our wedding party 2 years ago (which I was going to lovingly turn into a beautiful quilt)? Such great memories and how could I possibly get rid of anything related to our special day? I don’t love it! The idea of making into anything else makes my shoulders droop. It’s going at last; charity shop. 

🌟Ol’s old duvet cover that I was going to make into curtains for his new room? I mean, why waste half-decent fabric? Seriously. I’m over that; it’s in the (nearly full) rag bag. 

🌟A picture frame that used to have pictures I quite liked in it. Some of the things I find it hardest to let go of are simply items that I’ve seen in my life for so long. They’re familiar! They’ve put in the time, stuck with me through thick and thin and they deserve a place in our home! Off you go; charity shop. 

🌟A mug with a broken handle. It’s gorgeous. And my best friend gave it to me (because she didn’t love it anymore but knew I would) and how can I let it go? Um, because I’ll cut myself on the remains of the handle one of these days and it’s pretty much useless. Bin. 

🌟A mug with a fabulous pattern, holding two tape measures and a heap of sewing pins. Hold on, I love this mug, why’s it hidden behind the printer when I could drink from it every day? Mug cupboard, via the dishwasher. 

🌟Camera tripod I’ve never used. My dad gave me this, he and I both used to use our ‘big cameras’ a lot and photography is a love we share, I’d be letting him down if I got rid of his old tripod. Or I could ask him if he wants it back, then get rid if not? Charity shop, via dad’s house. 

🌟A little ironing board I use when I do get round to sewing quilts and which has a hanging bit so you can hang in a wardrobe but still gets moved round the floor regularly… Hung in the wardrobe. 

🌟Elderly Singer sewing machine given to me years ago by a friend. I should love it, they’re supposed to be cool aren’t they? And I love sewing and fabric etc so it makes sense that I hang on to it, you know, keeping the history alive and all that? Plus, what will my friend think if I let it go? Does it have any value? Charity shop? eBay?  Yak. Sometimes it’s easy to keep things just because we don’t know what else to do with them! What if we miss an opportunity to make hundreds of pounds on eBay if it goes to the charity shop? What if it sits on eBay for years unsold? How will I post it if it sells? And, more obviously, will my friend hate me forever if I don’t love something she gave me… Life’s too short for this; charity shop. 

🌟Carpet samples, tile samples, lighting samples. OK, these aren’t mine to give away or sell but I do need them right now to make decisions* for the new house. What if we make the wrong decision? We’ll be living with that carpet a long time… The sooner those choices are made, and not weighing me down, the better. And then I need to give all the samples back. NOT keep them just in case…

🌟A copy of Room on the Broom which I’m keeping ‘just in case visitors bring children who need entertaining’. This is not true, I’m keeping it because it sharply reminds me of lying on the lounge floor reading it every single day to my little boy; it was our favourite story and I did voices and accents and everything – I was a great mum. And he’s thirteen now, growing so fast, how will I remember every moment, how can I hang on to every single memory? By keeping this book. Ha! OK, very few visitors bring children without bringing entertainment too. Plus I will never-ever-not-never forget my boy being little, and I’m still a great mum btw. So… charity shop. 

Phew! That’s taken around an hour and it’s time for some fresh air.

Overall result? A lot more space! Room to breathe. Half a car bootful for the charity shop and a tripod to return to my dad; including a few other children’ books and toy cars, that’s a total of over 50 items leaving the house today.

My top tips? 

  • If someone gave you a gift assume they felt their joy in the giving; if you don’t love what they gave you let it move on. It will belong to someone who loves it one day. 
  • If you’re keeping something for a memory it brings you, rather than the joy it brings you, consider what else might keep that memory fresh. Or simply trust that the memory will be there when you need it; we have so many precious moments and they can’t all be front and centre every day, we want to spend time making new special memories too! 
  • Separate things out. We get used to seeing things in groups or in a certain position and this can mask the fact we’ve fallen out of love with something; the familiarity can be comforting. Be brave… see what the empty space brings you instead! 

Go on, take an hour, see what space you can reclaim!

* Did you know you only have a limited number of good decisions you can make in one day? That’s why simplifying your life, your wardrobe, your kitchen etc can support you to feel in control of your time. 

You can get more of my clarity-finding thoughts and sparks of possibility in my weekly-ish letters written just for quiet humans right here…