A post where I am surrounded by boxes!

on

I have been quite absent from here the last few weeks. I have been so busy that I have taken today and yesterday off from everything, doing just what I want to do to catch up with myself. It is birthday season for me, so there have been lunches and dinners and catch-ups. There has been a wedding, the ballet, gallery visits ~ and I’ve loved every minute of it!

I have done a little creative work, and my newsletter readers will have seen the capsicum. (Feel free to sign up to my fortnightly newsletter ~ and receive a free, downloadable ink feather drawing ~ by clicking here.)

And then there was the emptying of our storage pod. We have had it for quite a few years (I am not getting more specific than that cos it is too embarrassing 😨), while we were supposedly working on getting the hallway painted. The hallway is still not finished 😱 but it was time to close the door on the storage.

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Last load!
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All out ~YAY!

Consequently I am swamped by boxes of stuff. Feel my pain when you look at the photos (cos it is easier to take pictures than deal with the mess!)

Tucked away in there are a few chairs, a little cabinet, a big cabinet, a couple of boxes labelled ‘ornaments’ and my old easel, but most of it is books and other papery things. There must have been at least twenty boxes of books.

So now the sorting begins. What stays, what goes to the op-shop, what gets given away, what gets recycled, what goes to the hard rubbish collection (hopefully very little). Of course I have a plan for that, created with coloured pens and inks 😊.  It’s the doing that will be the hard part!

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Already there is a problem with the books. Because the hallway is not finished I can’t put the books into the bookshelves that will go into the hall. There is no room in any other bookshelf, so those boxes have to stay for a while. First step is going to be the hall.

Also I am going to set up the Anne Archive. There was treasure buried in some boxes, in the form of old letters and cards, from friends, family, kids I taught. There are newspaper cuttings I kept for some reason, old photos, a bundle of pay slips, my dog’s leash……you know the stuff. So I have a cunning plan (“A plan so cunning that if it had a tail I would call it a weasel” to quote Blackadder!) where I am going to sort all this stuff, keep what is worth keeping, group it and file it away in folders.

But the really cunning part is that to each folder I am going to add a note telling the story of why this was important to me. The story should put the bunch of old letters into a context for whoever is looking through the Anne Archive at a (much) later date. I am assuming that will be my nieces and nephews, who might have a smidgeon of interest in my life.

How’s that for a plan?!! At least I can take my time with it, and it will be more interesting than doing the housework!

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38 Comments Add yours

  1. cedar51 says:

    having had the pleasure of many boxes a year or so back, know the “pain” – i couldn’t believe even after I had sifted/sorted and removed what wasn’t needed – how many boxes I had. Most since have been looked into – especially last week, when I needed a certain type art-material – 2 boxes later, found…and some other interesting things in the process. But also I managed to have a new smaller box…because there were things i didn’t need to store…(ok some of those things “no where” but are ready to be somewhere…)

    Like

    1. anne54 says:

      Oh yes, there always seems to be one more box! Well done for getting so many of yours unpacked, and for finding interesting things along the way ☺️

      Like

  2. My Baldrick-like cunning plan when we moved was I turned the boxes into tubs, a legitimate storage solution! They in turn are stored on big trolley-shelves in the shed. It is my ‘shop’ as it often holds the solution to something I need, saves me a retail purchase and time I exacvate something it faciltates a form of ongoing sorting. I had a fling with minimalism, and ended up throwing out a few things I now wish I’d kept. I love the Anne Archive, bittersweet treasure down the track for someone special who will appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne54 says:

      I love that idea, of having your own ‘Shop in a Shed’. Unfortunately our shed is the Fella’s domain, and it has so much stuff in it already. No room for anything more. (I am beginning to think that the Fella and I are becoming like those holders you hear about, with only small corridors through the piles of stuff!)

      Like

  3. katechiconi says:

    I *almost* envy you your clutter. I had to drastically chop into my possessions when I emigrated, and to reduce a life’s accumulations into 5 cubic metres is traumatic. I’ve made up for it since, of course, but having learned the skill, I now know what’s important and what’s merely nice to have. You’re right about the hall. Get that done, empty the book boxes, and the problem will suddenly be halved…

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    1. anne54 says:

      It must have been so hard to reduce your possessions down, but I can understand why it encouraged you to be more minimalist!
      I was thinking of you when I was writing this post, Kate, as I was imagining that you would have all this stuff tidied away as quick as winking!

      Like

      1. katechiconi says:

        How well you know me…. Left to myself, the house would be a lot more spartan, but the Husband has not had the benefit of my de-cluttering experiences!

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        1. anne54 says:

          Ahh, the compromises we have to make. I could cheerfully throw out most of the Fella’s ‘junk’, and have his shed cleared in no time flat, but I dither over every little ‘treasure’ of mine!

          Like

          1. katechiconi says:

            What I’d really like is a great big skip out the front, and we each take it in turns to add an item….

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Ardys says:

    I had a big clear out two years ago and haven’t looked back. In fact, if I had known how hard it was to get rid of things responsibly, I would not have collected so much to begin with! It is painful to divest of all the stuff, but so rewarding. If I lived near you I would offer to come and paint your hallway, I’m quite good at painting. Good to hear from you again.

    Like

    1. anne54 says:

      Thank you for the offer of the painting ~ if you were closer I would take you up on it! Can I move the hallway closer?!
      A big clean out sounds wonderful, even if getting rid of things responsibly is a worry. I am so looking forward to having at least some shelves and cupboards sorted and cleared.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. M. L. Kappa says:

    We downsized a few years ago, so I had a good clear out of 35 years’ accumulated stuff. Then some weeks later a friend was collecting clothes for the refugees, and I managed to fill two whole suitcases! Just goes to show…

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    1. anne54 says:

      It’s a never ending process! I try to have a Zero Growth Policy ~ if I bring something into the house something similar has to go out. Perhaps I should change it from one-to-one to one-to-five or ten.

      Like

  6. I’m sure you’ll get it sorted – maybe before we have cleared out the last of our old kitchen 🙂

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    1. anne54 says:

      i have been watching the progress of your kitchen, and I think you will be finished way before we will be! Your kitchen looks great, by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks very much, Anne

        Like

  7. acflory says:

    Ugh, you poor thing. That is a huge job, although the idea of curating your old memories is brilliant. Beware the boxes of books though. We settled our most bestest favouritest books in the house but left a number -cough- of not so favourite book boxes under the house. That was 12 years ago…:(

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    1. anne54 says:

      Books are hard to part with, but I am culling. It’s such a shame that op-shops don’t really want old books now. Thanks for the warning about “out of sight, out of mind”!

      Like

      1. acflory says:

        I used to buy a lot of books from op shops back in the day, but now ebooks from Indies are almost cheaper. 😦

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        1. anne54 says:

          and of course ebooks don’t take up s much physical space. 😃

          Like

  8. tialys says:

    I could barely stand to read this post as I know I am overdue for a huge clearout – if we ever move house we would probably need four removal lorries (at least). The realisation has at least made me a bit more fussy about what I bring into the house now though.
    You have a very good plan there – good luck with the execution!

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    1. anne54 says:

      Oh yes, as I tell myself, the planning is only as good as the doing. It’s all rather overwhelming, but I hate the sight of all this stuff even more. The way to move a mountain is one barrow at a time…..

      Like

  9. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    Oh wow, ! I love that paprika !!!

    Like

    1. anne54 says:

      Thank you! It was great fun to make, and I do intend to do more. I have a pumpkin sitting there, waiting patiently, as pumpkins do.

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      1. A pumpkin? Did you say pumpkin?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne54 says:

          Yep! A pumpkin. I thought of you when I was sewing it ☺️ A first view is coming in my newsletter this week.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I saw a preview on Instagram last night, Anne. I’m in love!

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Catherine says:

    I feel your pain! It is quite liberating though once you have sorted and decluttered to a degree. And I love your idea of your archives. Certainly more special than putting them in a box and hidden away!

    Like

    1. anne54 says:

      Yes, the idea of the archives is a good one…..the doing is another matter! I am sure I will start with great gusto, and then have my enthusiasm tail away as I get enthused about another project! Thanks for you support, and letting me know that there is liberation at the end of the tunnel!

      Like

  11. rrita says:

    Anne, I love your plan! I wish my father would do the same with his treasures before it’s too late! He collected tons of vintage stuff and he is the only one who knows where they did come from but he is too lazy to organize them…
    I hope those plan will succeed! I wish you good luck!

    Like

    1. anne54 says:

      It is often those things from other people that cause us the most difficulty. I think we feel that we are throwing away the memory of our mother/grandmother/father if we get rid of things that they have given or left us. So having a sense of why something is/was important to the person helps to work out whether to keep it or not. Could you ask your father to choose to tell you about a couple of his most important treasures? The whole collection might be too overwhelming, but at least you will know which he thinks are the jewels and why.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful art opened this post! I love the stitching!
    The boxes did look overwhelming but I guess I would think of the adventure and fun you can have revisiting your stuff you have not seen for a while, plus purging what you have discovered you no longer need. 🙂

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    1. anne54 says:

      Thank you for your positivity! You are right ~ I am enjoying seeing long forgotten things. Of course, I should be thinking “I liked this a while ago, and I am enjoying looking at it again. However, as I haven’t missed it in all that time I don’t need it now, so it goes into the Out box.” Unfortunately I am just as likely to think “I had forgotten about this. Perhaps I would like to reread/reuse sometime.” It’s the ‘perhaps’ that is the killer!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Francesca says:

    I understand your pain. I have far too many books and have decided that they are causing me too much stress. So I am halving them and keeping only those that fit on the shelves. My sheds are also being downsized and anything that’s worth something will be sold. I might follow your lead and draw a diagram. I feel so free when I am away from my stuff.

    Like

    1. anne54 says:

      Oh yes, let me encourage you to make a plan ~ get out the textas and have fun! I am going to try to sell stuff too. I am sure you agree that it’s the books that are difficult to get rid of, not even op-shops want them in great loads now. Thanks heavens for my local library, at the end of my street where I can borrow bags of books and then return them. Read and then out of the house.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Anne, I read your post with great interest since organizing is also my profession. I applaud you for emptying your storage unit and I *love* your visual plan. That’s a great idea. I’ve seen that used for projects in the past, but not in this way.

    Interestingly, books are often the hardest thing for people to part with. Since building our Little Free Library, I look at books in a different way. It’s been easier to buy a used book (for our book club read, for instance), then pass it on to the LFL. I share books with my sister as well and then she passes them on to a co-worker. The books I keep are sentimental (gifts from my mom, a few gardening books that belonged to dad) and a library of organizing books for reference and ideas and also for the pleasure of reading them.

    You might enjoy this writer’s perspective as well. https://lithub.com/on-the-heartbreaking-difficulty-of-getting-rid-of-books/

    I love the idea of writing notes to include with your mementos. I wish I had notes to go with my father’s albums. I have so many unanswered questions about his life in India and in England. I have fabulous photos, but no story to go with them.

    Please share your progress in a future post. And don’t forget the magic of the timer: set a timer for 15 minutes, work furiously against the clock, then see how you feel when you’re done. This can help kick start a project your procrastinating from. Good luck! xo

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  15. anne54 says:

    The timer is a brilliant suggestion. The piles can seem overwhelming, so a 15 minute chunk is manageable. You are right about how difficult it is to just throw out books.

    Becoming more involved in the creative world has given me another perspective too…..From reading author’s blogs I know how much work, care and love has gone into each book. To throw it away, or even give it to the op shop, seems to be dishonouring the author’s commitment. However, I can’t keep all there orphaned books that come into my world! Some of mine will be going to our local Little Free Library.

    Thanks for the link. I am going to check it out now.

    Liked by 1 person

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