A clean sweep

I don’t believe in New Year resolutions. So much so that when I’m asked what mine are, my response is generally, ‘I resolve not to make any New Year resolutions’!

But you know what? There’s something about a new year, about the hanging of that fresh, new calendar, that seems to surreptitiously encourage us to make changes to our life. And this year, my change has been a big one. I’m throwing out all my art stuff, bar my watercolours, my acrylics and my quality painting paper. That’s right – no more tissue paper collage, no more card making, no more valiant yet valueless attempts at screen printing or paper making, no more saving chocolate wrappers for that never-to-be-finished mosaic of the Amazon river, no more aluminium embossing, no more … name another shiny new toy in the art and craft field! In fact, over the 10 years since I took up painting, the only area I haven’t had a go at has been oil painting.

So much to play with, and so little horizontal space to play on!

Over the last 24 hours I have been pulling my art cupboards and collection to bits, sorting, stacking, and getting ready for the mother of all crafty and artistic garage sales. And weirdly, I haven’t regretted the decision for a moment. Sure, I wavered a little over the packet of virginal Origami papers, and the aluminium embossing sheet had me a little indecisive, too, but on the whole, it was a lot easier than I thought.

So you’re probably asking, ‘Why?’ The truth is, I’m not 100% sure, but I think it started with downsizing at our office – I had to bring an awful lot of stuff home to make way for some more people to fit in – and it filled our garage while we considered what we would do with it all. But the freedom at the office – now that we’ve also downsized our offerings to building websites and self publishing Australian writers – gave me more energy there.

And then I happened to find an old neighbour on Facebook, one who had moved away probably 10 or more years ago. And what did I find? Steve and his wife are downsizing their lives to go travelling. Luckily for me, he’s blogging about it, and the first post which inspired me was ‘Operation Ditch Everything’ here: http://noknownaddress.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/operation-ditch-everything/ followed by ‘It’s all got to fit in there‘ where he talks about how he is ‘finding the jettisoning of all this stuff quite liberating’. And he’s right – once your mind comes around to the idea of freeing yourself of all that ‘stuff’, the weight just lifts!

My husband has taken this opportunity to repaint the lounge room, which has given us the chance to rearrange furniture as well. And with the new space I have created by emptying one cupboard, one table and the underneath of a table (nothing like a table that serves as storage!), we now have a ‘new’ buffet for our dining room. We have taken our board games out of the hard-to-reach cupboard at the back of the lounge room and brought them through to the dining room where they are more likely to be played with family and friends. We now have a new workspace in the lounge – if someone doesn’t want to watch the TV, they now have a table to use for a computer or a jigsaw or to paint on, without having to be isolated in the dining room. Already we can see benefits to the way we use the spaces in our house.

It’s going to hurt a bit, but we will all benefit. No longer will the family have to remember to save every piece of hard foil from inside a coffee jar or the twist ties from freezer bags (no, I didn’t yet have a plan for those, but I couldn’t throw them out), or every piece of plastic sheeting around flowers from the florist, or every piece of tissue paper or small box or … yes, it was becoming a disease. I was probably just one collection short of being officially classified as a hoarder!

But no more. It’s a new year. I have a new plan, a new lounge room to relax in, more time to relax in it, and less stress from the piles of accumulated ‘things’ just sitting there, waiting for me to play with them.

So thank you Steve, and Happy New Year everybody. What are you doing in 2014 that you didn’t resolve to do?!

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