I’ve been decluttering my home and my attic recently, and I never realised how much stuff I had accumulated. It became quite clear that when there had been no obvious real home for each item or the kids had outgrown something still in good condition, yes, you guessed it; I’d just stored it in the attic. It’s true, some of the things I unearthed were rediscovered treasure, which was lovely, but most of it, well just clutter plain and simple, or was it that simple?

There were things that we had no use for anymore, files filled with papers from my studies and completed assignments from my university degree, and even bills and receipts from years back stuffed in an old filing cabinet stored in an obscure corner of the attic. I found myself looking around the room, now this isn’t a typical old Victorian attic where you might expect to find Miss Faversham lurking in a corner somewhere, no, it’s actually a beautifully decorated and furnished room full of character, at least underneath all the clutter it is. So I decided it was time to purge and before I knew it I found myself, tipping out every room, cupboard and closet in the house as well as the attic. A quick job had suddenly turned into a storm of activity that was going to take some time!

Back to the attic though – I filled bags for the charity shop and binned other stuff, and my shredder was on overtime clearing the old paperwork, poor thing, it couldn’t cope so that joined the clutter pile and went to the tip along with some other bits and pieces and I purchased a new one, which turned out to be very lack lustre and very slow, serves me right for saving a fiver and going for the cheaper version!

I could have opened a toy shop with all the toys and stuffed animals and bears, that beautiful as they were nestled and packed in the boxes from bygone years, a veritable zoo in my home, they had to go. Strangely, I found this a little sad, like saying a final goodbye to a part of my motherhood, a very special part steeped in love that oozed from my core. I was surprisingly taken aback by the reluctance in my mind and the on-going internal argumentative saga that consistently pulled at my heart strings causing an emotional torrent of feeling that I had never envisaged. After a couple of cups of coffee and continuous dialogue with my inner voice I took the bull by the horns and gave some of the little, and the not so little I might add, much loved bears and soft toys to my grandchildren, who were very choosy as to which ones they actually wanted and would not under any circumstances be swayed by Nana’s musings or attempts to coerce them into taking the ones that held some of what I thought were my sweetest memories. The truth being that they all held sweet memories. The rest, alas, were destined for elsewhere and I am sure that they will bring happiness wherever they end up.

I found clothes in the big wardrobe up there from my younger days; outfits and designer dresses that I had loved wearing and once again I romped down Memory Lane in my mind, remembering lovely old haunts and happy, and to be honest some not so happy memories that were obviously still attached to my old, metaphorically speaking, old clothes. They were more vintage than old, most of them in beautiful condition. Once again I was surprised at the thoughts that were unearthing in my mind, a myriad of both happy and sad as I perused around the many experiences of my life. Clothes that I had loved, yes, but clothes that also provoked uncomfortable feelings surrounding past relationships especially with my ex-husband, definitely time to bin them and definitely time to relinquish old thoughts, but how easy was that going to be…

I sat on the bed and looked at the exquisite handmade quilt and the wine coloured velvet throw that adorned it and brushed my palm along the fabric feeling the soft elegance on my skin and then looked around the room and thought of the myriad of opposing emotions that I had hidden and locked away in this part of my home, that felt like it was mirroring my life, and that my action of decluttering was actually opening those recesses of my mind and my life and I knew it was time to let go and move forward in a way that I obviously had not done so before. Time to close those chapters that had cut so deep at the time and obviously left wounds not fully healed, time to move on with clarity and a knowing that that was then and this is now and there is no room for unhappy thoughts of what was. I am not the same person now, the young girl who felt as if her dreams were crushed and the young woman who closed her heart to herself, they no longer exist, except as facets of the woman I am today. Facets of the changing inner face of a woman who sees lift through a different lens now, who is grateful for those experiences as they have helped me become the woman I am today, although would not want to relive them, not at all, but they are what they are and it’s now time to put them where they belong, in the past and out with the clutter.

Amazing how my home was reflecting my inner self and once I began clearing out the debris (the clutter) it all surfaced right in front of my eyes. The room, this attic, was like a memoir, a book of my life and its experiences both good and bad, relationships, becoming a mother and growing into motherhood, the changing faces of my family as my children had grown, my work, my hobbies and pastimes, it was there right in front of me, so clearly, so vividly and so unmissable. How had I never seen it before? I guess because I am moving forward inwardly as well as outwardly and I am now ready to ditch it all because when you want to feel good there’s no place for hanging on to unhappy thoughts or what feels like an unhappy past, and do you know, I feel so much better now, it’s so much easier to let it all go; and my room looks fab – Now to finish the rest of the house and then to redecorate to celebrate!

With love ’till next time,


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©Elaine W Shaw 2015