Blogging has been on the quiet side recently because I’ve been keeping very busy. A year of trying to keep busy, the endless run of taxi driving and then the worry and weariness of pregnancy has taken its toll on the house. Somehow the last couple of months of the year felt even busier than normal too and everything started to descend into chaos.
So since the new year, I’ve been decluttering and sorting out. Most of this is definite nesting and a deep need to feel like life is organised in advance of upheaval. Some of it is the fact that I enjoy making nice things now and I want my home to reflect some of the niceness. I made a resolution to make our house more personal and attractive and I need less mess for that to happen. And then the girls are more independent in their making and doing these days and piles of stuff is not conducive to creativity. Maddy in particular likes to be able to find things to do.
15 bin bags, 2 skip runs and several days later, things are looking very different.
That’s the last remaining area to be tidied (my desk), two cupboards with most of everything that is annoying in them and some of the bin bags.
I was ruthless this time. I suffer from the problem of thinking I will do worthy things with stuff (eBay, pass on, charity shop, reuse, do) and the problem with all those worthy things is that unless you are very disciplined and do them, they don’t reduce clutter. So this time I went for the ‘out, out!’ approach. Bin, bin, bin, bin. If I haven’t ebayed it yet, I won’t, if I haven’t done it yet, I won’t, if it hasn’t been played with recently, it isn’t going to happen. The girls have chucked out clothes and old projects and toys and we’ve bought lots of under bed storage and done sensible things like make the Lego in a more accessible place, put drawing books and drawing stuff on to one shelf, rehomed craft stuff and put things they love into one box in a more useful place. I’ve reduced my clothes by half an have a small pile of things for immediately after baby and a smaller pile of things to slim into. I’ve chucked out all but the nicest of old clothing and stopped pretending I will mend. Sure, I’ve been wasteful and not recycled properly, but frankly, I had kept that pile of t shirts to turn into bags quite long enough. Everything that is still in a cupboard or a box or a shelf, we’ve made a sensible decision about.
There is still masses of stuff, but one thing I am pledging is to really use it all this year and to think before I buy things. I did a good job of cutting down on random purchases in 2011 and I need to use up some of our worthy hoard now. And frankly, I am a rubbish candidate for thrifty behaviour; all that happens is I get bogged down in stuff and no one gets to enjoy what we have. There is no point in a house full of saved and hoarded stuff if it stops you from having fun because the thought of making more mess is horrific.
There is still plenty to do. The girls did their own rooms and, since they need some new furniture this year and new beds in one case, more will have to go at some point. But for now they’ve done a decent job of getting rid of hoarded junk, so that’s a start. There is a room marmite can have made ready and a place for baby stuff and most rooms will feel nice and pleasant to be in some time in the next couple of days.
Luckily for all of us, storage boxes seem to be half price everywhere at the moment 😉
I have to say though, I think I might now have run out of energy. Pregnant nesting in the last month is going to be on a much smaller scale indeed!
It got me thinking a bit about what 2011 brought. I think we have lots to be proud of as a family. The girls have grown up hugely, I’ve recovered decently and coped not too embarrassingly badly with pregnancy. We’ve survived the apparently classic 18 month separation milestone that many bereaved parents experience. Fran has gone to school, Maddy has become a very individual personality in our home, Amelie is content in her skin again and Josie has blossomed. Things are palpably tough for them all just now, but I think we will be okay soon.
When I think about myself I do believe I have genuinely turned the loss of Freddie into something that has made me a better human and a better parent. It didn’t break me and although that doesn’t make it okay, I am proud of myself for that.
In terms of this blog, I think I have done good things. It has changed, but it has grown, it provides extras for me and my girls, I have made new friends from it and I am building skills in writing because of it. There was a period of time where writing here saved me, lately I haven’t felt able to write in that way but I know it will come back. I’m more protective of privacy now and I use the blog less as a catalogue of home ed but I think it will still be a legacy for the girls that they will love. I know it has altered but I hope it is still us from the core out. I aim for that.
Creatively, I make better use of my time. I make things, knit things, teach people creative skills, I am loving doing poetry with the kids at our groups and art days with friends. I knit and crochet and model better. I’ve got clear goals about how to improve those skills and I actually love doing them for myself, not because I want to make money. That’s quite a change for me. I have made beautiful things this year.
I definitely parent better. I spend very little time looking at my laptop. I guide more, talk more, show more, explore and think about their needs more. I am pleased and positive about that change. I home educate more effectively, if not yet as creatively as I would like to. I hope this year will add more variety into that element of life. I hope I’m a slightly more thoughtful person and friend, at least to Max. I may have some places to improve elsewhere. I’m not so good at extended family any more but perhaps I needed to shrink before I could grow.
2011 was a tough year, but I think it was a positive one. If I can say that in the face of all the sad and fear and grief it still held, I think that counts as pretty good.
So, decluttering and thinking. Lots done, much less blogging. But just for good measure, I’ve also been busy making this; it isn’t quite finished as it needs a backing to make it into a light cot quilt, but here is Marmite’s blanket.
See, I really have been busy 🙂