Sunday, October 4, 2009


My decluttering project is going great guns. I wrote a plan of what I wanted to do in each room. I spent some time thinking about the purpose of each room, looking at the furniture in there, and imagining how I wanted it to feel and function. I used one of my half-completed journals and just started drawing plans into it.

Here is my lounge as it was.
Lots of things. Being the magpie I am and having an eye for the unusual meant I had lots of odd cool stuff all over the place. Add to that my crafting projects and all the materials and tools needed for each one (not to mention a garage filled to the ceiling, front to back with more stuff) and we are in serious overload. When the girls come over to play, this is our gathering point.

Then there's my children who watch tv here, play games, do art, entertain their friends and sleep in here. During winter, to keep costs low, we sleep the children in here as it is the warmest room in the house. The heating is kept on 24/7 as my kids all suffer from bronchial illnesses and asthma. Wellington is a cold, wet, miserable city in winter.

This room is used for many things. It's where we eat dinner too, hold family meetings, Jedi's practice their saber skills, Ninja's leap about, and babies find old moths to chew on.

For instance, in the lounge was a great hulking bookshelf and several baskets with craft stuff overflowing in my corner. I realised that the bookshelf dominated and hid the great view of the ocean through the little window there.

I had a great set of drawers. It has two big deep drawers. It lived in the garage buried beneath more stuff. I had started stripping them to revarnish them. We cleared out the junk and brought in the drawers, took out the large bookshelf and presto, instantly the whole corner changed.

I am keeping one drawer for me for my current craft projects and one for the kids art materials. Drawers are good because I can shove my projects in their and they disappear from sight. The top of these deep drawers also provide me with a display surface. It currently houses my crafted goodness which is destined for a craft market this weekend at Pataka Art Gallery in Porirua.
This home is a rental so I must make do with things structurally. I found that just editing stuff out, removing junk and putting things away created a sense of space. Some inbuilt shelves had all manner of made things on them, photos, a painting I did. I cleared it off all but some little wool sculptures I made and two giant Nautilus shells. It became my white space. Me, who never does white, enjoys the visual breathing space all these changes are creating. I also removed one of my textile peices and reinstated my dear friend Dagmar's print back in its home place.
" To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time."
- Leonard Bernstein.

Overall I removed two large coffee tables, one large bookcase, a multitude of books, several large baskets of yarn and fabric, plus miscellaneous needles etc. I now have two tiny tables handmade by old patients at the Porirua Mental Hospital. I got them for $6 each at the Sallies store and love their naivety.

Today we finished dusting, vacuuming under the couches and wiping the leather down on the upholstery, finding random buttons before our now mobile baby did.

Every room in my home is going through a similar transformation. We have been able to give away a lot of things, hold a garage sale and share the proceeds, as well as chuck out a big carload of rubbish and stuff up to Trash Palace.

I'm on a roll. I found a small green rusted cubbyhole cabinet for the front door, just the right about of distressing and for the costly amount of $5. And the other large bookshelf there is being picked up tomorrow for another family to use along with a baby bath.

I realised my being an 'orphan' of sorts as a kid led me to an attachment to my things, which was the only constant in my life as a kid. I also love holding onto things so that I could bless others. I also love collecting things and can't even return from the beach without a pocket of sea glass, round pebbles, feathers, and buttons.

This process is helping me define what is important to me, and what isn't. So I love textiles and making textile stuff. Stitching, knitting, crochet, jewellery making, and the odd exhibition. As well, I love photography and can't wait to get some of my photos on canvas and onto the walls in the spaces I've created. I'm becoming more intentional each day. I walk past things I would've bought because they represented a good deal. Now I leave things for others to appreciate and enjoy.

Still a lot left to do but we are enjoying our home more, its easier to tidy and has decreased the amount of work I do here, leaving me more time to spend with friends and family having fun.

My Goals:
  • Declutter and Clean Home: Two weeks to create a home that works for us and not against us.
  • Financial plan and weekly/monthly budget: Two weeks to completely familiarise myself with everything from scratch.
  • Homeschool plan: Two weeks to apply for exemption and American curriculum for Nemaia.
  • Health and Fitness: Two weeks to establish a fitness plan, some goals and an incentive.
  • Career: My own private counselling practice: Two Years time!
  • Home: A bigger home when the opportunity arises once the finances are sorted.

Lots of big things to do. I felt so overwhelmed last week when I started clearing my home. But I journaled my thoughts about what I wanted to create, visited some folks who are organised, viewed some amazing homes via blogland and got myself inspired. Even with all the pain from my back injury and complications, I pressed through because I knew it would be worth it.

My husband walked into our lounge the other night and said 'it's like a rugby field in here". My friend Betty Ann and I are pacing ourselves, and email each other regular with any updates and progress reports. Its inspiring and encouraging to see someone elses progress and also hear about their dilemnas. Another friend went home and sorted out her garage full of art supplies. Another friend has asked my help and still another went home to start sifting through her possessions.

Serendipity and hard work. I just keep focusing on one box at a time, one shelf at a time, one task at a time. These little tasks everyday add up. I am seriously considering offering this as a service because I can see how it works. It really is about having a vision and getting your head right about things. I was overwhelmed at first but it was really oppressing living in a constant state of disarray. A reflection that some of my life was out of kilter perhaps.

I can't wait to help friends and anyone who needs a hand to get started. It really does bring a freedom and pleasure that can only be understood after the hard graft.


ArtPropelled said...

I. Am. Impressed!!!

Jamie said...

This is wonderful. Fantastic goals. I think I will go write some for myself!! Good for you! Jamie V in MT

Ahipara Girl said...

Me too Robyn. I have had to regroup my life, its purpose and adjust accordingly. Can she do it? Yes she can!
Hi Jamie, good luck with your goals. I enjoyed visiting your site. x

india flint said...

first of all i'm echoing Robyn's thoughts...

and secondly i think there's no reason at all why counselling and decluttering couldn't go hand in hand.


off so sort out a patch.


imbi star said...

looks awesome sis! I still like all the cluttered bits, but I understand you gotta keep it neat!

At least the view will be bigger....ahhh that beautiful view and ocean!

Miss ya chops, xx

Philippa said...

Well done! Must be a really fantastic feeling to have achieved so much. Hope to get out to Pataka on Saturday so if I'm there will drop by and say kia ora! Enjoy the new found space.

anna said...

your comment about your attachment to stuff as a child really struck a chord with me. i was really attached to our modest 'stuff' for all sorts of reasons, and most of it got lost in our many house moves. Now I find my favourite op shop finds invariably remind me of something we had in the house when i was a kid, or something i loved in my aunties house. great post, very inspiring. keep up the good work!!

skatey katie said...

love the before and after shots - how satisfying!
also LOVE the bernstein quote.
mwah X

Marilyn said...

How clever to do the before and after photos! A great reminder when spirits are flagging. I've been enjoying your posts - good luck with the home schooling applications and your career goals. Good plans for achieving - keep at it.

Jacky said...

What a positive post, your before and after are inspiring. Your carpet reminds me of one I had in Gisborne, loved all the warm colours. Your textile art looks great. Best wishes for your future goals.

Anonymous said...

You are an awesome woman!!! I wobble and vascillate between clutter and none clutter. What a great plan, I will reread and take it onboard. I am great at the plan bit, but not so good at the action. It was so good to see a plan in action!!! Thank you.

Ellen Peters Hoskins said...

I just wandered across your blog via SouleMama. I ADORE decluttering and the great feeling it gives! Thanks for the fun photos and inspiration.

Joanna said...

I am in love with your before and afters - I love the cluttered 'before' but also the streamlined 'after'! Your sense of style is just lovely and I am inspired to declutter spaces in my home. I loved that you said one box at a time, one shelf at a time. It can be overwhelming if you look at a room and think wow I need to do this whole room! But one shelf, I can handle, so thank you!