Beginning the New Year

All our Christmas decorations have been returned to their storage boxes and my thoughts now turn to the year that lies ahead.

We have decided to start the year by “de-cluttering”. For us this is a truly daunting prospect, as we’ve lived in this house for over 32 years and have filled every available space, both inside the house and outside in the outbuildings, with “stuff”. This photo should give some idea of what I mean.









I’m ashamed to say that this shows part of the inside of my workshop before I started to sort and clear out the boxes, shelves and tables. Originally this outbuilding was intended as my dyeing room, with a writing and reading area, but gradually every available surface became covered with items deposited “for the time being” until I got round to sorting them out and tidying them away. Needless to say, once I had established another dyeing area in our conservatory, this tidying up process somehow never happened – until I embarked on it this week, that is.

Sometimes sorting through the evidence of a lifetime of hoarding can be a refreshing and revitalising process. It certainly does feel good to bring some order into the chaos within drawers and cupboards, especially when one finds unexpected treasures that bring back happy memories. At the same time, I am amazed at my apparent inability to throw away such things as bent paper clips, dried-out pens, screwed-up paper bags or even the smallest piece of string. Gradually I am learning to separate the rubbish from the genuine treasures and I’m re-organising and labelling my storage spaces in the hope that I shall be able to find things more easily in future. Of course I am resolving never again to let things get so disorganised and untidy but I suspect I may all too quickly revert to my bad, old ways. However, with each bag of rubbish consigned to the council tip, I feel a lifting of the spirits, as if I am casting off aspects of the past that have been weighing me down. So I hope I shall be able to face 2010 with an increased sense of optimism and a readiness to embrace new experiences.

If you are feeling somewhat jaded and lacking in enthusiasm at the start of another year, I can recommend the therapeutic value of a little sorting and tidying. However, whatever you are feeling, I wish you all the very best of health and happiness for 2010.

9 replies
  1. quinn
    quinn says:

    Thank you for the inspiration! My tiny house is chockablock full, and in sad need of a tidying-up. Can’t dye yarn this winter until I make some space, so…

  2. Helen Melvin
    Helen Melvin says:

    Hi Jenny I know just where you are! When I had to clear my studio ready for the first Helf a Gelf ( open Studio event) two years ago, it took me a week, bin bag after bin bag went to the tip. However although it still silts up it has never been so bad again. And I do did refreshed and inspired by all that space!

  3. Debbie Bamford
    Debbie Bamford says:

    I’m going to be joining you – but for different reasons! We are moving house this month and have to sort out all our clutter and move it to our new home, only 14 years for me – but it’s still a daunting task! I haven’t ordered the skip yet……

  4. judy martin
    judy martin says:

    Jenny, I am so glad to find this blog.
    I just ordered your new book from Amazon.
    A friend loaned my Wild Color and I love it.
    I look forward to reading your blog further over the year.
    Happy and health 2010 – I cleaned my studio before December 31 so as to have good luck in the new year. I’ve read that one should always start the new year with a clean house – so carry on!

  5. Dot
    Dot says:

    This sounds like important work, it’s liberating to find new spaces and have room to do things.

    I spent the Christmas period having a sort out and clear out, only 5 years since I last moved house but it’s amazing how things lurk in corners. This year I aim to reduce all my fibre craft stashes by using what I’ve got. I shall however be growing more dye plants, there’s still room in the garden!

  6. jane
    jane says:

    Oh, how glorious to know that I am not the only one! We had to clear up to find space for my Australian family – son, daughter in law and two small boys – for 5 weeks. I started clearing a fortnight before and still ran out of time, dumping “stuff” with long suffering nearby relatives. Now I have to retrieve it all…

    And wouldn’t you know, I wanted to do some dyeing today and the one dye I wanted is in someone else’s spare bedroom and the snow is falling fast and furious again.

    C’set la vie!


  7. Benita
    Benita says:

    Wow! I think everyone is on the decluttering binge – at least everyone I know. It does feel good. I’ve taken 4 carloads of stuff to Goodwill and I can’t tell anything is gone. Sigh… My sorting to do. 🙂

  8. Karin Barton
    Karin Barton says:

    Mine will have to wait till I can lift more than “a cup of tea” after an op. but found your website while hunting for someone to card small quantities of alpaca. I can at least spin. Any ideas will be gladly received .

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