on the final leg

Back inside again today.  Which shows piss poor planning as it is a lovely day and perfect for clearing out the outbuildings; which we opted to do in the cold and rain.

Having taken another carload of books to Amina we had a look at the heaving bookcases in the Gin Gan and started all over again.  While I sorted through hundreds of books the Boss started packing up the lots for auction.  It was a relief when Mel from the British Heart Foundation rang to arrange to come and pick up his second load.  For that means that by Tuesday evening this pile will have gone.


And so will this one.


My father is a bibliophile with a particular interest in wine and racing.  Consquently I have a huge collection of books going back to the early fifties, many first editions.  My job this weekend is to go through the book pile and decide which are worth going to auction and which are probably not.  This was one job I didn’t know how I would cope with.  But it was easier than I thought.  He gave them to me when he moved permanently to the States, he knows I will not read the full set of the Compleat Imbiber for example.  But somebody else will enjoy it as much as he did and it is worth quite a lot of money.  The real eye opener was a cookery book “Lady Maclean’s Cook Book”  Mine is a pristine first edition.  It has been put carefully to one side.

I think we are coming towards the end of the tunnel.  It has taken six months to get where we are now and there is still a lot more we can do.  But right now I am enjoying the space, the feeling of freedom and the great sense of relief to see so much clutter go out of our doors.

Will I ever go back to my old ways?  I think not.  I have noticed that as I move around the house I am instinctively picking things and putting them in the charity pile.  Thus went a pair of glass candlesticks, some towels, a selection of scarves and a pair of boots without even thinking.  Shopping holds little appeal unless it is something I really need or really want.  The former is now discussed and depending on severity of need bought now or put on the rolling shopping list.  The latter is put on my birthday list.  Come my birthday I am fairly sure that I won’t want half the things on there.

Finally, when you remove the clutter from your house and spend hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month packing it up and sending it away you get a pretty good sense of where you went wrong.  Things that you bought because you “thought they might be useful”, but never were.  Books you bought because they were beautiful but weren’t interesting enough for you to read or use.  Clothes that you bought because they were fantastic quality, a bargain, but you never really loved.  Knick Knacks collected from junk shops over the years.  Oh, and those infernal storage boxes that you kept having to buy to store all of the above 🙂

Now doesn’t that look good?


Nice and simple.

14 thoughts on “on the final leg

  1. Way to go, Gillie! You inspire me over and over. I wish you would come and live with me for about a year, because that’s how long it would take to de-junk my house from top to bottom!! But I appreciate your encouragement to take baby steps, and that’s what I’m doing! Thank you!

  2. Your pictures remind me of the storage room full of my mother’s stuff! When we started cleaning out in order to sell the house, we had a family day and let all her descendents pick things they would like to have (unfortunately my children are like me (don’t want it)) and then had two yard sales back to back, followed by an auction. The house sold immediately and I ended up with all the boxes of documents, journals, photo albums, etc to go through. My mood determines how much I can toss any given day. And I run a full time business so have little spare time for this project -eventually…..

    1. We live in a HUGE rambling farmhouse with plenty of outbuildings We have been here over 14 year and we have managed to accumulate far more than any one family could ever need. This has been a long and sometimes hard journey and I am at home pretty much full time so don’t knock yourself – you have a huge job on your hands and it is all the harder because it is not your stuff. It is much easier to be harsh with your own stuff. With your parents …. eugh I dread having to work through my mother’s house. She is a horder of the first order. There are two of them in a vast 5 storey London town house and the place is fit to burst. You get the picture 🙂

  3. You are doing such an incredible job! I love your phrasing about your planning. My mother and I use the phrase, but I haven’t heard it used much. Time to look for 5 things to move along. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. You may be on the final leg but there is an octopus or even a centipede to attack here! I have lots of spare rooms (which is why we are moving) so if you fancy a trip to Canterbury a bed, supply of wine and nearly 40 years of accumulated junk are here ready for you.

  5. I still have so much to do to get rid of what we don’t need. That said, you are right, I am a more careful buyer now. I know that, in fact, we don’t use what we buy most of the time. My daughters still don’t!

    1. Thank you. Another pick up from the charity shop today (ie they are picking up from me!) and auction house coming tomorrow. We’re getting there 🙂

  6. Wow. Your dad was big on the books, wasn’t he. Fortunately, I don’t have many. My husband does, and he is reluctant to part with some of them, but we’re getting there. The last picture looks just lovely.

    I’m not sure if I’ve missed this, but what started you on your journey to get rid of stuff anyway? Are you moving or did you just get sick of it?

    1. We got flooded and I had to clear out a lot of rooms. I had decluttered in the past but never quite as properly as this. As for the move. Well we didn’t start out with the plan to move, but as we have streamlined our lives we have begun to think that perhaps now is the time to move out of the huge family house. Our eldest will go to university in September and her sisters will follow shortly. This house is too big for two.

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