When I owned a very large house, I owned over a thousand books. To move into a smaller property when moving down here to Dorset, I cut that down dramatically. I am living in a small studio flat, which barely has enough room to swing a cat, but I have still managed to keep and add to a book collection which today totals just over 200 books.
I own just over 150 videos that I never watch anymore. 26 Filofax's. 6 boxes under my bed filled with handbags, shoes (that I never wear), knitting that I will never pick up again, packed away ornaments which I have no idea why I keep. And let's not even go into my wardrobe and bedroom chest of drawers.
I have sideboard chock a block with what I call stationery, thousands of photos of views of places visited that I never get out and look at, kitchen cupboards full of dishes that living on my own I simply have absolutely no use for whatsoever and will never ever use. I have a bathroom head height cupboard and shelving unit full to the brim with bottles, jars, makeup, hair decorations, and goodness knows what else that I simply keep but never use. I have 2 boxes filled with jewellery, the junk mixed with the good. The list could go on and on.
No wonder that how ever much I clean, sort out, and move things around, that I always feel claustrophobic and squeezed into a small space.
I am not a hoarder, but I do collect things that really should only be temporary and then passed on to someone else that could make use of them.
So I have decided to take the bull by the horns, and however much it hurts, I am going to totally minimalise (is that a real word?) my environment.
Today I have reduced my books down to approximately 100 - the rest are being picked up to go to the charity shop. With that 100, there are approximately 50 that I haven't read yet, but as I read them I will be putting them downstairs in a little area we have for leaving things that we think another resident might like to take if they want.
The remaining 50 I simply can't part with. Those are several bibles, several spiritual books, educational type books including a dictionary, and a couple of large history books.
I did find it quite hard because about 30 of the books that I am giving away are leather bound classics. But I told myself that nowadays I can always download any book onto either my Kindle or my iPad. I will never be without a book to read. And of course if I want the feel of a real book there is always the library.
As I make room in my glass fronted cabinets, this of course will leave shelving space to bring out some of the ornaments that I have packed away under my bed, reducing the clutter from that space as well.
Over the next few weeks I am going to take one part of my chaotic life and reduce it down to the barest minimum. Once that is done, I am not only going to totally give my home a complete new look by decorating and changing soft furnishings, but I am also going to take a look at the furniture that I own. The questions I will be asking myself are, do I need it? Is it really of use, or could it be replaced by something smaller - less bulky?
When first moving to this home I had been living in a caravan so I had to buy all new furniture to move in here with. When doing that I not only stuck to the conventional but I also chose my furniture in the way I had when living as part of a family. I did not take into consideration that I could in fact choose a different way to live once totally living on my own. In the words of Julia Roberts, "Huge mistake - Huge".
Now I am quite excited at the thought of what I might be able to achieve.