Archive for July, 2012

How to find the happy medium?

July 30, 2012

Having now discovered the joys of decluttering, I have got to the point where once or twice recently I’ve wanted things, only to discover that I’ve given them away… It was bound to happen eventually. The thing is, I really don’t want to backslide either financially (“I’ll just go out & buy another”) or in hoarding terms (“I’ll find somewhere to keep this, it might just come in useful…”) so somehow I have to find a middle way. Easier said than done!

I know that when it comes to my stall, I want to up my game & just have stuff that’s irresistible, on a stall that looks inviting. In some ways, less is more, here; I suspect that some of the things I’ve been puzzling over as to why they haven’t sold, have simply been buried in the melee as people turn my stock over to see what else I’ve got. I need a certain amount of variety so that things don’t get stale & I’m not trotting out the same old, same old every month; it’s good to give things a “rest” from time to time and always have something new. Well, as new as “vintage” can be! But at the same time it’s easy to accrue far too much stuff, some of it not as nice…

I also need to look at the materials I keep for our own craftwork; I have an ideal opportunity for this coming up as I replace some inappropriate storage with something that will fit the space more neatly, blend in with the rest of our furniture nicely and also provide more & better storage. I think it’ll take twice as much stuff as the present “storage solution” but I shall try to make sure it doesn’t have to; I suspect that half of what’s currently buried in the old sideboard will no longer be useful to us and can be given away! And there’ll be more room for dancing too – one of my teens can be entertained indefinitely  & inexpensively with henna, kohl, fabric, chiffon, sequins, bells, Bollywood & Egyptian music and a small audience or a few “pupils” …

I still have two biggish items that haven’t sold on Ebay. One I will hang onto & try other routes for selling; it’s worth what I’m asking for it & I’m not going to part with it for less than I paid for it, just wait until the right buyer comes along, which will happen eventually. I might even take it to Boscombe Vintage Market this weekend.  The other, my much-loved Jones embroidery machine on a Singer treadle – well, I have to admit I didn’t really want to sell it anyway! Once the new storage is installed (starting this afternoon, I hope) it can come back in from the garage and be put straight back into use. There are still other biggish things, that are less useful, that can be sold to make more space, not to mention about 500 excess craft books…

And it would be useful now to make some more money, as well as space. I’ve had a breather after closing down the shop, which was longer than intended thanks to bits of Boscombe Clock Tower falling through the roof of the Royal Parade, forcing the cancellation of last month’s Market. I’ve meant to do a couple of car boot sales, but other things have taken priority; sadly those other things (my father-in-law’s terminal illness in another country, Olympic tickets and 3 birthdays) have cost us quite a lot of money and I need to cut unnecessary spending hard and top the family coffers back up next month. So hold onto your seat belts for a month of making do & mending, foraging, freezer-emptying, inexpensive home-grown fun & generally wringing every ounce of value out of each & every penny!

Long time no see…

July 15, 2012

I know it’s been a whole month since I posted, but I’m not referring to that – it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to see quite so much of our floor! I’ve been busy, very busy, decluttering like mad. It’s needed doing for a very long time, and bringing all the shop & market stock back here tipped it from something that really needed doing, to something acute – if I didn’t do it, I was going to go under mentally, or break my neck tripping over a pile of something. There are still a few piles hanging around, waiting for new homes, but I reckon I’ve reduced the rubble by something like three-quarters over the last four weeks. Some things have been sold on, although the last vintage market was cancelled, but most have been given away, either to charity or on Freecycle/Freegle, and some even dumped.

It’s interesting that now the kids are older (youngest now rising 17) the resistance to change has diminished. When they were younger, they’d complain about the mess, but often actively derail my attempts to actually do anything about it. But now, they’re helping me clear & deep-clean, and are full of ideas as to how we might redecorate & reorganise; we may not always see eye-to-eye about this, but it feels like a huge step forwards. I think I’ve been too easily discouraged in the past; there was a point about two weeks ago, when I seemed to have been working flat out for two weeks but it didn’t look any different. At that point, I nearly went under & gave up, but thanks to an inspirational thread over on MSE, and having a bit more time on my hands, I kept going this time and now it’s really beginning to look like the home that I’ve always wanted to live in.

Some of the things I’m parting with I’m very sad to see go, but I have to face the fact that one lifetime is too short to do everything I’d like to do & learn everything I’d like to learn, and one household, shared with 6 other people, isn’t big enough for 2 treadle sewing machines and 9 spinning wheels. And I was spending too much time looking after things, or indeed looking for things, to actually achieve very much at all!

But some of my attempts to reduce my hoards have been blind alleys… this morning, I emptied & cleaned the fridge. I’d decided that some of my beloved cultures had to go, too – one of my “endearing eccentricities” as DD1 calls them, is a belief that we in the West don’t eat or drink nearly enough traditionally-preserved or cultured foods, or a wide enough variety of foodstuffs, for optimum health – but I failed miserably! I’d just about brought myself to the point of pouring the milk-Kefir down the sink when DD1 announced that she loved the stuff & would take over responsibility for it. The Kefir a l’uovo smelt gorgeous, so that got refreshed too, and the ginger-beer Kefir is a household staple, much loved & drunk daily by several of us. The sourdough starter’s in regular use & I have some Kimchi virtually every day; that only left the Kombucha, where I’ve had first my old SCOBY, then a newly-bought one, die on me in short order for no apparent reason. So I’d made up my mind that I’d stop making that, but I came across a bottle at the back of the fridge, and I’d forgotten just how lovely it tastes! Oh dear, there’s no hope for me, is there?! But the small amount of work & space involved in looking after my “fridge-pets” pales into insignificance beside the complex, healthy & above all, delicious tastes they reward me with, for almost no money. However, the four half-empty jars of mayonnaise, several “stubs” of home-made jam and three bottles of tomato ketchup did get rationalised…

One positive thing that has emerged from the chaos; I’d forgotten just how nice some of the things I’d accumulated were, even if it’s no longer appropriate for me to hang onto them. Below is a pic of one little beauty that I rescued, looking very sad & with bits hanging off her, from a street market about 18 months ago. A bit of elbow-grease & know-how returned her to working order & decent appearance quite quickly & she’s on Ebay now. She’s not a practical wheel to spin on for any length of time, unless you have tiny feet & a lot of patience, and want very fine yarn, but isn’t she pretty?!