One of the lessons I have taken from the immense bravery of my mother as she has moved, at the age of 81, into a much smaller home, is giving oneself permission to change.
She has had the courage to let go of so many things she has lovingly collected over the years. She has shed most of the possessions which defined who she is. She has scraped down her protective shell of "stuff" to the essentials.
I admire her so much.
Yes – even as I am taping up the fifty-second box of china (and you think I'm joking), I am amazed that she is letting go and moving on.
It is not painless. She says that she was sorry to see all her lovely woollen skirts and cardigans go. But she didn't have room for them, and somebody else will take pleasure in wearing them. She loved that china, but it's time to let it go. Somebody else will love her coffee cups, her plates, her china swans.
She has given herself permission to change her style of living.
I came home, thinking that this is yet another area in which I can learn from her.
My own style of living is not what I want.
I live with clutter because I have too many things. When I stay in hotel rooms, with the minimum of kit, the room stays tidy. At home, everything is a mess.
At home I cannot have a place for everything and everything in its place, because there is too much everything and too few places.
I must give myself permission to let things go: especially those things I do not love.
I have probably written about the Marie Kondo method of tidying and clutter-clearing. She echoes William Morris in his statement, "Keep nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." She rephrases it as, keep nothing which does not "Spark joy" in you.
Anything in your home, or indeed in your life, which produces feelings of guilt or despair or distaste, you can let go.
The clothes in your wardrobe you never wear, but couldn't throw out because you paid good money for them and one day they will fit/come back into fashion/stop itching? They don't make you feel good, so let them go. The spices in your kitchen which berate you for having used them only once in that exotic dish that no-one much liked? Let them go. The books you will never read again, the games you will never play, that little table you always trip over? Let them all go.
Breathe in the space and freedom their absence brings. You are creating space; you are letting light into your life and home.
Just as you would clear a tangled garden, you are clearing your life.
And into that space and light, you can plant beauty and joy.
My mother is happy in her new home.
She always knows best.
A Moodscope member.