What Matters…

Pretty Nostalgic is one of my favourite magazines, and I love it so much that I can’t read an issue in one sitting. It only comes out every other month, which I actually really love – I would so much rather read one really good issue less frequently, than have a poorer issue more often. The quality of the writing and articles is really good, and they catch my interest. Added to that the great design, the gorgeous heavy matte paper they print it on – and it really is a delight of a magazine.

Issue 8 was no exception – I still haven’t got quite to the end of it, but am savouring it slowly, and have loved what I have read so far. They have started the ‘Pretty Nostalgic Pledge’ which reads ‘Spend Wisely…Waste Less…Appreciate More’ – wise words to live by, indeed.

But it was an article about Josephine Tey which has really given me much to think about this month. As soon as I saw her name, my interest was peaked, as I read a fictional murder mystery featuring Josephine Tey, who was a real-life mystery author. A moment later, I spotted that the article was by Nicola Upson, who wrote that very book – and so I refilled my teacup, and read on.

As interesting as it was to learn a bit more about her writing, and Josephine Tey, it was this passage which interested me:

“My partner, Mandy, had a friend called Irene who died recently, a few days short of her 100th birthday. Mandy and I would often visit her at her Plantagenet cottage where she’d lived since she got married in 1935. Irene was an amazing woman who told remarkable stories, and her home was full of everything that had mattered to her over those long years, so being with her was like walking straight into the world I write about…”

…her home was full of everything that had mattered to her… – that is what got me thinking. I have been thinking about decluttering recently, and have been starting to work through the Brocante Home Trash It or Treasure It programme – but I haven’t really got very far so far. But that phrase, those words…if someone walked into my home now, would they see the things that mattered to me? I am lucky enough to have a lot of things that do matter to me, but equally, there are magazines that I have read, and wouldn’t miss if I gave them away or recycled them. Gifts where the intention was more precious perhaps than the physical expression of it. Books that I have read, but is time to set free. If someone was to walk in and think that all of what they could see were the things that mattered most to me…well what would that say?

And so, inspired by that, and a dose of Little House on the Prairie (how I long to live in a log cabin sometimes!) I decided it was time to stop thinking, and just start. And whilst there would be a good argument for starting with the most cluttered area, instead, I decided to start with one of the more neglected areas – our airing cupboard. I have just come back from a trip to the charity shop where I have donated two sets of really good towels, a bedding set, several aprons, and a few other bits and bobs. The truth was, lucky though I was to have lots of really nice towels, I don’t need four different sets. And somehow, by having less, it feels like having more. The airing cupboard is now a lot less full, and it is easy to see what we have got, and to get to it. Knowing that someone else is going to get use out of the things we have given away feels good, too. And the things that are left – well, it sounds silly to say ‘the towels matter’ – but they do. One set is a very good set which Mum bought for us when we moved in together. She works in a shop which sells them, and as she gets a staff discount, we were able to have something much nicer than we would otherwise have been able to afford. And there is something about feeling like you are getting a hug from your Mum when you use a towel that she gave you, and you remember using the same kind of towels at home.

Rather than hunting for wherever the clean tea-towels ended up, they are neatly stacked all together. I have put the duvet cover, sheet, and pillow case from our other bedding set into the remaining pillowcase, so it is all neatly kept together.

A curious thought, that less feels more abundant than more. But perhaps having more than you need, can actually be quite draining on the soul?

I have a long way to go, I know. I want this to be a very thorough process, and that will take time. I want to do it all at once, but I don’t have the luxury of the time all in one block to do it. So I am going to try and satisfy myself with doing bit by bit, drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf, but doing it really well. Setting things free to find new homes. Making space in my life to appreciate what we have, and hopefully to make space in our lives for new adventures.

So, looking around, is what you see what matters to you? Or like me, are those things being drowned out slightly by other things, things it is time to set free?

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