posted on: Tuesday, 1 October 2013

So encumbered have I become by my own belongings, I secretly fantasise about emptying my entire house of possessions and ditching half of them. I rather shame-facedly admit that; for in this age of constant acquisition of 'stuff' I have to come clean that I have too much. I bought too much. There, I said it. So what follows is a relentless trawl through every room, every shelf, every cupboard, every nook and cranny (what is a nook and cranny?!) to clear it of clutter. I like this process. I want to look at each item and think, in the words of William Morris: is it beautiful and is it useful?

This is long overdue - for years I have flirted with a full scale de-clutter; I have shirked around the edges of it, always overtaken by events, by work, by having something else to do. And in the meantime the house keeps filling and filling; an overrun tap of donations and purchases that we don't need! So ironically it started with the prospect of having more space - as we extend our house - I could simply just continue to fill it. But the thought of that is no good, so instead I am culling. Unless I love it; it goes.

via crush cul de sac
The slight exception are clothes. So I admit (I really am in a confessional here: forgive me I have sinned) I sometimes covet and buy too many clothes. And shoes. I am a perfection hunter when it comes to shopping, so I scour around, the web is like a playground to me, always looking for that ideal item. Usually incarnations of the classic, elegant wardrobe piece - the right knit (I have found some of that in gorgeous cashmere form here), the right brogue, the right heel, the right buttons, the right belt, and so it goes. Don't even get me started on the right boot. ;-) Can't help myself and I was ever thus.

I am also fiercely brand-loyal and whilst I don't exactly follow fashion per se, I do follow the new season offerings from my favourite brands. All of this adds up to a Louise-who-is-in-danger-of-having-too-much. I have taken a really hard look at all of my clothes (with the exception of items that fall into the 'saving for Boo' category; evening dresses for example) and have GOT RID. Re-jigged, repaired, dry cleaned. And what I am left with, in some kind of back-to-school readiness is a new wardrobe. Love that feeling.

Meanwhile, I have also been repainting rooms. We've knocked through to next door, the walls have been made good and last week I tackled a room with white paint. Top to bottom. There is not much more cleansing than white-washing a room. Particularly in such an old house as ours, where the walls have layers and layers and you feel in an empty room the presence of previous owners. Some parts of the house are hundreds of years old, and if I let myself think too much about it, I can get freaked out at how people have lived and died here. I am told the cottages that now make up our house stood derelict for some time. There were four, then there were two and now we have made it all one. Walking from one end of the house to the other feels like quite a luxury and I realise what a thin veneer of wall separated us from our tenants until now. It's funny; when you scrape back the surface of houses, and see what's underneath, it always surprises me.

So that's how it is right now - refreshed and re-started.

via la tartine gourmonde


  1. Oh i could have written this post particularly in relation to de cluttering and your shopping habits it was like looking in a mirror maybe that is why I love your blog so much. Let me know how the de cluttering goes it may be the kick I need to do same.

    Extending the house is so exciting and I think it is so wonderful to live in a house so full of character.

  2. What is it about all this stuff. I go through fits and donate, throw out and give away so much. Then there are things I just cannot part with ~ sometimes it just takes time. I find hubby is somewhat of a hoarder and hates to take the time to go through things and throw things out ~ what do I do with a boy like that! There is a happy medium between cluttered and stark ~ I like to call it cozy. xo

  3. De-cluttering is one of my favorite things to do.

  4. Love a de-clutter myself too. Taking bags to the thrift store has become a new favourite thing to do. Moving countries helps! So many trips to the 'dump' with 'stuff' that had been cluttering spare rooms, attic, storage for too long. I'm trying to stop the 'what if I need it one day' mentality and just get rid. Feels good.

  5. Dear Lou,

    I can relate to what you wrote about gathering too much.
    Can you recommend a good brand for cashmere?

    Kind regards,

    1. Hi there - I really like Catherine Robinson Cashmere - some lovely wraps that I can vouch for are the real deal! L x

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Dear Lou,
      Thank you. I will have a look.
      Have a lovely day! M xx

  6. I was the same Lou. When I moved to Spain I became ruthless with my purging. I told my husband I would need time to "grieve" for the things I shed. So everyone waited with bated breath for the grieving period to begin, and it never did. I couldn't even remember 95% of what I shed once it had left my house ;-)
    Continue enjoying being a "corporate refugee" ;-) x

  7. Lou,

    I always enjoy reading your blog, your writing warms my soul and reading your posts makes me feel similar to when i sit in front of a fire with a warm cup of coffee! Unusual comparison i know! Anyway i wanted to comment because, although i know you dont share personal photos, i wondered if you would be willing to share photos of the house transformation? I am SO intrigued!

    Keep up the darling writing!

    K x x

  8. Really enjoyed this post - I have just started a major declutter - started with the study and next up the kitchen.
    Have you read 'The Joy of Less'? I am just reading it again, you can skim quite a bit but it really resonated with me - in fact after I finished reading it I went into each room and ended up with at least 20 things to send to my friends stall!
    I lent it to a friend and next time I visited loads of things had gone - when I asked what happened she said "It's the joy of less!" Haha!
    CATHARTIC!! Keep writing in your lovely way, XX