This phrase, handily printed by someone else here, sums up pretty neatly what I want to achieve in 2014. We’ve been de-cluttering our house over the last week – during Christmas our already very small house started to feel even tinier as it filled up with wrapping paper, presents, tins of biscuits, cards, advent calendars, nativity sets…we’re currently squeezing around the table as I wedged the Christmas tree in the only gap in our sitting room, between the table and my desk. There’s nothing like a bit of claustrophobia to bring on a nice de-cluttering marathon. So we did the sensible thing and filled up the car boot and took the excess stuff to Emmaus Village Carlton, managing to pick up only minimal china in their shop for the return journey. (I cannot go there and not buy retro china. It’s a definite compulsion.)
And then we finally came out of our book-owning denial and admitted to ourselves that we do not own a Victorian mansion, nor are we running a library, and therefore cannot justify lining the walls of every room with books. So with heavy hearts, much sadness and quite a few ‘oh wait – not that one, I really might re-read that for the 25th time’-moments, we donated QUITE A LOT of books to the local Oxfam bookshop. We’ve even agreed to give away our biggest bookcase and downsize the book-storage in our sitting room so that we can get a bigger sofa and more than 5 people can sit down at once without having to sit on knees. (Makes for entertaining visiting, but is a bit over-friendly.) I find giving away books the hardest thing. I love having them around, even the ones I might have read once and don’t really intend to read again. Some of them have nice covers. (Shallow – but true! I’ve framed a few books because they double as art.) Some of them I was given, and have my name and date in the front cover, and some of them I read over and over, and sort of regard as old friends. A few I wanted to give away to friends rather than donate, because I airily assume that people will have the taste in books I imagine they will, and so I think they will love them.
So that’s the Have Less bit sorted. Mostly. (There are more books to go. It’s a gradual process.) The Do More section is very exciting though. There are loads of things I want to do this year – too many to list without sounding ridiculously optimistic – but one of them is to go rollerskating more.
I got these for my birthday, in May, and they are woefully underused so far. I’ve been out about 8 times on them, and at on at least two of these occasions I had had some wine, with obvious hilarious consequences. But I love them. I like rollerskating too, and it combines being outside with a better than you’d think workout.
Confusingly, another new years’ resolution is to buy a Bella Freud jumper. Which really, is having more, as well as doing something. I’ll just have to give away lots of jumpers whilst I am waiting to come into quite a lot of money to make that right.