|Love In Every Stitch...|
Over the past month, I've been following a reality TV program called Back in Time For The Weekend. The brave Ashby-Hawkins family spent last year living for a week in each of the last decades of the Twentieth Century. From the post-Second World War deprivations almost up to the present day, they've learned what it was like to live as a family in changing times.
One of the most interesting facts brought home to them was the explosion in the amount of "stuff" we all accumulate. In the Nineteen Forties and Fifties, the UK was on its knees. Food was rationed. There was no money to spare, but that hardly mattered as the shops were practically empty. Presents were often hand-made. Repair, re-use and recycle were habits, long before they became Green watchwords.
These days, all our homes are so stuffed with electronic gadgets, fitness equipment and leisure goods, cars are parked on the street so garages can be used as storage space. Canny people are making a fortune by providing secure units excess items owned by people who can't bear to throw anything away.
All that really struck a chord with me. Tottering Towers is totally stuffed with...well, stuff. Ninety percent of my housework time is spent shuffling things from place to place. Back in Time For The Weekend showcased one method of dealing with it. Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying brings tough love to the closet.
Marie is a great believer in only keeping those things which create a spark of joy within you. It follows that, the less you have, the easier it is to keep your house tidy. That's the theory, but it means unless something is either beautiful or useful, it has to go. For a start, every piece of clothing you've been meaning to mend, update, or wear again once you lose weight must go straight to the charity shop. Be honest—when are you going to have time or willpower to do anything with it all? I asked myself that question. Within two hours, I filled four sacks of clothes weighing nearly seventy pounds in total! You could almost hear the foundations of Tottering Towers sigh with relief.
Then spring cleaning fever really took hold. It was hard, especially when I came across a trunk of baby clothes. My smallest baby is now sixteen years old! As Tom Lehrer sang, "Sentiment will not endear it..." so nearly all of it had to go, although I confess to keeping their christening robes, and two little outfits I'd made for them. I'm not a natural knitter, so remembering the time, tears and effort it took me to create such sweet and delicate garments is a boost to my ego, as well as a keepsake. I'm thinking of having them framed!
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In Heart Of A Hostage, my latest book for The Wild Rose Press, a disaster means Maia has to stop living like a princess and face real life. She copes by spring cleaning the castle where she's being held hostage. I don't believe domestic engineering is solely women's work, but scruffy, threadbare surroundings suck all the joy from life. Maia beats the men at their own game by proving she can rise to any occasion. I'm hoping a rigorous clear-out of my office inspires me to do the same!
Are you a hoarder? Or can you dispense with things the second they've served their purpose?
When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. You can catch up with her at http://www.christinahollis.blogspot.com, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at christinahollis.com
Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at myBook.to/HeartOfAHostage worldwide, and from http://bit.ly/1iNf2Gw in the US.