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Stuff and Stories

geometry order chaos

I was chatting with a dear friend and we were talking about decluttering. She stood with her sister as they faced the things from their Dad's life, and felt that we have a gap in grief support when we are unable to decide what to do with things left by a loved one. She and her sister needed someone to help, to give them ideas on what to do, and how to repurpose some things and at times to kindly take things from their hands and quietly deal with them. She asked if I had ever considered doing that.

Five years ago, circumstances meant I needed flexibility, so I could be there as and when my family needed me, so I started offering a house cleaning service. Organically, the cleaning soon led to de-cluttering, and as I decluttered and cleaned, I would listen to people's stories.

Our stuff is intrinsically linked with our stories.

The stuff and stories we accumulate can be gradual or sometimes attached to a sharp event. The stuff becomes a physical weight we carry through life, and the stories are the emotional weight. We may yearn to move into the future and start something new, yet the same scenarios and situations appear on repeat because we are held by stuff and stories that do not serve us. As stuff and stories became heavier, we get slower and can even stop altogether.

Given I flow with people in grief in my daily round and have moved home many times, I thought I could handle my stuff and stories. I was wrong.

The decluttering in our home has been ongoing since we moved a year and a half ago. We had made a pact not to put anything up in the loft and to be mindful of what we kept. We still had a lot of storage bags under our bed and in cupboards and drawers since our move, and they needed tackling. Everything was pulled out and the box and files were placed on our bedroom shelves, ready to tackle in stages. It was a delight and hugely satisfying to vacuum under the bed. I was going great guns until I found a box of 'treasures' I have carried for years. They have been to Africa and back, and to countless places and home moves in the UK. As I opened the box, I froze. All I could do was place them in another box under our dressing table and have a ponder. My dear friend's words came back to me.

I messaged her and her reply was, 'Step by step, my love.'

The first step was finding a few pieces that weren't my treasures to keep, so I wrapped them in tissue paper and sent them on to whom they belonged.

Late Saturday afternoon, Tim and I returned home and I was braced to tackle the next stage, only to get stuck within minutes. I put my hand on a piece of paper with a poem Tim had written for me and I went to find him. One look at my face, and he stopped what he was doing, saying,

'I'll come with you and we'll do it together.'

Side by side, we sat on the bed and worked our way through the items, making choices. There was so much I needed to let go of and at times he held me while I shed a few tears. We got it done.

I kept the poem. 🌹

At the recycling centre, I had to make an effort to get out of the van, and we carried the bags across to the unit and left them there. Another bag is ready to go to the charity shop.

I have been writing my stories over the last decade and each time I feel the need to re-tell a memory from the past to someone, I pause. Most memories are best left back in the past, as they have nothing new to teach and in the re-telling, they are fresh again, which helps no one.

As with life, the stuff and stories audit is a work in progress. I trust and am grateful that help is there when I need it, and I hope it is there for you all when faced with this trickiest of tasks. Please ask for help, if you need it.

May we all feel lighter, as we move forward, creating anew, unencumbered by the weight of past stuff and stories.


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Sue Dreamwalker
Sue Dreamwalker
Jul 03
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Dear Jane.... Step by step is often the only way forward... And reading your post my friend, I would say that you are placing each of those new steps, exactly where they should go... As you and Tim forge your New Life together as you both let go of Stuff and Stories.. Lots of Love.. Sue Dreamwalker xx

Jane Sturgeon
Jane Sturgeon
Jul 04
Replying to

Hello lovely Sue, thank you, and yes, we feel better with each step. Much love to you and B, always with hugs, Jane & Tim xXx 🩷


Jane Sturgeon
Jane Sturgeon
Jun 24
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Hello our lovely UB, thank you for your kind thoughts. On WP we all had an avatar, so we were easily recognised. On a website, we aren't! Unless you sign up as a member of my site, and then you'll be recognised, but it does need logging in each time or staying logged in. Such fun! Sending you much love and many hugs, our lovely. xXx I appreciate your support. Xx 🩷🦄🩷


Jun 23

So beautiful Jane. I know those purges can be painful. but also freeing. I'm so glad you both found each other. Love and hugs my UB. I'm sorry I can only sign in as a guest here and must identify myself. 😍💑🦄💗💜

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