Paring Life Down ... The Bare Necessities


Over the past few months our life has been pared down to bare necessities.  No curtains or blinds at the windows; no carpets or rugs on the floor; no pictures on the walls; no ornaments or nick-nacks for decoration.  Just four bare walls and somewhere to sit in the evenings.  You sort of get used to it. 

Everything that was in the room has been packed and stacked  - minimal living, though not by choice.   Now that all the restoration work is almost complete we are beginning to try and get some sort of order back in our lives. But it does make you wonder just how much 'stuff' you actually need to live a comfortable life.

We have not really needed anything that has been packed away.  The question now, is, as we gradually unpack the boxes - is it worth filling all the cupboards and shelves with the things we haven't really missed, should we just keep the useful and beautiful and get rid of the rest.  I am opting for the latter - whether I can do it or not is another matter.

We have begun to hang the pictures and already it feels different.  A vase of flowers on the mantle; new shades on the lamps (the others were water damaged, in fact, everything was water damaged) and already it is beginning to feel more like home.  With the window blinds re-hung it is sounding less echoey in the main room and the replacement carpets and curtains will be the finishing touch.

So this will be my last post on the subject.  Thank you for bearing with me during this period of unrest in my life - I wouldn't wish a flooded house on anyone - it turns your life upsidedown.  Yesterday two men turned up to replace the windows where water had soaked through the double glazing and for some reason we were inordinately happy about this - it's the little things that keep you going.  In the big scheme of things it wasn't life-threatening or anything - it was just stuff that was damaged and that can all be replaced - but I wouldn't want to go through it all again - no siree bob!

From this ~


This is the culprit that started it all whilst we were away.
The radiator was only two years old!
You can see the tide mark of the water level in the bedroom.
 


This is what we found on our return
water still dripping through the ceiling
 


Ceiling removed
driers installed
 


Plaster removed from  walls to speed up the drying process and ceiling replaced
To This ~



I have written this post as an aide memoir so that in years to come husband and I can look back and say  "remember when we had the flood - what a nightmare".

Elaine


Comments

  1. It takes strength of character to get through something like this Elaine and you've made it. I'd agree we need less stuff. I'm on a minimalist thing at the moment, having this week taken two huge boxes of no longer needed business clothes down to the British Heart Foundation. Hard to do, but now it's done it gives me a great feeling of relief.. and all that extra space!

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    1. I wouldn't say I had strength of character in the beginning - I just crumpled - I think it was the shock, but as time goes on you become more accepting and realise that little by little, job by job, you will get there. The company that undertook all the renovations have been excellent, keeping us informed every step of the way, and doing the tasks when they said they would - full marks to them.

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  2. Pffft, terrible...glad it's finished now. But I can imagine after months of 'poverty'in your house you are thinking about minimalizing the interior. Difficulty is I suppose, what to do with all the things with dear memories. I know I should put all things back in the house.....
    Wish you good luck and never again such a disaster!

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    1. So am I Janneke, so am I. It's funny how you get used to things isn't it. The worst thing is not being able to keep anywhere clean, the dust has been a problem - it settles and leaves a coating on everything. The whole house will need a good spring cleaning when it is all over. Thank you for your kind wishes.

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  3. Glad you are nearly back to normal! With stuff or without stuff, whatever you decide... it will be so lovely to relax in your home.

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    1. Thank you Marcie - I will definitely be going through everything and having a good sort out - you realise when you have to keep moving everything about just what a burden possessions are.

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  4. What a nightmare you have endured! Most people who experience flooding have water arriving from the opposite direction - i.e. from the ground upwards! Hope you don't decide to throw too much away. You would probably regret it in a year or two.

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    1. I can honestly say it has been one of the worst period of my life - but we have survived - yes, it could have been a lot worse. The team that looked after us have worked miracles, cheerfully and efficiently - they have to deal with this sort of thing every day and told us stories of people with much bigger problems than ours - it puts everything into perspective I guess.

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  5. Order returns. I went minimalist three years ago and made many journeys to different charity shops or simply gave things away to a young friend just starting out in life. I feel better in the knowledge that I have dealt with it myself and not left it for someone else to do one day. It brought great peace of mind to me and relief, like Rusty Duck said.

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    1. It has been hard for me, as by nature I am a tidy person who hates change - I have seen enough change in the last few months to last me a lifetime :)

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  6. Wonderful yellow roses. Having a minimalist decor can look beautiful. I love to see it but I can never manage it! It's so lovely to have the bad times behind you and now you can move forward!

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    1. The camera lied Sandra - the roses are actually cream coloured, they smell divine - a gift from my friend. I am just hoping that I can keep the minimal look while at the same time having a cosy and comfortable room. Definitely, bad times behind and looking forward to a brighter future.

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  7. Oh Elaine, how horrible it looked. I am so happy you have gotten back to normal. As you know, I've been letting go of things and only miss a few. I went into the store the other day, the ladies that made a killing on all my stuff, and wanted some of it back. My sister told me to stay out of there, but one thing in particular I wish I hadn't sold. Sigh.

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    1. You're right there Donna - it wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't just redecorated the place - all that work ruined. But to be honest, now it looks better than before, so I can't complain :) My stuff isn't as nice as your stuff and I think I would have been sad to get rid of all those lovely antiques, but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough.

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  8. You've waited long for this day -- and I love the choices you're making as you take a closer look at the packed things and ponder. And I'm glad you've some photos to remind you (terrifying as they are -- I cannot imagine coming home to such a disaster). Best wishes, Elaine, for a renewed home.

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    1. Thank you Anne. The whole process took longer than we expected, the room just wouldn't dry out fast enough, with the added complication of asbestos being found in the ceiling, which required specialist removal for health and safety reasons. The photos were taken to send to the insurance company initially, but will be a reminder to be vigilant as far as plumbing is concerned.

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  9. Delighted for you and your husband that the last leg is in sight. Yes, we all have too much stuff, and the older you get the more you realise and question why you got it all.

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    1. Thank you Rosemary. That is the trouble with stuff you just seem to more and more as time goes on. Somewhere along the line you just have to take drastic measures to reduce and cut back to a reasonable level before it becomes a millstone round your neck.

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  10. I'm so pleased that this terrible period for you is nearly over. And it is interesting to think about how much 'stuff' we really need. When we moved at the end of last year a lot of items went straight into storage (the intention being that we would bring them out gradually and find a place for them). But six months later so many items are still there - and I wonder if I really need them anyway.

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    1. Thank you Wendy. We have done without all the items we packed quite easily - there is a moral in that somewhere - out of sight, out of mind. You hear about people keeping stuff in storage lockers, paying a rent for things that are never going to be used. Crazy really.

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  11. How lovely to see the recent photos and to know that your home is once more a relaxing and cosy place to be. As for the excess 'stuff', give yourself time to decide what to do with it - it's all too easy to part with things you might come to miss dreadfully. Especially anything that has a sentimental value . . . My own deep regret was parting with my Mum's treadle sewing machine, the machine which she had used to make most of my clothes and those of her granddaughters.

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    1. I won't be getting rid of anything important Rosie - and I don't really have a lot of things that I keep for sentimental reasons - it is only a small house and storage is limited - I shall just be getting rid of the rubbish stuff that has accumulated.

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  12. So glad you have come through the disruption and are comfortable again,

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    1. Not quite comfortable yet but not quite as uncomfortable.

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  13. Those flowers are just lovely and such a nice shade.

    I am so pleased that you are now able to move forward and get back to normal, putting this dreadful episode to the back of your minds.
    I think you have done so well to come through this situation.
    Onwards and upwards.

    All the best Jan

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    1. They are from my friends garden Jan, they smell divine too. Definitely onwards and upwards now.

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  14. So pleased to hear the end of the turmoil is in sight. I have been getting rid of "Stuff" as well as I clear things to get ready for the painting and new carpet but I hate throwing things away that I have been given or bought on our travels as they hold special memories. This narrows down what can be disposed of.

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    1. I can understand what you are saying Susan it is a difficult job but if I don't do it, when my time is up, someone else will it doesn't seem fair to burden someone else with all my accumulated stuff.

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  15. What a terrible experience; I might have been tempted to just lock the door and go away. Good to hear that you are now back to normal, I can hardly believe that your radiator could burst like that; very strange.

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  16. Friends of mine suffered similarly some years ago so I know what it's like to some extent. As you say I won't wish it on anyone.
    Good luck with getting rid of unwanted things! Flighty xx

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    1. It is a soul destroying experience that I never dreamed I would have to go through that's for sure.

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  17. It's astonishing how water can do that much damage, I wouldn't wish it on anyone either. But oh my....just look at how lovely it now looks, I'm thrilled it's nearly all sorted. I would keep the useful and beautiful, having just decorated the study and kitchen I got rid of a lot of stuff that's just been hanging around. We don't need much really do we, I learnt that on the boat.xxx

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    1. Dina
      I have tried several times to leave a comment on your latest post to no avail. A message comes up saying your page is not secure and that my message is spam - just in case you wondered why I haven't commented. Not sure what's going on - I tried via your contact page and same again.

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  18. Dear Elaine, so glad that you can start feeling at home again!
    Yes - the question of "things". Things we need. things we love - no questions about them. But there are lots of others. Sometimes they are almost stifling the atmosphere - and yet it is difficult to let them go. (I have that problem with clothes - so many, too much, still good and beautiful -- and some of them not missed when I donate them).

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    1. Thanks Britta slowly but surely it is beginning to feel more like home, at last.

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  19. So good Elaine to seeing your home being restored. As you said it is so disruptive to have a disaster of this nature. Sounds to me that you are considering what is necessary and what is not. I know hubby and I have been thinking the same way. Our stuff should never start owning us. Well take care friend. Will be looking forward to seeing more of your lovely gardens. Have a super week. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Debbie. I hate it when belonging become a burden, forever needing sorting and maintaining - but I suspect everyone is guilty of accumulating excess belonging, which we don't really need or use. My garden is a mess at the moment, so much rain has made is grow like mad and then it has flattened it all - I am just leaving it to its own devices at the moment - where has the sunshine gone, come back you're forgiven.

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  20. I'm really shocked to see how a metal radiator could fail like that from the pressure of water alone. It looks as fragile as an eggshell. I'm so glad you can settle back in now and enjoy the rest of the summer. I do hope the rain lets up soon though.

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    1. The plumber who installed it was shocked too - he felt so guilty and blamed himself for all the trouble - the radiator supplier seems to have got away with it. The rain is getting a little tedious now - when and where is summer?

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  21. It is amazing to see what we actually need compared to what we have isn't it. I am glad that everything is physically repaired and that you are back home again. I hope that nothing else like this ever happens to you again!

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  22. I can't believe a radiator could fail so badly after such a short space of time. That is a huge hole no wonder it made is much mess. I am so pleased to hear that you are through to the other side. It is amazing what you don't need isn't it!

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  23. I am so glad that you are near the end of what has been a very trying time for you. While we did not suffer any sort of damage, we did have move everything out to put in new flooring, so as I replaced things I faced the same question. The new floor looked so wonderful, did I really want to put the old stuff back. I, too, a trying to get rid of unused stuff. I saw a list today of things to get rid of: broken, unused, outdated. You home looks fresh and clean--again. Soon you will be enjoying it again.

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