You can’t have action without reaction…

My Grandad and Dad used to say these words.

The last few months have been a deep dive into sorting, sifting and clearing Dad’s workshops and hidey holes and upon returning home I looked at my place with fresh eyes and felt compelled to have a clear out.

If asked, I would have said that I travel light in life, yet the evidence I found told a different story. A collection of glass beads and accessories from a small business where I used to do children’s birthday parties. We all made things together and then the little ones had something creative to take home with them. That was nearly twenty years ago. A huge basket of canvasses, acrylic paints, inks and brushes. I haven’t painted for over ten years, as I used to do it with my daughter when she lived at home. Storage boxes filled with upholstery tools, materials, wadding, webbing and studs were stacked under the stairs. I have not done anything along this line for over six years. I uncovered a stash of yarns with a collection of knitting patterns and needles. All tucked away and taking up space on a ‘What if…’ energy.

Everything came under scrutiny.

For a few weeks, there has been chaos in every room and the garden, as things were examined, sorted, some pieces of furniture were repainted in pretty colours and a lot of stuff was gifted on. Anything not useful to loved ones and neighbours was listed for free on Facebook Marketplace and I have met some lovely souls who can now use the things that were gathering dust beforehand. I am grateful that our village post office has re-opened after several years of closure and I don’t have to lug parcels up over the hill and into a nearby community to post them. During the UK lockdowns, delivery drivers have become friends and they have laughed as they dropped off tins of paint and in one case, a bag of quick setting concrete, so I could mend the coving on top of my garden wall.

In one moment, tears were pouring down my face as I held some tools my Great Granny used in my hands. I heard her clearly say ‘I am not in things, my love. I am all around.’ I gifted the tools on and have chosen to keep the pieces that were embroidered, knitted and sewn by my Great Granny, Grannies and Mum. Those are irreplaceable.

My home is now clear, clean and re-vamped and gifts a wonderful feeling of space.

I chose not to talk about the upset in the clearing of Dad’s workshops, as I feel that in talking about things we create stories that we then carry with us and I wanted to clear clutter, from within and without. I chose to carry one story with me (already shared in my monthly newsletter) and I will share it again here.

The chap who bought Dad’s beautifully engineered and built Shay steam locomotive.  He had already bought a steam roller that Dad built at the beginning of last year and it was a private sale through a broker, so the buyer was unknown. The steam world is a small one and I overheard one of the engineers involved in the last few months say his name. I tentatively reached out to him online and he talked to Mum and me over the phone. On the day he came up to look at the Shay and subsequently buy her, our connection became a bond. We looked over the loco and gently inspected the parts we could unbolt and reveal and as he’s a soul whose energy is calm and caring, I found myself relaxing. He has taken hours to flow care into his steam roller and has gained a knowledge of how Dad’s creative mind worked and as we worked together on the Shay I learned much. He created a loving bubble within the upset, exhaustion and overwhelm. Space where I could witness and appreciate Dad’s skill and expertise. He had recently experienced an overwhelming clearing after a loved one had passed on and he understood. I felt ‘seen’ and understood. We worked, chatted, Mum fed us with yummy food and we loaded the Shay onto his van. His gift of friendship and understanding continues and this story flows forward as both sister engines nestle side by side in his workshop.  

I now have space in my home to craft new stories.

64 thoughts on “You can’t have action without reaction…”

  1. Kudos Jane on clearing more space to enjoy, relax, and create. I thrive in simple, light spaces and it seems you do too. And how wonderful that you met a caring soul to buy your dad’s train and bring you some relief and understanding. 💞

    1. Thank you, Brad. I have been off the grid, but I did read and appreciate your dating post. It takes courage to step back into that arena and I admire your take on it and how you are handling it. I hope it is flowing well for you and you get to dance. <3

  2. petespringerauthor

    It must feel great to have your dad’s steam locomotive in the hands of someone who will appreciate and take care of it properly.

    Going through a loved one’s belongings is quite the experience. When my mother-in-law moved into an assisted living situation after having a fulltime caregiver for five years, we went through her stuff as we rented her house out to help pay for her care. It was hard because this was over ninety years of accumulated memories.

    1. Hello Pete, that must have been so hard for you both to do. Sometimes words don’t seem adequate do they? I do hope your Mum-in-law settled well in her new accomodation?

      Tim sends me pictures and messages about the things he’s doing with both steam engines and that is a comfort.

      Hugs to you both and your loved ones. Xx

  3. I commend you for being able to face your need to clear the clutter from your home and just keep the things that are the most useful or meaningful to you. I need to do the same, but I haven’t been able to face it yet.

    1. Hello Liz, it’s so hard to make a start isn’t it? Or to know where to start. Dad’s needed a deep dive and I had my Mum’s best interests at heart, so I carried on that momentum when I got home. If I’d left it for a time, I may not have got started on mine. Much <3 flowing to you. Xx

        1. I think you know what works best for you. I am sorting and sharing photographs now and am best tackling that by nibbling at the edges of the whole task! Good luck, Liz. <3

    1. Yes, Ian, there is so much feeling attached to them. You place your hand on something and the pocket it has been nestling in opens up and everything is there waiting for you, as if you never left. Strange how our minds work. Much <3 to you both. Xx

  4. what a great feeling it must have been to clean out your house. and how wonderful that the Shay is now in the hands of someone who will also appreciate it and the work your Dad put into it…

  5. What a beautiful and tender post, Jane. I’m also glad the locomotive went to another caring owner, and I love the concept of “What if” energy. 🙂 There’s a lot of that around my place. 🙂 It’s both hard and nostalgic going through belongings of a loved one who passed. Sending hugs your way and thanks for sharing. xoxo

  6. Well done, Jane! The feeling of relief that the task is done and pleasure in the space created must be wonderful! I am glad you have continued to keep in touch with Tim. I’m sure that must help with the trauma and exhaustion caused by the vast job of clearing your Dad’s things. Knowing that a couple of the things that were so close to your Dad’s heart are being loved and appreciated by such a gentle and kind man must make the ‘letting go’ process easier.
    Take care, my dear friend xxXXxx Love and hugs <3 <3 <3

  7. Jane, just reading your words brought a soothing grace wrapped in gratitude. A precious honouring of abiding love and transition. Blessings to you across the miles. xo

    1. You are so kind, Toni. Thank you. I am thrilled for you as ‘Brody Cody and The Haunted House’ receives great reviews. Much love flowing to you and yours. <3 Xx

  8. That’s a lot of work, Jane, and I know how emotional it is besides physical. Sound like you have been successful in more than one way. Happy writing and please please continue blogging, my friend! <3

  9. Beautifully written Jane…. De-cluttering so good for the soul… Wish some one would tell my hubby that lol… but I live in hope lol…. 🙂
    When we empty our spaces we allow room for something else…. And I think dear Jane, you my friend are allowing LOVE to enter every new space cleared.. 🙂

    I have used up two carrier bags full of yarn left overs from knitting projects… I made a blanket throw… Its satisfying giving things away and knowing others will make good use of them…

    Sending Huge hugs my friend.. lots of love your way dear Jane.. and thank you for those warm hugs… We both appreciated them.. <3 🙂

    1. My heart is full of gratitude for you, dearest Sue and it is always good to hear from you.

      I have your beautiful butterfly painting beside me as I create. 🦋🥰

      The space does feel full of love. 💕

      I bet your blanket looks lovely. Xxx Where would we be without nature, our gardens, creativity and our handcrafts? 🌹

      Here’s to the loving energy we all share together. Many more hugs with much love to you both, my lovely friend. Knitting a new way stitch by stitch. Xxxxxxx ❤️😘✨❤️

      1. Indeed… it is all about Creation…. Not destruction…. And yes my blanket is bright and colourful…. Will share I think in my next post along with a poem… Because the muse came while crocheting.. 😉

        A row of potatoes in today…. And lots of work on the plot got done today Jane… Spring has Sprung… 🙂
        Lots of love and we keep weaving one stitch, one word, one person, at a time 😉 <3 Mega Hugs <3

        1. <3 Dearest Sue, I look forward to seeing pictures of your blanket and yay, for the potatoes being in the ground. Spring is springing. <3 Xxxx <3 Huge hugs flowing back to you both. <3 Xxx <3

  10. A feeling of peace restored, Jane. That’s a wonderful collection of ‘bits and bobs’ you had at your disposal. Gone to good homes 🙂 🙂

      1. Isn’t that what the blog world is all about, Jane? Here we are still a little restricted but searching for normal. We just walked with 2 good friends and enjoyed takeaway at ours. Simple pleasures. 🤗💕

        1. Our global village brings so many gifts, yes. I have been blessed to meet some of our blogging friends in person. Much gratitude for simple pleasures as well. <3

  11. I am sorry to hear about your father, Jane. It doesn’t get easier losing a parent as you age, it is just as hard. I am glad you have been able to do the clear out and make space to enjoy your hobbies.

  12. You always attract the right people Jane. I’m so proud of you on your ‘clearing’ journey. This same journey has been begging for my attention as I feel I’m drowning in endless clutter, that at this point in time I have neither the time or the desire to deal with. I imagine I’ll ‘get there’ eventually. Yay for you. What a relief it must all feel. <3 Hugs and love your way. xoxoxo

    1. I hold you both in my heart, thoughts and prayers. You have your hands full, my love and I am so touched that you have taken the time to read and leave your lovely comment here. I know you can feel the loving energy from us all and it is always there for you. <3 Xx <3 <3

  13. A lovely post Jane and how wonderful that you have connected with someone who appreciated your father’s skill and passion and will treasure his work. We really need to do our own declutter and I have similar reminders of passed projects in drawers and cupboards. We survived for the first six months in this house when we did the renovations with two plates, knives, mugs etc and the basic necessities until our belongings and furniture arrived.. just goes to show how well you can cope with so little..will share on Wednesday in the blogger daily. ♥

    1. Thank you, Sally, for your kind thoughts and for sharing. It is wonderful to see Dad’s engines in Tim’s workshop and he thoughtfully shares updates, photos and videos. I discovered that de-cluttering is not easy to do and yes, we can live simply. I had a conversation with my Mum yesterday as she was asking about a hall stand I made for them years ago. She only needs her walking stick in her new home and that can hang on a hook, so the stand is redundant. I suggested we gifted it on and her reply was ‘Oh, but you made it’. I said ‘I love you, Mum and you can gift it on.’ We can get buried underneath all this stuff can’t we? Xxxx <3

          1. Chuckling over here….bit like my leather mini skirt from the eighties. No, I hate to disappoint, but I certainly don’t have that anymore! It would barely cover one of my thighs now… <3

  14. Wow. My heart goes out to you and your mother regarding your dad’s recent death. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I am deeply impressed by your willingness and ability to clear out stuff. I tend to hang onto stuff which then takes up “space on a ‘What if…’ energy.” It IS reassuring to be reminded that there are other people who may want/need/enjoy some of the stuff we need to let go of… Thank you for this inspiring past — as well as the great comments it has elicited!

    1. You are lovely, Will. Thank you for your kindness and support. As you say, deep breath in, deep breath out. The chap who has gifted us such an understanding connection shared a saying of Fred Dibnah’s with me the other day, ‘Just keep bashing a bit off’.. Fred trained as a steeplejack and then joked that instead of preserving all the old industrial chimneys he spent most of his life knocking them down. So Will, we’ll keep breathing and bashing a bit off. Hugs and much love to you. Xxx ❤️

  15. It is lovely that you have found a fellow enthusiast for your fathers beloved locamotives, Jane and clearing out is therapuetic I find…we did much when we moved here so I tend (apart) from my kitchen..sigh… keep things to a bare minimum and just recently that 4th bedroom has been cleared as my grandson wanted a room of his own…Space seems to ellicit a feeling of peace and I sense that in your writing, Jane…x

    1. Thank you, Carol, for taking the time to visit and leave your kind thoughts. I am not surprised it is hard to reduce your kitchen things, as that always comes across as your happy place. <3 Xx

It is always lovely to hear from you:

%d bloggers like this: