purgapalooza - blow by blow

Monday, February 16, 2009

uh huh ! finest Belgian chocolates & pink tulips

Have nothing in your house
that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris

MLou arrived before 6pm laden (as she is want to do) with Valentine surprises pour moi. A big pot of pink tulips, a collection of my favourite bubbles and scent accoutrement's from the LUSH store in the city, the biggest, baddest giant bag of Starbucks coffee beans that I have ever seen and a red multi layered box of les tres fine Belgian chocolates. Holy Cow ! Spoiling me Rotten • Wait there's more -
A bag of Thai take out for our dinner. Shut Up ! The freshest, most delicious veggie spring rolls, green coconut curry, pad thai, and a medley of vegetables with plenty of fresh ginger with perfect steamed rice • Be still my Asian food lovin' heart • We sat in my dining room near the fire had a perfect dinner and chatted and planned our attack of the clutter which would begin in earnest the next day.

A memento is not a memory
Peter Walsh

A big mug of coffee delivered bedside around 7am to MLou and Oliver, the concierge of Black Street who'd been keeping her good company, in our chocolate brown guest room. More gabbing and chatting and drinking coffee until 9am. The breakfast of cinnamon bun clutter champions fresh from the oven - delish !! and highly recommended by all • introductions to Peter Walsh and his Declutter Bible - It's All Too Much - and by lunch time the dark cloud area of my living room/dining room (which had previously been a huge pile of dusty can't decide what to do with stuff and two bookcases overflowing with a combination of buried treasures and lots of couldn't care less abouts) had become open and bare and beautiful • that's the thing about clutter - the treasures become lost among the excess which was definitely true in my case • break at 1pm for a walk with Miss D and back home for hot bowls of chowder • kitchen cupboards and the cookbooks/cooking magazine bookcase next on les agenda • I've been saving every Gourmet magazine, every Donna Hay, Bon Appetite, Martha Stewart, ancient Vogue Australia Entertaining (a fabulous cooking magazine) since time began. 4 shelves of mostly dusty cookbooks now paired down to 2 shelves of much used and treasured. I parted with all of the Bon Appetite's and kept most of the Gourmet's • We got rid of chick pea flour and arborio rice which had been stored in mason jars since 1998, extra dishes and mugs who never leave the darkness of my cupboards will now have the chance of daylight and freedom in someone else's kitchen • another walk, in darkness and gently falling snow with Miss D, home again to Black Street for hummus and crackers and another delicious dinner of broccoli salad and cheese fondue by the fire with Belgian chocolates for dessert. Sigh.

A gift is not an obligation
Peter Walsh

I came downstairs in the morning to ready our coffee and walked around the main floor of this old brick house. My big open kitchen and the big beautiful living room dining room space, now tidy and sparse and neat as a pin - and I love it. I really am that kind of less is more person and I had myself buried with things. As you know I detest and am horrible at housekeeping - I was born missing that gene (for sure) so a house with minimal stuff that's tres easy to fling a vacuum around and swipe a dust cloth over flat, empty of stuff, surfaces is how I need to live. I like tidy, I love organized, I love the feeling of space. And now I have it - in spades ! • We finished up the kitchen, MLou vacuumed every nook and cranny and every crack and crevice. We piled neat and organized boxes of give away/yard sale items, along with a few pieces of furniture who's time has come, out into my big spacious sunporch. My front porch is now home to many bags of recyclables and a few bags of trash and I would guess that we easily eliminated half of what we tackled. I have to say I did not have that much stuff - but I still had many, many things that meant nothing to me - if they mean nothing then what are they doing hanging around gathering dust? • We bundled that girl back into her car around 2:30pm so that she would be sure to get back to the city before darkness.

This whole experience (aside from the comfort and love that I feel spending lovely big chunks of time with my friend MLou) this weekend purge - to me feels like the purging of an old me. A me who has felt continually overwhelmed, most often sad, desperate much of the time and trapped in a place that I didn't know how to get out of. Stuck in my memories and the past. It's not just about the stuff - it's about how that stuff makes you feel, how it can weigh you down, how it messes up your home, obliterates who you really are and makes you feel shame. MLou is showing me the way out, she knows which path to take. And this morning I feel strong and happy and very loved.

What more could this girl ask for ?

Merci MLou.


  1. Susan......It sounds as though you had a wonderful weekend full of good food, great friendship and a very productive one at that!

  2. Good morning, sweet Susan! Sounds like you had an incredible and delightful weekend! yeah! :)

    Much love to you and the furry gang! xo

  3. Man, I wish I had a M'lou. Instead, I think I'll just order that book. Ha That's what I often do, order the book. Unfortunately, the following action, inspired by whatever book it is often doesn't materialize.

    You girls certainly eat well when she comes. Always gets me hungry.

    I think I'm going to engrave the quote about "a memento is not a memory" on my forehead!

  4. Wow Susan, you are always a font of new and useful information to me. I didn't know who Peter Walsh was. I looked at his website... what a great source of inspiration and practical information. I am going to follow up on it.
    Your weekend sounds wonderful... friendship and good food, two of my favorite things. Yay! for you.

  5. Sounds like fun!!My 80 year old mother is asking for donations for a yard sale she is itching to have,to raise funds for our Tai Chi group. She is worrying that she won't have enough stuff by sale time this Saturday. Mum tells me this as she sits amongst groaning cupboards and my fathers three sheds of clutter. None of that of course, will be going anywhere.( insert big, big sigh). Much love to you, and hearty congratulations on a great declutter session!The chocolates look divine!

  6. Good for you!!
    Edward, Apple and I are smiling for you and your fresh clean house and fresh, clean spirit!!

  7. NOOOOOOOOO, not the chick pea flour!

    I think you're going to regret that toss.

    Okay, I need me a MLou. What a wonderful friend and weekend and paring down.

  8. Wow, Susan, this has got to be up there as one of your best blog posts ever. I am sooo moved by it, to the point of tears in fact, especially that last paragraph. I could soooo identify with everything you write there, my Nova Scotia friend. I love your honesty. It is sooo refreshing.

    That "Declutter Bible" sounds like a gem. Need to see if I can get that from the inter library loan.

    That! Shut up! Love that.

    With friends likeMLous, who needs anyone else. she is a treasure and God-send for certain.


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