It appears now I’ve got to the age of 43 years old excitement comes in the form of getting a room plastered. My daughters bedroom to be precise. For those of you in my Facebook community group you may recall one Monday I decided (a day before having a new carpet fitted) that I was going to remove an inbuilt wardrobe. Just me, a hammer and a crowbar. I quite like demolition if I’m honest. There's nothing better than taking pandemic anger and directing it to old (but apparently a very well made and strong) wooden cupboard. The rest of my house may just need a slight touch before it collapses and falls, but this cupboard was the only thing well made it would seem! So, lots of dust, a bit of swearing and a lot of rubble later, the cupboard was no more.
Unfortunately that left two walls needing re-plastering along with part of the ceiling. I have never been a fan of woodchip on the ceiling (I have no idea what the previous owners were thinking of!) Although it's funny watching Homes Under The Hammer when they see everything covered in it as no doubt they feel the same way about this stuff that'd survive nuclear Armageddon, I hate it in my home. I decided to get the plasterer to board over it and create a lovely smooth new ceiling instead. Having tried to remove it with a steamer in a previous room I knew this wasn't going to happen. It need plastering. A lot of it. This meant that the entire room needed to be emptied so the plasterer could work.
5 years ago, this would’ve been horrific. It would’ve been almost impossible. Now it hardly took any time at all. No ‘bits’ to find homes for, just large pieces of furniture to put into my bedroom and the spare room. As I fell over a toy box in the now cluttered bedrooms I was reminded of what they used to be like. They used to be permanently cluttered. No way to fully open the spare room door. Climbing over things to find what you need. Trying not to let things slide and fall, hoping things don’t break. I felt immensely grateful that this was very temporary! I had a bit of an emotional wobble, but reminded myself this was the plan…once he’d finished plastering (within a day) it was all going back to normal, and then I can look at buying her a new wardrobe (Pax from Ikea is great and customisable, but without the bespoke price tag!). The ceiling needed to be done first so I could make sure the wardrobe would fit (or we'd have a similar situation to one year when my Dad was in charge of buying the Christmas tree and we had to chop the first foot off it to fit it into the room!). So, in all it was emotional day, excitement, relief and then remembering how things used to be.
All was going well until it was time for the plasterer to leave. I inspected the work he’d done and it was amazing. I knew he’d do a good job as he was recommended to me. We started to discuss other jobs I might want done in the future. Then he said something and it really sent me spiralling.
He said “if I were you, I’d gut the lot and start again”.
Instantly I wanted to cry. I immediately went back to being that person I was 5 years ago. Someone that couldn’t invite anyone around. Someone that had to crop clutter out of photos. That would get doorbell panic if someone knocked in the door. Ashamed. A failure. Someone hiding a secret from the world.
All those feelings came flooding back. That I’m not good enough, that I will never have a nice home. That people like me aren’t the type to live in gorgeous homes.
Then reality kicked in. Yes I am good enough! I earn a living giving people this exact transformation. That they can have hope and can (and do!) end up with homes they love, that they’re proud of.
I always stress the importance of having a vision, and then a plan for each room. I have that. Some rooms are closer than others but all have a clear plan (and no clutter to fight first!). I’m not embarrassed by any rooms in my home anymore. They’re clean and clutter free. I have an extension planned. I know exactly how I want it to be. My first thought was ‘give up on this house’, but then I thought hell no! I’ve worked my backside off to keep it. I had to beg the bank for me to keep it 20 years ago when I became single and took on the mortgage. I took on two jobs to be able to afford it. A new build wouldn’t give me such a solid house, with such a decent garden and generously proportioned rooms. Moving to a house the size this will be when it’s done will be £500k+ (and I’m not made of money!), plus I love my neighbours and this area. I actually do love my house. (Just not the woodchip!)
All this happened so quickly. All I could think was ‘thank god he didn’t see what it was like 5 years ago!’ But then he wouldn’t have, as there’s no way I would’ve let him in my house. My friends didn't even come into my house (well, not many of them anyway!). Now the plasterer is a great guy. He wasn’t being mean or nasty. He later clarified that he meant he wouldn’t gut the ‘house’ as it’s a great house, just that he’d love to re-do all my walls, as he’s a perfectionist and understands that having the base of straight, newly plastered walls makes such a difference to the feel of a house.
All that emotional battering for a misunderstanding!
So here’s my takeaway this week.
No one else's opinion of your home matters. Not a trade person, not your mum, not your electric meter reading guy. Just yours . What does matter is that you can see a way forward and are working towards it. That is where someone like me comes in to help you get started, or to keep you moving forward.
Now I’m not battling my stuff, I’m battling my house now to get it how I truly want it. In the mean time I can invite friends over without being embarrassed. I can enjoy the freedom of a clutter free home when having workmen over. Resetting each night back t tidy takes less than 5 minutes. I’m getting there. That's what really matters. No one else can judge me as they don’t know my journey. They don’t know the battles I’ve had to face to get this far.
So wherever you are in your clutter free journey, just remember it doesn't matter if someone else is sprinting ahead and totally transforming their homes. Don’t compare their journey for yours. As long as you are moving forward, it doesn’t matter how slowly, just that you’re going in the right direction.
If you'd like help to get over your doorbell panic and home embarrassment, come and join my supportive Facebook community here.