Sometimes the cultural associations are too strong to shake off. Not that I’m trying.
This is not a post about the religious aspects of Easter. (Sorry to disappoint you, Mum.) Instead, it’s how the idea of renewal at this time of year is so, so, so appropriate it could be described as unavoidable.
Regardless of where Easter falls along the calendar, although an earlier Easter suits me, this is the first extended and timely break in the year for tackling transitional tasks.
Yes, Transitional Tasks. It doesn’t matter in which hemisphere of this big round planet you live, the seasons are in transition and that means there’s work to do.
It’s been that way for millennia.
Normally, my primary focus is the wardrobe (a very modern day problem) – packing up summer and bringing out winter – but this year, I’ve got two transitions on the boil.
As well as the wardrobe, I’m helping dismantle a garden ready for new landscaping. When I say helping, it’s mostly just absconding with items that would otherwise (according to the owner) be sent to the tip. Some will still end up there, I suspect, once I’ve had a good look at them. But some will definitely find new homes …
… like this one:
Past attempts at plant rescue didn’t fare well. I’m a novice who hopes with each attempt that success is just a cutting away.
The Wardrobe that Isn’t
My current house is distinct in my history of houses as it didn’t come with wardrobes. I could have filled it with those wretched boxes that made possible the story of The Lion and The Witch.
Too small. Too inflexible. Too dark.
Instead, I went ‘inner-city studio chic’ with lots of those silver metal shelving units sold at hardware stores and seen in the kitchens of cooking shows on TV.
This arrangement means that all wearable (and no-longer wearable) options are not on display at any point in time, tucked away as they are in Ikea storage boxes, making this year’s transition a little different. It’s time to pull out every item and decide it’s future.
I love a bit of categorisation and this is no exception. There’ll be the obvious keeps and keepsakes. There’ll also be (in the face of fast fashion and the growing amount of fabric sent to landfill each year) the up-cycles and down-cycles. And then, alas, there’ll be some pieces that have no life left in them, well-loved but beyond loving, even too far gone to be a keepsake.
Although there is this old green shirt, threadbare in so many places, spotted with bleach, rarely worn, that I haven’t yet been able to throw out!
A capsule wardrobe is the term given to a few essential pieces of clothing that don’t go out of style. The idea is to spend well on these basics so they last and last; then add trendy pieces each season and trash them when the fashion changes. It was a term born in the 1970s though I suspect the idea is generations older.
There are two key problems with this idea. First, not everyone can afford to spend well (hence the popularity of fast fashion) and, second, we can’t just dump stuff no matter how much joy it doesn’t bring us.
My first step is to find my winter capsule. Do I even have one?
Turns out, I have – of sorts. It’s a very sad looking pile of trousers and shirts. It could all have ended there, except I remembered …
… the box of winter scarves! There’s nothing capsule about this ongoing intention to celebrate colour and exhuberance.
The second step is to try things on. Not a pleasant activity when it’s already 20degreesC and it’s only 8 in the morning. No parading up and down the hallway. Just a quick check to see if buttons and zips still button and zip.
Weight gain since last winter has been minimal. Phew!
The third step is to wash. And wash. And wash. This is why the Easter break is so timely. It’s still warm enough to ensure that everything dries quickly and also gets a good airing. It’s like a Spring clean but in Autumn.
And finally, to categorising. What have I’ve got? What do I need? And then work out a plan to ensure I’ll be presentable whenever I need to be in the coming months.
But before I get to categorising, it’s back to that garden. And as a consequence, my garden.
I wasn’t expecting to get so much tidied and sorted in my own garden. As the material comes in, it has to be dealt with. If this tidying and sorting doesn’t happen on the go, there is the risk these pots and plants will sit and sit and sit, unattended for an interminable amount of time because I’ll get used to seeing them as they are. (There’s a whole blog series on the dilemmas caused by this personality trait, if I’ve a mind to share!)
Pots cleaned. A temporary home found for them. Potted plants re-potted. Cuttings prepared.
I think this one still needs a bit more pruning. Better to under-achieve on the first pass as they can’t be stuck back on.
It has been an unexpected delight to re-arrange my own garden. Never overlook the creative and rejuvenating benefits of simply re-arranging potted plants. A satisfaction made all the more intense by tapping into the centuries-old idea of seasonal renewal.