For many of us, now that schools are finally back, the summer holiday memories are fading as fast as any tan you managed to get. For me this year the holiday has left a different impression as we did a house swap.
Exchanging homes with people you don’t know involves a fair bit of trust, especially if you love where you live but it’s a mutual risk/benefit and not nearly as problematic as you would imagine.
True, it isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday but one of the main plus points, the saving of accommodation costs in a fairly pricey area, (San Diego, California) was quite a motivator. Also, it forced us to finish some of the diy projects that we couldn’t otherwise get the impetus to complete.
As part of the swapping process, you are encouraged to make space for your guests to unpack. This, and wondering what strangers will think of your home, was the most interesting part of the process. (I’m using the term “strangers” quite loosely as we did Skype and email the family so we felt quite friendly in the run up.)
We took a fairly simple approach to the “making space” and while certainly a fair bit of stuff went into the loft, it was a great opportunity to get rid of things that have been hanging about in the back of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and odd things that wouldn’t stand public scrutiny. A lot of the time you find yourself asking “Why have we still got this?”
By the time we were ready to go on holiday we were totally fed up with cleaning and clearing but the house looked better than it ever had. (I’m not sure anyone else would have noticed but we knew!)
When we returned we found that we didn’t want to clutter the house back up again. Certainly, there’s been a hunt for socks and jumpers now that the weather has turned chilly (and boy were we spoiled by the California summer!) but we are enjoying the simplicity of clear surfaces and drawers and cupboards not being packed to the gunnels.
Before this exercise, I felt the energy of my home was good, but now it’s flowing better than ever and we are enjoying it even more.
The experience was hard work in the preparation but the process became about more than the holiday.
Obviously, you don’t have to commit to a home swap to start this process. If you can think of one area in your home that bothers you, why not try gathering up the “stuff” and putting it out of sight for a while? It’s not as hard as straight up sorting through everything. The chances are that you might need to search out a couple of things from the stored box but I’m pretty sure that you’ll manage without the rest of it. In a couple of weeks, once you’ve enjoyed the space and the clarity that comes with it, you’ll have the distance to sort through the bag with less emotion and will be able to bin and recycle as much as you need to. Why not try it?
Hope you had a good summer too!