Thursday, 29 September 2011


Clutter, stuff, things, jumble and general disorder. We all have a room, drawers or cupboards where clutter accumulates don't we? You know what I'm talking about, the things you believe you can't bear to part from or that might have a future use. Open the door and it all falls out much to your shame and embarrassment. The spot that's conveniently hidden away and fails to offer your prize when you seek it.

September-October are apparently the months to declutter. A new academic year and a time for getting our affairs in order. I've never had a problem throwing stuff out. In fact I'm ruthless about it. Enjoying ripping up, shredding old papers, and donating clothes to charity. The problem I have is replacing the old with new. I get rid of the old, well used and worn out, and neglect to replace it. Frankly, if I continue to clear I'll be left with only the clothes on my back, standing in a very bare flat. No evidence suggesting I live there. Yes, it's great to dejunk and find possessions a new home, but I've taken this feel-good to an extreme.

Then there's other extreme of course. The hoarders. Never throwing anything out. Every living space consumed with clutter. Akin to a disease of the mind. Hoarders possessed by their own possessions. The inbetweeners, halfway between clutter – no clutter. Clearing out a loathsome chore, far easier to accumulate more, stuffing the rest in the loft, garage or shed. My parents fall into the latter. Old clothes, china, books never read, and general paraphernalia. Drawers and cupboards stuffed with inherited loot that one day I'll have to go through. I keep telling them, “Make a start. At least tackle the garden shed!” My plea hasn't galvanized them into action. Clutter is sneaky. What you can't see you forget.

How do you decide what to hold on to? I have rules for myself. If I haven't used, worn, or read in over a year and frankly don't intend to, it's out. If there's no longer a reason to hang onto for sentimental value, it goes. I only replace if there's a genuine need, which explains my present predicament. I like getting rid, but hate to shop. How many women do you know that say that? The items I always keep are journals and photo albums. Stepping into the past, reliving captured moments of time is my idea of a legacy.

Create space, allow new doors to open. Welcome new opportunities in. Save something for the future, but don't accumulate so much stuff you're bogged down