The clutter chronicles

I’m sure I used to be tidier.

Back in the day, when I was a student, my books were arranged by category and then alphabetised. Things generally had some sort of place. At work, my desk has been various shades of chaotic, but I know where everything is. Currently we have a clean desk policy, and that’s fine.

Now at home there are four of us, and it is an ongoing war on clutter.

At first we could say ‘Well, babies do need a lot of stuff.’

Then we entered the Era of Plastic Tat, and we are still there. Why is it that plastic pinball games, which don’t even work properly, are prized possessions? My kids seem to be hoarders and refuse to part with almost anything. Four pages from the middle of a magazine, with all the puzzles done? ‘That’s special, Mum!’ Even trousers halfway up their calves hold sentimental magic.

Admittedly, there was an additional complicating factor. My partner and I have both lost our parents, and so we have lots of their bits and pieces around, pictures on the walls, things we love. But there are also boxes of all the things we couldn’t make a decision about, or that we know we should get rid of but can’t. Mostly these lurk reproachfully in the loft, but occasionally a foray under a bed or into the garage will bring on a ‘We really need to…’

But back to the present. Every day brings more post, more junk mail, more letters from school, more drawings of dragons, more colouring-in sheets which the boys swear they’ll finish off and never do. Keeping on top of the basic admin, feeding, watering, laundry, parties, presents and homework leaves very little energy for the ever-growing junk mountain, never mind the chunnering boxes in the loft.

Occasionally I get a spurt of exasperated energy and CLEAR the heap of post by the door, or the dining room table. Give it two weeks, though, and it’s right back where it was.

But perhaps there is hope. I’ve signed up to Faye WilliamsLove Minimalism blog. Faye is (wait for it) not only a fabulous writer, and a computer whiz, but she is also (deep breath) a minimalist with a young family. I have no idea how she does it.

Faye has a free seven-day course you can do, and I have DONE day 1: declutter your purse. Not that it needed it.

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I will draw a veil over the process, except to note that I found the receipt for my glasses. I don’t mean the pair I just bought, oh no. The pair I got three years ago.

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It’s lovely. My purse actually closes(ish), and I can find things!

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This doesn’t solve the problem of the rest of the house. However, I might just focus admiringly on the purse, a marvel of organisation, and shut out the rest of the mess.


The featured image is Clutter, by Sean MacEntee, and is shared via Creative Commons licence 2.0

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