Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Use it or lose it

Okay, enough of the doom and gloom. Time for something more positive. Something that'll cheer you all up. Ah, I know just the thing. De-cluttering.

One thing Jenny and I wholly agree on is decluttering - or better still, permanent non-cluttering. We've always had a horror of homes packed with useless junk and dust-gathering knick-knacks, homes so awash with assorted stuff that you have to fight your way through the rooms and clear a ton of rubbish off the chair seats before you can sit down.

Our house couldn't be more different. If there's something we don't want or need, it's thrown out pretty quickly. Just about everything in the house is in regular use, apart from a few ornaments and bits of pottery that we love and remind us of the holidays they stem from. Oh and apart from a large number of books. The local charity shops must have made plenty of money out of our frequent throw-outs.

In fact our house is so bereft of superfluous items one visitor likened it to a guest house. I think some visitors actually feel slightly uncomfortable without the usual agglomeration of cosy bits and pieces they're expecting.

But our house is a palace of junk compared to a house I stayed in many years back, belonging to my friend Chris's aunt. She was fiercely religious and believed there should be nothing in the house that wasn't strictly necessary for everyday living. There were tables, chairs, beds and cupboards and that was about it. The idea of an ornament would have given her conniptions.

My mum, as you may remember, was a compulsive hoarder, and after a move to a care home, her flat had to be cleared of umpteen years' accumulation of unworn clothes, old newspapers, holiday brochures, rotting chocolates and very variety of pointless rubbish imaginable.

An image so vivid and unforgettable I vow never to repeat it.

22 comments:

  1. Like you, I don't keep a bunch of unnecessary stuff. I tend to only buy to replace and not to have extra. I'm wondering what faith the woman was who was so minimalist?

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  2. In my family, I am a notorious getting rid of things person. That includes messages, emails etc as well as useless gifts. I often have to ask people to resend messages to refer or forward to someone else because I would have deleted the original one from my device. There is rarely need for decluttering.

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  3. I have been clearing out chests and the wardrobe and find very little that I want to give or throw away....God help whoever clears the place when the last one of us dies!
    I have just tried your verify thingy...took me ages tofind the bicycles with my poor eyesight!

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  4. Bijoux: I can't tell you, it was so long ago. And I've lost touch with Chris, so I can't ask him. It must have been a very fundamentalist branch of the church!

    Ramana: I also delete emails very quickly. I'm always amazed at people whose inboxes are so full they can't receive any more messages!

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  5. Helen: Oh dear, you'll have to give yourself a good talking-to! Sorry about the verify nonsense, I don't think I can remove it. Sometimes I get an image check, sometimes I just get an instant okay. I also have trouble with some of the images, not because of my eyesight but because it doesn't always accept my choices.

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  6. I'm with you about some of the verify pictures. It's not just our old eyes, it's they purposely make them hard to see so computers can't figure them out.

    Some old emails are invaluable as documentation. Apparently our greenhouse installer either didn't see or else lost the contract we signed and asked us to send it. We resent our August 3 email that included it and other information we thought he would find useful. It saved us a lot of time.

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  7. Jean: I only delete emails I don't need any more. Anything important like contracts, terms and conditions, flight bookings, hotel bookings etc I save to my personal files and also to a memory stick.

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  8. I thankfully married a man who also loved my minimalist ways. and I finally have convinced friends and relatives who are 'gift givers' that I only like things that can be consumed! lol. and it's the same kind of gift that I give. unless it's a book I know someone would really like. it makes life so lovely and simple.
    there seems to be enough STUFF and chaos in most people's lives to last forever! but if that's what they want … that's ok too. live and let live. xo

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  9. Tammy: I also like to get things I can consume. Glad to know your friends and relatives have finally got the message! What I find really extraordinary is those people who actually rent storage facilities for all the junk they're not using. Er, why not just throw it all out?

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  10. One time we were putting our house on the market and the realtor was thrilled that it was free from things that would interfere with buyers visualizing themselves there. I do like to have a few decorative items but not a lot and we don't have a hallway-long family photo gallery like my stepmother has. To a stranger our house has no personality but to people who know us they recognize that the items we do have represent experiences in our lives. (Who else would have a model of a motorhome built out of Lego blocks?)

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  11. My place is unusual as I like to surround myself with my creative efforts. It would not be anyone else's cup of tea or cup of anything. But I love it. Blank slates do not appeal to me.

    I like to see personality in a room.

    XO
    WWW

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  12. Linda: A hallway-long family photo gallery? That's pretty over the top. I have virtually no photos of my family, but I can remember very well what they look like! (Though I do have loads of photos of Jenny and our friends)

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  13. www: Oh, I think there's plenty of personality in our rooms, even without all the little gewgaws that most people favour.

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  14. I feel deprived. In order to declutter you need to have some clutter in the first place.

    Emails were mentioned in previous comments. I keep all my emails - in folders (one is named Ramana, one is named Nick). To me they are personal/private correspondence on a par with letters received in the post (all of which I keep though will do the occasional weeding out). What else? Books. They are not clutter. They are vital to my well being. Though, admittedly, I will cull every so often those books I know I won't re-read/use for future reference and/or won't be of any interest to the Angel. A slow process - the enjoyable part of it that I meet old friends on the shelf. Photos? Photos are my treasure. They'd be the first thing I'd rescue if the house were on fire.

    And that's about it. If any serious horder wants to declutter without any input here is a friend's tip - and you can't but laugh at how awful it is: "Get in enough debt to ensure the bailiffs come round. They'll clear out your home in zero time". No shit.

    U

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  15. Ursula: I do agree about books being vital to one's well-being. When I'm feeling a bit low a book transports me to somewhere totally different and usually lifts my spirits (unless it's a very grim book indeed!).

    That's a nice quote about the bailiffs doing the uncluttering!

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  16. I keep things in piles. I'm actually quite bad at decluttering, and like Ursula, I keep all my personal emails... actually my emails are like boomerangs, I try to delete them but they seem to come back again!
    Sx

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  17. Ms Scarlet: Goodness, have your emails discovered how to reproduce themselves? This is a worrying development.

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  18. I'm sure they have, at present I have 9,512 mails in my inbox - all read. I'm sure I didn't keep them all!
    Sx

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  19. I currently have 14 messages in my inbox. The others have either been deleted, moved to specific files or saved as documents. I probably only have a few hundred emails in total on file!

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  20. Couldn't agree more Nick. I have a five year rule - if it hasn't been used or looked at for five years then I obviously don't need it and it is disposed of. I've always preferred a somewhat minimalist environment - being in a cluttered place makes me uneasy and want to leave.

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  21. Captain Custard: The five-year rule is a good one. And that includes anything you come across that makes you think "I wonder what I bought that for?" or even "What on earth is that?"

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  22. We've been working on de-cluttering, but I don't think we've achieved what you and Jenny have. Not yet. I think it's interesting that you have a more minimal approach after having a parent who hoarded. My mom has insane amounts of clothes, shoes, and purses. My sister and both keep a fairly small wardrobe compared to most women our age. I wonder if a lot of people end up doing whatever is opposite to the extreme their parents lived in?

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