Saturday, 20 October 2012

Procrastination and De-cluttering ...

... sounds like the name of a crusty old tax accountant's firm and well may it . They're both as appealing . At the beginning of the year I downloaded a calendar which suggests daily de-cluttering deeds. In January it was a God-send , by February it was becoming a slight irritation and by March, a downright nag.

To make matters worse , I'd subscribed to the  email updates which would chastise me daily with a reminder as to how nice could have been if only I'd followed their advice.

Time for a spot of procrastination. It runs in our family . The boys are masters at the art but only with regards to homework. How was I supposed to clear out my 'hutch'  (which apparently is a dresser or something in US Speak and not a home for bunnies ) when I didn't have one ? Why would anyone want to de-lint their dusters when you could buy those disposable jobs from the supermarkets. There's something weirdly satisfying but also alarming about the way they gather up a year's dust in a matter of seconds.

It is now October and my hutches remain uncleared, my dusters are still lint-laden and my 'basement' ( do all American homes have to have these or something and is there a law against building a house without one ? ) remains untouched. Time to bin the calendar or better still hit the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the daily digests ? I did the latter . They made the mistake of asking me why I wished to unsubscribe and so I did but the little box with space for a short sentence was woefully inadequate and so my response got sent half way through my rant which must have been puzzling for them as if I'd been stuck down mid- sentence by an errant broom falling from a still-cluttered cupboard.

My mother , God rest her soul , had a strange habit which she used to inflict on my sister and I , on a seasonal basis. With the benefit of hindsight , I now realise that this was an early manifestation of the madness which was raging inside her. We would come home from school and find , in the middle of our bedroom floors, the entire contents of every piece of furniture from wardrobes to bedside tables , bookshelves and desks. You name it . it had been emptied. Books, clothes, toys ( and later make-up , tights and go-gos or whatever was the rage back in the 60's ) would be piled up in a bonfire-like structure in the centre of the room. A sacrificial mound of 'stuff ' . We would heave a heavy sigh , shed a tear or two and then spend the rest of the evening setting about the task of returning every last item to its respectful place.

I like to think of it fondly now as the invention of de-cluttering which was only to become a national obsession in the 90's when we all ran out of space , following the Thatcher boom years of consumerism. No doubt a post-grad student has written a thesis about the phenomenon. We will probably find it has been categorised as an Olympic sport by 2016 with the Americans as potential gold medal winners .   My Mum was always ahead of her years.

So , the calendar is still magnetised to the fridge,  the pile of ironing I did last week is still at the bottom of the stairs and my husband's 'manpile' of pocket detritus is still splayed across the kitchen worktops . Some things never change.

Today's entry for the 20th October reads " Clear out your reference files . Best done whilst watching the TV or with Music. "  I would edit this to " best done with a bottle of wine " but then they may never get cleared out , more like wiped out or binned. So . I have no idea what they mean by 'reference' files. Hurrah another de-clutter free day.

1 comment:

  1. I did last week is still at the bottom of the stairs and my husband's 'manpile' of pocket detritus is still splayed across the kitchen worktops . Some things never change.

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