Sunday, 30 March 2014

Is this what happens ...

... when life gets out of control ? Trying to de-clutter . Failing miserable. One step forward , nine steps back . I have a theory . When my mother died and the Wicked Witch of the East moved in with my father , everything that I'd ever owned as a child - photos , memorabilia , sentimental knick-knacks and trinkets went straight in the skip . I didn't have any choice as to whether I might wish to hold on to a keepsake or two. She eradicated any trace of our life as a family before Mum died. As a consequence every item that comes through our front door , stays and is never thrown away . The result is a home choc full or what I can only describe as 'stuff'. Add to this the salve of retail therapy borne out of various unhappinesses along the way and the advancing of years and you get a situation that is out of control.

If you have ever visited our home , you will know that outwardly it has the appearance of an ordered and organised life. But delve a little deeper and open a few drawers and you will discover the full extent of my hoarding. I may be being  a little harsh on myself. I visit friends whose hoarding is like mine. A life full of sentimentality and decision making that is too difficult - keep or throw ? It happens to all of us .... I think. It's when it stifles you that you need to decide , enough is enough .

I once attempted to de-clutter for a friend whose mother had died some 10 years previously . Her kitchen drawers were full of half spent birthday candles from her children's birthday cakes , first aid plasters spilling unhygienically from their ancient yellowing wrappers and photo lab folders that had long since lost their photos. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Her mother's house contents jostled for position amongst their own family belongings . It was a battle destined to end in tears. We managed to empty one cupboard but our progress ground to a standstill as it all became overwhelming.

It's the decision -making I find so difficult . That's why you have to approach the task with an almost military-like mindset. Ruthlessness is the keyword. I've just sat on the sofa in tears , overwhelmed at the enormity of the project. I suspect that I may be exaggerating the task in my own head . As I said, for anyone that's been to our house , they're probably laughing now at my description of our over-cluttered house but I suppose everyone has different ideas of what clutter levels are acceptable and I suppose mine are low.

So, I've made a start . Last week I went out and bought a brand new minimal kit of make-up . Yesterday I tipped the remnants of a decade's worth of mascaras and eye-shadows into the bin. Today , I've discovered that I own 3 lash curlers, have never used one and frankly, life is too short to even think about curling your lashes. I have filled 2 charity bags with boxed sets of various fripperies and nonsense, emptied make-up bags, scarves , hair ornaments and jewellery that would look childish on a teenager. What was I thinking when I bought the outsized plastic gingerbread man brooch ?

I suppose I should have taken a 'before' photo but as I always rashly dive in head-first to these manic projects, I rarely pause long enough to think about doing that. And here I am , procrastinating by typing a blog post as an evasion tactic. Maybe the 'after' photo will suffice. Watch this ( newly cleared) space.

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Claire, it's very difficult to get rid of 'stuff' that we remember from our childhood. My mum died two years ago and I've yet to go through all the photos and slides. My husband has been a brick and scanned all the slides on to the computer. I've also kept all her cake colourings and flavourings and decorations for cakes. My mum was also a wonderful hand quilter and we now have more quilts in our house than the annual quilt festival at the NEC. Little and often I think is the way to do it and if there are things that bring back a lot of memories then keep it/them. I read on a blog yesterday a good suggestion - if the item is bulky and you no longer want it then take a picture of it and put it alongside a picture of that person it reminds you of. The person had an antique wooden boat that was quite big that was her grandad's and she didn't want it but didn't want to be seen to be getting rid of it so the suggestion was to sell it and keep a photo. My god, sorry if I've waffled on for England - take care and good luck xxxx