Some jobs require specific energy: they can only be completed when the body and mind have the right combination of clear-thinking and physical prowess. Decluttering is one of those jobs for me, only done when I am feeling ‘springy’ and when I am in the mood to see Mess as Opportunity and not Overwhelm.
I have come to love decluttering. I have a wonderful place to feed my decluttering soul: our shed, which seems to reveal more rather than less as I remove things from it. I have repurposed shoes, space, and most recently, large items such as beds. Removal of the beds – stacked haphazardly in a diagonal across the square space, thereby occupying maximum space – has once again provided dancing room in our shed. It’s not quite as voluminous as the day we moved into the property, when it was totally denuded … but it’s getting there.
Decluttering is a strange and wonderful journey. What to hold on to and what to dispose of – repurpose, recycle – is such a personal choice. My husband and I have very different attitudes and approaches to sorting, mostly in what we personally consider valuable and what we don’t. Sometimes I look at what I’ve stored so carefully and wonder why I ever bothered to keep it. A recent example is a huge amount of bubble wrap (donated to a friend who was relocating interstate) and curtains, some of which had mould stains on them (used as filling within freight sent back to its original owner, on the other side of the country: yes there’s a story to that but that’s not for here). Why on earth did I keep mouldy curtains? What use could I have possibly have seen for them? Yet they were useful in the end, right? As filling in a half-empty box.
I used to know what I had and where everything was, I didn’t have anything I didn’t want or use … then I started sharing my space with another who was the opposite, and thus began my decluttering journey. You may now be thinking badly of me, assuming I’m clearing away HIS things. Oh no, no, no. I leave that to him. I merely give him the incentive by clearing the space around his stuff, so that he can clearly see it.
Over the years keeping ‘useless stuff that we might use one day’ (like our garden ornaments) has become easier for me, and sorting and saying goodbye to ‘once-useful stuff that is now beyond repair’ has become easier for him. Along this continuum we’re happiest when we meet in the middle.
The delightful thing about decluttering is that it is ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ – there’s always more to do, so there’s always more to feel virtuous about when it’s done.