Apologies for that terrible pun. My de-cluttering has gone well – so well I’m actually finished now except for papers and notebooks, which will take forever because there are literally 25 years of ideas in there. Marie Kondo says to take six months but I decided to take three weeks because: impatience. And also I have a really small flat to start with. I do feel an amazing sense of lightness, sending things out the door that once were a big part of my life. Photo albums. Dresses I wore on memorable nights. Shoes I never wore. The guilt of never using things eases from you, and you can send them on their way with the hope someone else will get some joy from them. Sorting through all my stuff also made me realise several things.
- I had way more stuff than I thought, despite having a tiny flat. The process is a bit like a romcom, only with possessions. ‘Here I was, thinking I had no decent socks, and look…I had about fifteen good pairs all along!’ Romantic.
- I buy too many things. Even in aforesaid tiny flat I had several duplicates and had bought things over and over because I thought I’d run out when there were two in the cupboard. I also overbuy weird ingredients and don’t use them up.
- I don’t need or use that many things. Even in this small place there are cupboards I never open (and not because of ghosts or big spiders).
So, I have learned some good lessons there, cheers Marie. Sorry I did it too fast. Don’t be cross. But the hardest part was going to be books. I’ve always been a terrible book hoarder, and the idea of losing any, especially unread ones, felt like a betrayal of my childhood self, growing up in rural Ireland, always short of reading matter and wondering if my dad’s thesis about fish parasites might make a good story. Even now I feel uneasy about it, like I’m giving away puppies or something. What if they don’t go to a good home? But I know that in today’s world of spiralling house prices, this is an attachment I have to break.
Here’s what Marie has to say about decluttering books:
We should get rid of any that give us ‘moderate pleasure’ only, or that we didn’t finish. (could this be a new book review system?)
So, I have kept any I thought I’d read again, or that were signed, or I might use for research. Even with that I’ve got rid of 100, and today they were picked up by the British Heart Foundation (v handy). (I still have LOADS). I won’t lose those books – they’ll always stay with me – I will just have more space, less dust/spiders, and hopefully a bit less chance of dying in a book-avalanche. And it was lovely to look back through them, touch them and remember what I have. Top marks to this doodle by my friend Tom Harper – it is, of course, Plato being chased by a shark. Obvs.
I’m also trying to cut out sugar, so more later on this glorious fun time (please help and invent sugar-free cake NOW).