Oh Clutterbucks!

IMG_5272A dried up pie at the back of the fridge may be inedible but gives out gas helping speed up the stashed fresh food’s decomposition. So unlike the rotten tree trunks and branches in the gardens, which we should refrain from clearing away, holding a myriad of foodstuffs, i.e. Insects for the garden birds and animal life, our fridges offer a good place to start cleaning and decluttering.

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Yes, clearing the unusable remnants holding back our bright and welcoming joy always seems a logical thing to do. Sounds simple. Well the cold cabinet, with the stinky moulds lurking in the corners is frankly easy to apply some elbow grease to. However when you get to throwing out years of old photographs, paperwork, ill-fitting clothing, knick knacks, books let alone the large table or selling the tractor it becomes a different and more labourious, not to mention, emotional issue.

Of course if you’re downsizing, moving to live in perhaps either a hotel suite or berber tent it would seem an easier task to throw out all the clutter holding memories from the precious years. At times it takes longer than you think even having made the decision to free yourself of the baggage. The pictures and momentoes awaken feelings and giggles from long ago – the eagerly haggled-for worn out persian rug seems worthless now, the once indispensable radio tuner really doesn’t function anymore; becoming a collection of snippets from the many, eventually fading, memories we inadvertently lodge in our cerebral store. So I cleared out old tools, files, tight dresses, useful bits of string, pots, dried paint and now inane scribbles to make space for the new journey.

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Yes it feels liberating; the clear space is calming, allowing new shoots to spring up; ones that offer a marvellous step into the, as yet, unknown exciting experience when goodness knows what will find itself before my feet. It doesn’t stop it from being a challenge though even if the realm of the obsessive hoarder is something far removed from my experience. Having watched friends and family move house with their mountain of packing boxes and plastic storage containers which more often than not remain unpacked for years as they line the walls and corridors of halls and garages, they sit and gather dust with the contents possibly deteriorating too. Is it the security we associate with what we think is inside? Then there are of course the purpose-built storage facilities, dotted around the country for those unable to loosen the grip of particular objects. Unlike the commercial function of storing wares do we hold on sunconsciously thinking about the ‘rainy day’ or is it an escape into a nostalgic pleasure indulging in checking the boxes of mini histories? There are times when unpacking a box feels like Christmas. What a surprise to find that postcard, those old trinkets, grandma’s porcelain cups or an uncle’s 8mm film projector again. Yes of course part of my mini biography nestles there.

Again a fond journey begins remembering when I would secretly help myself to a chocolate from the delightful glass bowl or watching my father using the knarled pliers to recover his canvas frames. Surely they don’t have to be discarded? Well one could always bring them to the local antiques fair – can I make time for it? The cycle begins again as I pack them away or not!. They can go or perhaps there is a little space tucked away at the back of the cupboard. Yes I’ll keep the pliers and the bowl can go. Which boxes in the garage and on top of the wardrobe are next? May do this more often methinks!

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