I am currently reading the biography and watching the antics of Billy Connelly on television currently searching for the Meaning of Life as he encroaches on his latter years, upon learning of the onset of Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer. The biography unfurls the beginnings of his life as an impoverished welder and banjo player. Connolly’s wry humour is so specific to his delivery and reliant on his ability to describe the most basic of experiences which frame our lives. He prides himself on being undeserving of his fortune, yet happy with his life, even in the light of these recent illnesses.
The word happiness has become synonymous to a new food group, a discovered galaxy, a heightened state of being…something beyond our grasp. When we modify our habits we alter our lives. 75% of people believe that they feel happy when their house is tidy and in order. Contrary to feminist ideals, I am never happier than when my house is ordered and I can find things. It frees up my mind enormously to deal with other issues and pay attention to more important family needs.
“Accumulating things is not something that I have ever consciously done. I first became aware of excess when I opened my bathroom cupboard and saw tubes and tubes, tubs and tubs of face cream, (more than I would use in a lifetime) and three pairs of tweezers. Unbeknown to me I had become the ultimate consumer, spending time looking for things and finding anything but….!!. Upon this realization, I was in the grip of a fevered desire not to end up putting my children in the same dilemma I experienced when I was to clean out the deceased estate of my mother in law. I faced the 10 birko kettles (sans the electrical elements) in her kitchen. There they were lining the kitchen above the wall cupboards. Her siblings casually excused the birko situation saying that she was always going to replace the element…. Not!
This led me to form a pact with a friend to embark on a YEAR of AUSTERITY, only spending money on the three G’s… glamour, groceries and gifts! This essentially meant buying hair dye and dying my own hair (glamour)…one doesn’t need to look feral when starting a new venture!, (gifts) the act of giving away, and (groceries).
If someone had ever asked me if I was extravagant I would have baulked at the stereotype. So where did those 54 pairs of shoes come from? …. (inner thought to self)
In the course of the 12 months, I had to stop my demons constantly, to be reminded of the guidelines of the austerity drive!
Reducing the amount of STUFF we all carry has been a very liberating experience on many levels, allowing the start of a decluttering business ”A CLUTTERLESS LIFE,” with Julie Copson. We deal with small and large jobs, from a room, or a house. We are also called on to rationalize a wardrobe/s for women who like to shop who cannot reduce the amount of clothing.
As Leonardo Da Vinci said ” A cluttered life is a cluttered mind, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. I’m not quite convinced that he would have had these concerns about his atelier, when he was painting the Mona Lisa, but he has been attributed to many pithy apothegms pertaining to household etiquette.
Decluttering, redesigning spaces and being mindful leads to an intrinsic happiness and harmony. If we shed STUFF that we cannot connect with and keep those things which have meaning we will find happiness, according to Marie Kondo in her book “The life-changing Magic of tidying up – The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.
“ When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two, an attachment to the past or a fear of the future”. Baby-boomers especially are called upon to clear out parents’ houses for resale or prior to admission to a retirement village.
In the course of decluttering houses, we have found that the most difficult task is negotiating and handling sentimental memorabilia which, although they may be old and harbor sadness and pain, cannot be disposed of. Holding these items and asking if they ‘spark joy’ is important in dealing with them. The titles of many book chapters resonate with those who struggle with order and stuff, such as Why can’t I keep my house in order?; Finish discarding first!; Tidying by category works like magic; Storing your stuff to make your life shine and The magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life. However like purchasing those beautifully photographed cook books with full coloured images, no matter how much you wish, those dishes would materialize on your dining room table, it’s not going to happen without effort
Having a background in the arts, I have often converted the loved item into an artwork and relegated it from the bottom of the wardrobe to a wall to be seen and admired. Decluttering is mainly not about throwing everything away, instead it is about rationalizing what people have bought, collected and accumulated over the years, which no longer has relevance to their lives now. We bring joy to our clients’ lives just as renovations do, on those at home style shows. They have clean and cleared living areas, tidy wardrobes, and space to think!
Julie Copson and Bernadette Malouf – www.aclutterlesslife.com.au