We never expected to have so many possessions!

A Clutterless Life

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.  This has lead to the start of a decluttering business ‘A CLUTTERLESS LIFE’ with Julie Copson, my sister and business partner. We deal with small and large jobs, from a wardrobe to a room or a house.  We are often called on to rationalize a wardrobe/s for women who cannot reduce the amount of their 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’.

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 harbour sadness and pain, cannot be disposed of. Holding these items and asking if they ‘spark joy’ is important in dealing with them.