I read a lot about decluttering and hoarding and minimalism and simplicity and all of that stuff, in the hope of finding the magic trick I need to get this hoard out of my house and having a home that looks normal.
If I could, I’d skip the advice that was aimed at people with ‘a bit of clutter’ and focus on advice for those of us with significant hoards, but there just isn’t enough of that available. So, I look at the tips and guidance aimed at people with a few more items of clothing or kitchen equipment than they need, and try my best to apply them in a way that suits my problem.
The thing that provoked this post was hearing some advice about throwing out / giving away one item a day. I understand this as a concept – it feels manageable and consistency is important.
But if a hoarder gets rid of one item a day, it will take them about 480 billion years* to have a tidy home (*may be a slight exaggeration).
So, can advice like this be translated in a way that hoarders can relate to? I guess my goal of getting rid of 100 bags of stuff a month is a seriously super-sized version of one item a day, so the principles of consistency and making continual progress are still there.
Perhaps that means that we can take advice for ‘normal’ people and adapt and apply it in a way that’s more realistic for us. I hope so.
I often like the idea of minimalism. Those beautiful Japanese apartments where the few items that are owned are on display in just the right spot. Those amazing eco-homes where everything has a purpose and is responsibly sourced.
But, then, there are times it makes me shudder. I look at homes like the one in this video and they just look so soulless that I can’t understand how anyone can bear to live there.
Sure, he’s happy, and that’s all that counts. I’m not criticising his choices, I’m just saying there is no way I would ever aspire to owning two pieces of underwear and living somewhere with no personality whatsoever.
Inspired by this video by Gayle Goddard, I have been thinking a lot about what she said about including ‘time to reset’ at the end of a task. This involves making sure that the last few minutes of the time you’ve allocated to a task are given to tidying up after it.
So, if you’re going to do some arts and crafts for half an hour, the last five minutes should be given over to cleaning up and putting things back where they belong.
To naturally neat people, this is probably just common sense. But for people like me, who gave up trying to have any order in her home for far too long, it feels a bit like a revelation.
Often, it seems pointless (oh hi, overwhelm again!), and yet, if we don’t, things get worse, not better. Progress is not just halted, it’s reversed.