Saturday, 14 July 2012


Hello once more dear reader, bit of a long one this post, so make sure you have a cuppa or glass of your favourite tipple before you start.

I want to talk to you about clutter. When you are starting off in life, you really don't have that many possessions. Just what you need, not much more. But then, you get married, get a house and garden if you are lucky and then something quite amazing happens. You start to acquire things. Now everyone does this, especially if you utter those terrible words, "Let's keep it just in case". Those of my generation were brought up with mending things, repairing items that had stopped functioning as they should. Only when something couldn't be repaired was a new item purchased. Nowadays, it is more of a throw away society, brought about in no small way by cheap imports and the ready availability of new  products. I remember one of my uncles having a job repairing small appliances like irons. He had that job for about twenty years.
What do we do if an iron goes wrong these days? Throw it away and buy a new one for about twenty pounds or even less, all with a guarantee for a year and you can take it back for a refund if it fails!

But, those terrible words "Just in case" rear their ugly head again and again. I have a confession, dear reader, do you have a moment?........

I recently started to clear out our loft. Now, you must understand that when we moved into our house just over thirty-five years ago, the loft was empty. Well, except for the dirt that had been blowing through the roof tiles for a number of years. But in the present day, until I started clearing things out, it was unrecognisable, full of stuff, stored, "just in case". I found, much to my horror, amazement and amusement, that I had kept three hoovers and two microwave ovens, "just in case". In case of what? In case the price of scrap steel goes through the roof and I become a rich man overnight? In case I can suddenly wave a magic wand and make the things work again? Then why? Why? That is the question that set me on the path of being utterly ruthless in my quest to de-clutter. Read on, dear reader, if you will, it might be good for you.

I had some simple but important rules that I followed. When unexpectedly coming across something that I was tempted to keep, I asked myself these questions....
1) Does it work?
2) If it is in the loft, do I REALLY want it?
3) Did I look for it, need it, or use it in the past year?
If the answer to any of the above was no, then it was discarded.

After I got bored/tired of sorting the loft, I started to look around the house........ be afraid, be very afraid.....
I started to look in the cupboards and drawers that had "stuff" in them. I took everything out, cleaned the cupboard or drawer and started to evaluate the items I had taken out. Using the above rules plus one other...
4) Does it serve a purpose/does it enhance my life?
Again, if the answer is no, then out it goes. Simple. Well it is if you are honest and ruthless. I filled three black bin liners of superfluous "stuff" just sorting the lounge. Nice. Oops, there I go again, sorry, Mr. Walsh!

The thing is, it has made our house much tidier, there are only the things that really belong in each room and we can find all the items we require with ease, that were once hidden behind all the "stuff".
But, the unexpected benefit is that it has also cleared our minds of clutter, we know where things are, we know we use those items and need them. The best thing though, is there are no unnecessary ornaments collecting dust and taking up room (are there any necessary ornaments?), no, so where is the black bin liner please?

Start today dear reader, take it slowly but keep on until you only have the things you use and need. Go on, there is no time like the present.........


  1. Hi Grandad

    I can really relate to your blog. From a family of hoarders i have find it really difficult to throw away any of my possessions, even some items I know I won't ever use. The guilt of wastage hangs heavy upon me. However I have recently discovered the joy of Online sellings sites such as Ebay and Gumtree. Knowing that it will be used again makes it easier to clear out my clutter (the additional small profit helps too if you don't mind the hassle of posting the item).

  2. Ah, Scarlet, what a beautiful name! I too have sold many things on E-bay, it is quite surprising that what we might not need any more is so sought after by others. I absolutely love the phrase "The guilt of wastage hangs heavy upon me" May I have your permission to use that sometime in the future? With credit given to you of course! I could write a post just from that one sentence of yours! Best wishes for a clutter free home and please feel free to comment when you wish.