Is it clutter if you can’t see it?

I decided to update the look of the blog. I’ve played around for a while and decided that this one is the closest to what I wanted. I’d prefer the blue boxes on the right to be a little more subtle but a colour-change is only available if I upgrade my WordPress account to a Business User one and I’m not prepared to pay that much.

One of the things that people tend to hoard is magazines so to discover that there is a magazine devoted entirely to decluttering seems faintly ridiculous.  It even contains a deluttering timetable!  I didn’t buy this – I found it at the gym.

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I’ve written before that I am not a fan of decluttering one’s wardrobe since I find that the wearing of clothes is cyclic. What is unloved one season can easily pop back into favour a year or two later when teamed with some other item. I’m not taking here about fashion trends since I rarely follow them, preferring my own style which has been developed over the years as a result of combining what I like with what suits.  Apart from the odd thing that I absolutely know I’ll never wear again (usually something that was never completely in favour anyway), I keep my clothes.

But there are certainly other areas of my home that benefit from the occasional declutter – the contents of my nail polish drawer for example!  It’s a job not carried out for some time and it needs doing.

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Decluttering my kitchen cupboards is a task I often start but never finish. They’re pretty tidy but they are over-full. I do find myself wondering how many plates a family of two actually needs? As for serving dishes, I could host a party for 50 and still have some left over but as with clothes, I go through phases of which I favour.  I ‘ll refrain from commenting on the food cupboards – try as I might to do it differently, I hold my hands up to dismally failing to curb my overbuying of food habit. The freezer is Ok for now though, after last week’s tidy up.

I have recently achieved a small success…my baking ingredients used to be squashed into a too-small cupboard but a recent re-jigging of china and glassware has resulted in freeing up a slightly larger one and it’s so much easier to find what I need.  I have a free day today… (after a weekend staying at my son and daughter-in-law’s looking after their daughters whilst Mum and Dad were away)…  I feel a cake coming on!

Our loft is a little world all of it’s own. I swear a family could move in and find everything that they needed!  Some time ago, finding that access and egress through the small loft-hatch was becoming more onerous, husband knocked the back out of a landing store cupboard and put in stairs which allows for much easier access. This means that it is now easier to pop things in there temporarily. Unfortunately, ‘temporary’ tends to be undefined and seems to effortlessly slide into permanence. Many readers will understand what I mean when I say that husband’s car knows its own way to the council tip and yet, despite our (i.e. husband’s) constant efforts to reduce the loft’s contents, they continue to multiply with alarming speed.

The fact is that we have too much of almost everything – too many books we’ll never read again (and definitely too many uni textbooks that I can’t bring myself to discard), too many dvds and cds that we’ll never watch or play again, too many cushions, too many  towels, too many card-making bits….and so on.  A comment on an earlier post, in which I showed a picture of my office, said that my workstation was tidy.10

But see below the other side of the same room!

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I would just add that my office at work is pristine and the rest of my house is always tidy. I’m not quite sure why I struggle to be the same in this room. I sat here thinking about this for a while and have come to the conclusion that what I need in here are cupboards!  Which raises the question – is it clutter if you can’t see it?

 

26 comments

  1. PS to my earlier lengthy comment: I learned to part with books when I used to help out occasionally in a friend’s bookshop (2nd hand and antiquarian) and realized that the world would not end if I parted with a book, and heaven forefend, pop one that was really on its last read into the recycling bin. Today I parted with another load of paperbacks and another pile of my beloved magazine collection. I am now having to consider weeding further magazines, I hate this as I’ve parted with the least-loved ones, and now the really-loved ones are the ones that are left, but when you have 25 years’ of them, then you know you have to do something about it.
    But 25 coats, Alison, for your husband? Surely you could sneak just a few of them to the charity shop without him noticing? He sounds not so much a collector but a hoarder. But I suppose taking them without his approval would be too sneaky, not the kindest thing to do. Show him the small space you have for your clothes and then the huge amount of clothes he has, and he might just give way a little. I know I’d do the sneaky thing and get rid of some, ha ha!
    Margaret P

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you found yourself looking through the magazines as you decide which ones must go…and getting engrossed? I thought about Alison’s husband’s coats and realised that if I counted up my summer and winter coats, macs, jackets I wouldn’t be far off. Twenty four!!

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  2. I lived on my own. I loved it and my wee abode was extremely uncluttered. A family member completely guilted me into us moving into a house together. I now live in an overcrowded house where there is barely even room to move. And it’s not from my possessions. I can’t even find room at my small table to eat. Each time that I go away, I come back to find even more stuff has been bought & shoved artistically into our crowded home. It is clutter, even if someone thinks that it is artistic. Our third bedroom is full of ‘stuff’, a darned mess. The door has to be kept closed. Is it clutter if we cannot see it? Clutter completely overwhelms me.

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    • Everyone should feel comfortable in their home, whether their preference is for minimalism or clutter or something in betwee. It must be awful sharing with someone who has very different ideas. That’s such a shame, Ratnamurti.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi yes I am fine, I haven’t commented for a while as I have been having trouble for some reason, but hopefully all will be ok now. I started blogging again after chopping and changing so much this is my last time now. I like your new blog look, I shall add you to my reading list.
        Best wishes
        Marlene
        https://rosesandraindropsjournal.blogspot.com/

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        • Glad you like it, thank you. Glad too that you are back blogging (you must have missed it)! Unfortunately I am unable to leave messages on blogs that only offer Google log ins…I don’t know why. Perhaps it is something of an incompatibility between WordPress blogs and Blogger. I don’t know enough about it. I know Blogger changed access types again recently. I can comment on Name/URL.

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          • Hi I have changed the settings, so anyone can comment, I still moderate the comments before publishing hopefully it will be ok now, if you have the time and don’t mind could you try so I know whether it works ok or not.
            Best wishes
            Marlene

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  3. I like my ‘clutter’ because it’s not clutter to me, it’s personal possessions! Clutter is yesterday’s newspaper but not my lovely magazines, nor my books. I do part with some books, novels that I didn’t finish because I wasn’t enjoying them, but mainly I hang on to the non-fiction even if it was used only once for research for an article. How can I part with a whole section of books on the history of suburbia, for example, all of them so interesting, but which I shall never actually have need of again?
    As for my nail polish – the tiny bottles live in the fridge which, so I was once told, was the best place to keep them from going gluey. I do need to refine that collection to just two or three favourites, but in a normal-size house removing about 20 tiny bottles isn’t going to make a whole lot of extra space, is it?
    If we all de-cluttered to the extent that we are currently being advised to de-clutter, there would be no family archives for our children, grandchildren or those who follow. I was fortunate that my family didn’t throw things away and I have the lovely old copper-plate handwritten receipts for all the things concerned with my maternal grandparents’ wedding in 1897, even the hire of a horse and carriage which was the mode of transport then, not just something fancy to have today. And had they been popular in years gone by, just think of the treasures that could’ve found their way to car boot sales which, instead, I now have in my possession?
    So, take care when de-cluttering that babies aren’t chucked out with bathwater. Minimalism is a current trend, just as painting everything neutral was a decade ago and now colour is back with us. Eloise, you are right, clothes are cyclic, and so are most other things – food trends (think of nouvelle cuisine in the 1980s, and how that suddenly disappeared, it must be due for a reappearance under a different name!) and interiors trends. What matters is keeping our homes and possessions tidy, in neatly-sorted cupboard, shelves and drawers, and having a tidy up every so often.

    By the way, love the new-look to your blog!
    Margaret P

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    • Thank you, Margaret. I’m glad you like the new look. It’s a bit more interesting, I think. I agree absolutely with regard to family history items. I have quite a few things which fall into that category and hope that these would remain in the family. I am not at all the minimalist, nor do I aspire to be, but there is certainly some clearing out to be done – all those bits and pieces which ‘might come in useful’.

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  4. Sigh, yes, it is clutter even if you can’t see it, or so I’ve been told! I’ve too much, myself, because I like to hold on to things. Then, to make things worse, I look online at what people have been able to make with all sorts of discarded items and I am even more reluctant to toss things, because I keep thinking, “I could make something like that!” One of the things I plan to do when I retire is go through the house and do another big declutter, again.

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    • Haha, those ‘other people’ always seem to manage to get it right! I do have a sort out from time to time then end up putting half of it back. On the occasions that I manage to get rid, I rarely miss what it is that I got rid of!

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  5. Yes it’s still clutter if you can’t see it. Clutter is one of the things I really struggle with and no, it’s not mine. I think I have the opposite problem to people who hoard, in that having stuff around makes me feel very uncomfortable. I don’t know why but I have always been this way. I just wish the others who live here felt the same way. X

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    • I think I’m probably somewhere in the middle. I do have a lot of stuff but it’s tidied away so the house doesn’t look cluttered. There are things that need to be sorted out though. It’s hard when you have a young family because toys take up so much space but apart from a couple of baskets of grandchildren’s toys, I really can’t use that as an excuse.

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  6. I think it is clutter if you cant see it. I’d say just start small and maybe work one shelf at a time. It will improve your mental space and physical too. One thing I’ve learned since becoming a minimalist is the ‘white space’ notion, that have some areas ’empty’ even if it’s half a shelf as somehow it frees up the visual. Best in you journey!!!

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    • It’s definitely cathartic to have a clear out. My rooms are generally quite uncluttered…until you open the cupboards🙁

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  7. My house is less cluttered than my husband would like but more cluttered than I would like! I like to get rid of stuff I don’t need any more. I do keep some books but only ones I know I will reread a few times. He finds it almost impossible to get rid of a book, even when it’s one that somebody has passed on to him which was from a charity shop in the first place. He will, after much persuading, let these go back to a charity shop but it sometimes feels like you are wresting it out of his hand….

    And coats. I know you say about clothing being cyclical but nobody needs 25 coats. I’ve had to move my clothes out of the wardrobe and squeeze them into a single chest of drawers because he has filled up all the wardrobe space.

    So, I don’t think you need cupboards, you need to get rid of some stuff but my husband would say you need cupboards and ones with space for even more stuff 😉

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    • Haha 25 coats. I concede that you’re right here! We really do need to be more ruthless and after posting this I took the bull by the horns and emailed the university library. They have a sale of textbooks at the start of each new year so I’ve asked when they are collecting. Some of them are new editions printed in 2015/6 so still used on the course.

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