The Science of Decluttering!

Declutter: a verb meaning to remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place).

— to simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications

We all know about that, right? There are several interpretations of that, of course — be it to declutter a room, declutter your life, or in a writing sense, to lose the pleonasms, redundant phrases, repeated information, clichés… etc. Right? Got it?

Whatever form it takes, the end result is the same: a feeling of well-being.

No one needs excess for the sake of it. In fact, in another literal sense, I have a hoarder character who appeared in a short story of mine but who has been developed in Dotty. She is not Dotty by the way, or she might be the verb ‘dotty’ I guess. Is there such a verb? (reaches for a dictionary)… well she does have a house full of stuff and slowly the people in the street help her remove it and keep only what’s needed: much like editing. Deciding is not so easy though… hence my job as an editor, to show you how to do that!

There are many such editing analogies, and from time to time we all need to edit our own lives. Maybe even a ‘Facebook purge’ (not that I ever did that!). I started doing a physical declutter yesterday though — to make room for the new. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate over the years. Yikes! We put it in boxes, memories, keepsakes, old photographs… God, I have a lifetime of things (and these are already from decluttering every time I moved!)

SO: If we never look at them, then do we need them? But how do we throw away everything? In editing I say if you have to kill the darlings why not put them in a file and later you might bring them back to life in something else in another form? So with that in mind, I made a memory box last night.  Just one… careful editing was needed!

Let me explain.

When I moved here over two and a half years ago I had a lot of plastic storage boxes I’d bought for the purpose and while the stuff I needed is around me in my office and bedroom a lot of it is in the shed, dry and safe and stored… but still somehow gathering dust. Now that I am preparing for the next chapter and a new home with Mal I decided it needed decluttering — again, and bear in mind this is the declutter from when I moved! It’s like the many layers of editing, like a sieve so we take out some things in round one, more in round two and so on… you get the picture!

But why do we hold on to so many things?

Books… I mean a ton of books… that I have not needed and many won’t be read again… so more to charity. I have just kept what I felt I needed, so books that have been signed to me, books I just love, DVDS too. I was pretty ruthless.

But what of old photos…? I have a ton of framed photos of Lee and I. I have mementos and cuddly toys and even a grief box of things from a sad time, poems etc. Is is cathartic to let all of these things simply go, or will we need them one day… to remember? What if I lose my memory?

It was weird doing this last night and we still have the rest to do, but Mum and I set to it after a full day of my ‘literary’ editing work.

What I learned was life is about what’s inside but… sentimental things do matter. Just don’t ‘overclutter’. How can you move on if you hold on to much of this? And I mean that in all senses.

One day I will get great pleasure and probably find some sadness too, looking back at the things but they are still part of my life, and so should never be erased. But I have got rid of what I don’t need (like editing) and kept some things that are part of me. One box is enough. The rest of the things will live inside me as memories.

The photos will be in a book now and the frames, well some of them, will be for new memories now, right?

Part of my old life will be passed onto charity for someone else to enjoy and only some of the things will go with us to our new life. I feel that is right and I am sure Mal will be doing the same. And I also know Lee will approve. I can’t believe how many photos I have of him in frames 🙂 Lovely, but now for the memory box, although I think one will be in my office. One small one and I know Mal will smile at that.

The new office will house photos of both Mal and I’s achievements: the things that remind us that we both took a journey to get to this point, and that’s why we are who we are today, and why we love one another for who we have become because of that journey. Which is why we find a balance between what we need and what we can let go. ❤

This week I will tackle the rest of the boxes as I make way for the new. Embrace the change.

Life is a journey of lessons and one thing I know, all of it makes you YOU so don’t forget that. But decluttering once in a while is an empowering feeling; in whatever form you do it.

Why not declutter one part of your life today? 

Have a great week everyone!



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