Doing away with Clutter

Renovations of the dining and living area of our modest 3 bedroom apartment have finally begun. Have been living with the same look and furniture for the past 17 years except for some minor changes or a new paint job now and then, so we decided that it was time we went for a complete makeover.

The process began with the initial planning of the changes that would be made and things that would remain as it is. This was one major hurdle. As is the case with all married couples and more so for those who’ve been enduring each other for more than two decades, we couldn’t agree on most of the things initially. I wanted a completely new look whereas he just wanted to make some minor alterations. But my motto for a happy married life is-

“Always agree to whatever your Husband says-so he’s happy;

then go ahead and do what you wanted to- so you’re happy too”

So finally I convinced him to see most things my way and agreed to some of his suggestions too. A truce was called and we went ahead.

We selected the various agencies for the work, that is, the mason,carpenter,electrician, painter, etc. and the work began.It was then that, much to my amazement, I realized the amount of stuff there was in all places possible. ‘Amazement’ because I am a ‘clutter hater’ person. I systematically throw away the useless stuff from time to time. And yet I see that clutter has a habit of finding it way back, quietly, into my home and occupying all available spaces. It is also helped, of course, by my husband and daughter who are ‘ clutter lovers’. They, unlike me, hate to throw anything away.

The clutter in my home can be segregated into different categories-

1. Emotional clutter- this includes all things with high emotional quotient. So all the drawings, paintings, made by my daughter ever since  she could hold the crayons, my husband’s first stethoscope, briefcase, gifts from close friends(even those that have fallen apart), a shell from the beach where we went honeymooning, and other such things are lovingly stored away. Even now my wish to change the sofas was met with a lot of opposition by my daughter saying” I grew up on these” until I pointed out that that’s precisely the reason they have to be changed. Believe me, I’ve been declared an unemotional person many a times.

2.Mementos- these include the things belonging to our family or members of the family. I wouldn’t mind if these were family heirlooms, like pieces of jewelry, paintings by the masters, and the likes, but that is usually not the case. But the things that are, I don’t think I can even mention them here.

3.To be used some day- this category bugs me the most. I’ve got piles of unused pens, little jars and bottles, pieces of wood-boards, old spectacle frames, you name it. Though to be honest and at the risk of being exposed, I’ll confess that I do away with them on the sly leaving enough so as not to arouse suspicion.

4.Things that can neither be used nor given away- I have closet full of things that have been either given or gifted to me on various occasions. I have no use for them but cannot give them away either. Some are beautiful and usable but I have no space to display them, some do not fit, some that I can use only one at a time and the rest have to wait for their turn.

5. Simply “Do Not Throw That” category- this can include the most mundane things that I’ve been strictly told to leave well alone, no arguments entertained.

I’m not too sure if I’ve missed any category. But if you have any suggestions please enlighten me.

Every year ‘Diwali Cleaning’ (our annual cleaning similar to spring cleaning) yields a good harvest of all things that I can give away.

I then call the people from an institute here named ‘Blind People’s Association’ who accept, besides donations, things you don’t need. They use whatever they can, sell the rest and use the money for the disabled.

Kills two birds for me- one, I get rid of things I don’t need; and two- feel good about having my things put to good use.


13 thoughts on “Doing away with Clutter

  1. Hi! I’m working on a decluttering project of my own. It’s good to see your post here as I have the same sort of categories. I’d add the category: Stuff I Just Don’t Need! And I think there needs to be a Paper category as so many people seem to have this one. Just some thoughts from a fellow blogger working on ridding the home of too much stuff!

  2. “Always agree to whatever your Husband says-so he’s happy;then go ahead and do what you wanted to- so you’re happy too”!! I hope that’s what people call as understanding. 🙂 Is n’t it?
    I have never heard before about Blind people Association, who receive things which we no more use for any purpose. You did a great thing by giving them all those stuffs, for a wonderful cause.

  3. Blind people’s association is an Ahmedabad based organisation that has been doing great work in rehabilitating disabled people. what’s wonderful is that they impart a sense of being ‘not dependent’ and dignity to these people, which is why it feels good to help in the little ways that we can.
    And as for the understanding between the husband and wife — its complicated but time teaches you a lot. When you commit your ‘mistake’ i can give a few pointers and help your better half(BTW wife is always the better half and it helps if you acknowledge it too)..:) 🙂

    • Ha Ha! 🙂 For sure I will seek your advice when the time will come. But for now I am intelligent enough to stay away from committing that mistake. 🙂
      Jokes apart, Blind people’s Association is doing a great work by rehabilitating disabled people; But are they active only in few states or in every state?

      • am not too sure. maybe bpa is here only. I’ve given the link to its website in my post so maybe that will help you get the info you need. if i find something i’ll let you know..:)

  4. Hema, loved this! I do this as well. There are some things that just simply do not bring me joy. I look at them and keep them because they occupy a space or corner and I’ll hesitate because, if I get rid of it, what will I put in its place? Then I realized that space is nice, some empty spaces and that a clutter-free place feels so much better than one filled with things that you don’t even like! And, I believe if you don’t free up some of those spaces, then new things cannot come in — both literally and metaphorically. It takes time, patience and effort but it is always so worth it. Sounds as if you did a very nice job of accomplishing this! Great post!!

  5. Whenever I feel unsettled, upset or overwhelmed I will organize a closet, a drawer, something and set a goal of how many things I want to get rid off. Eliminating clutter and letting go of stuff brings balance back to my brain! 🙂 Good luck with your remodeling project. Hope you took/are taking lots of before, during and after photos.

    • Decluttering is my mantra to detox. I always feel so light after removing all unwanted things from the house. Ooops.. Havn’t taken any ‘before’ pictures of my place. This would have been a good project.. I’ll definitely remember to do when I tackle the bedrooms. Thanks for reminding, 🙂

  6. Pingback: iMade | hemadamani

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