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.