Sunday, June 7, 2015

To Declutter or Not to Declutter....

Aaahh... it's becoming an all too asked question online these days.  Do you declutter and throw away all those wonderful childhood memories of yours and your families, moving them onto a computer disk and into invisible memory sticks and thumb drives? Or do you hold onto them, displaying some chosen few of them on the walls, in cabinets and on the mantle so you remember them well?

Decluttering our lives has become a hobby of ours for years.  Some people have made it a living by coming into our homes, sorting through our personal items and throwing them out for us... and they hardly know us from Adam.  However, exactly what does that do for us? Does it really help us at all? 

You have to really ask if there's still a gnawing feeling that something deeper is wrong; even if we've pinpointed the problem and are 'working on it'. People who hoard and clutter their homes with things do have deeper problems... and believe me when I tell you that I've met a few people who just can't let go of their stuff - because Peter Walsh is right: our stuff has power.

When I moved into my townhouse, I had nothing. The most furnished room in my place was the bedroom; the least was the living room, where I had a bookcase, a folding chair, a box and a portable colour television on a small black tv unit with tiny tinted doors.  Yep, that was my living room... nothing fancy. I nabbed my late-Grandmother's dining table and that was it. 
Now, thirteen years later, I've updated nearly everything in the townhouse; it's barely recognisable. Actually I have everything you'd own in a full-sized house... but it's all squeezed into my townhouse.  Yes, I even have an IKEA fold out lounge (it folds out to a double bed for any visitors who happen to crash at my place - and believe me when I say, that's not very often). 

But I have collected a lot of stuff over those years; and about four years ago, I started cleaning out my house.  It really needed it.  I did have a problem though: every time I gave something away, it was promptly replaced within the week. I hated myself for doing it.
So, I sat down and looked for different ways of decluttering my life... and I found Peter Walsh's Facebook Page, where he gave simple solutions to do what I needed to do - I mean, I had ten minutes every day to clean out a drawer, don't you?

It's been four years and now, my house is 90% done. Okay, there's bits still around that need tweaking, but then, I was expecting that. My home office was the last room to get done and it took me two days to get 95% of this room cleaned out properly... how cool is that?

Now... I'm a collector.

No, not a hoarder - hoarders don't collect. On the television show 'Hoarders' when they go into those poor people's homes, their places are piled high with rubbish, they can't move in them. They physically cannot get around the house without walking on piles and piles of rubbish. 
My house isn't like that. I have stuff sitting around, but I'm forever throwing out and sorting through. I have a huge collection of books - all in bookcases and they are in one room. My vinyls are all stored in their right place in the living room. My dvds are all stored away too; as well as indexed... yes, this makes me a collector, not a hoarder.

So, when it comes to decluttering, I'm on the fence.  I don't mind having my house cleaned out ... but then I don't want to discard so much that my house has no character at all - what's the use of that? Why would I want to keep it so clean it looks like a scientist lives here? A house feels like a home when you make it look lived in, when you add those personal touches of what you're into around the place. It's not cluttering the place up, it's making it your place.

These people who are minimalists really aren't looking at life or a house as it should be: a place where you can come to escape the outside world.  I remember hearing that your home is your castle - and it's true of no matter where you live.

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