I was talking with my mother earlier today and the conversation inevitably came around to decluttering. The area in question being her wardrobe. She maintains that there is nothing in her wardrobe that the doesn’t like nor anything that doesn’t fit. On the other hand there is enough in there for her to have just taken out several boxes of clothes because the wardrobe was full. It is not a small wardrobe.
That freaked me out. The idea of having that many clothes was scary. I love the fact that it doesn’t take me ages to get dressed in the morning. I love the fact that I have discovered tops and bottoms that I would never have thought of putting together look fabulous. I love the fact that I am much better at layering and thus don’t need so many jumpers (even in the north of England).
So I began to think of other areas where decluttering has actually made my life easier.
The kitchen. I never have to clean a finickety garlic press, it’s long gone, I grate garlic now. I am seriously wondering about keeping my Kenward Chef. I rarely use it. Today I made Bakewell tart and homemade custard for supper. I did the whole thing by hand and with a hand held beater. I would never have bothered to make pudding if I had to get out the Kenward and then wash all the bits up. I make bread by hand because I enjoy the process. The yoghurt maker died and I discovered I could make yoghurt just as easily without it. The kettle died so we started using our stove top one on the aga and/or the hob. Just as quick. Leave it on the side of the aga and the water is always warm and there is a nice space on the kitchen surface where the kettle used to be.
The knicker drawer! I cleared out every single item of underwear other than recently purchased bras that fit and knickers that I wouldn’t mind being caught wearing if I was run over by a bus. To the latter I added 4 pairs of bamboo knickers that I adore and with which I will be replacing all current incumbants as they wear out. Early mornings are so much easier when there are only five pairs of knickers and a couple of bras in your drawer.
The compost bin. The kitchen compost bin has been replaced by a smaller one and the garden compost bin moved closer to the house. Net result nobody minds emptying the compost. That is a BIG result in our house.
Books. Having got rid of books I had held onto for all sorts of reasons, but books I was never going to read again I have discovered some gems that was hidden behind all the rest. Books I had forgotten I had bought but have loved reading …. and passing on.
Oddly enough the area I was most scared about decluttering. The area where I thought I needed all those bits and pieces was the kitchen. That has proved to be the area where decluttering has been the most productive.
4 thoughts on “life is easier without clutter”
Been lurking and enjoying your posts, Gillie, and thank you for all your thoughtful ruminations on decluttering. Quick question: do you think it easier to go through this journey without kids (wait – do you have kids?) in the house? Because no matter how much I try to declutter my stuff, inevitably, what’s most visible are my children’s things: school books, papers, pens, backpacks, toys, clothing, cups, forks, etc. I am surrounded by their stuff. Now, I’m no minimalist myself – my closet still needs tons of overhauling – but living with three other people and their things feels so overwhelming sometimes and prevents me from doing serious chucking.
I have three teenage daughters (two dogs, five cats, two goldfish, one parrot and various chickens… and a husband!). In fact the girls are probably better at decluttering that I am, they have no sentimental qualms. Having said that they are currently sitting GCSEs (the twins) and A levels (the eldest) (public exams at 16 and 18). Consequently the house is covered with revision material. On the grounds I would like them to pass their exams I am turning a blind eye:) As for the rest of the year. Anything that comes home has to go into their rooms or the dirty washing basket. I don’t do games kit on the floor or homework left on the kitchen table. They can work wherever and whenever they like but they have to tidy up afterwards.
Completely with you on all this!! Years ago when we moved from Germany to England, my parents had an enormous 6-door wardrobe and we had to consider the semi-detached houses we were buying according to whether it would fit in (on a small budget, too!) – I think this traumatised me (also the fact that they had to saw the metal-framed bed in half to get it up the stairs – no idea how they put it back together again for use?!!). When it came to my own home, I have always had a thing about furniture not being too big and, I don’t know why, an aversion to electric gadgets (my parents loved to go to any Ideal Home show and bring home junk – a juicer, an electric bread knife, an electric bread slicer…), so I never bought or asked for a lot of things that people consider standard here. It was years before I got a (small) Phillips mixer/blender thing and I do use it quite a bit, now, but managed perfectly well without for a long time. I also use the hand-held mixer for heavy dough and it’s easily accessible, but most of the time I just use a fork or small whisk a Swiss housewife gave me when I had my first daughter (she gave it to me with a small saucepan, saying I’d need it for making up purées – I hadn’t a clue and probably looked very bemused!!). I also use a hand-grater a lot, as well as a simple masher and use only 3 saucepans, a larger casserole pan and one frying pan rather than a whole battery of spacehoggers. Although I do like my electric kettle (not having an AGA!) and we have a tiny coffee machine for my husband (I don’t do coffee), it’s not a problem on holiday where kettles aren’t common and most Swiss just use a pan on the hob for tea water, anyway. I do use my ancient microwave for quick porridge, steaming veg and such, but I might not replace it when it dies. Things many people here have that I don’t: big Kenwood machines, huge coffee machines with bells and whistles, huge ironing “stations” (I have a supersimple steam iron and my mother’s ’60s ironing board…), a deep-fryer or a micro-fryer, an electric milk frother, fancy juicer (mine is a glass dish…!), and a very popular gadget being built into kitchens here is a steamer oven :o. Nor do I have a computerised sewing machine, doughnut maker, waffle maker or induction hob, an enormous double fridge or 2-3 freezers… Just the thought of that is making me feel dizzy and in need of a lie-down.
(After that I might have to search for a pair of knickers because I have rather overdone the decluttering in that department… ;o)
LOL at the knickers I was down to my last pair today as well 🙂