the AAGH zone

It is easy to lapse into a false sense of security.  Over the past few weeks we have had end of term and friends staying and auditions and university visits and parties and surprisingly enough the declutter has taken a back seat.

I have taken much that has already been decluttered off to its new homes but the remainder of the house has been untouched.  I have a confession to make.  I cannot lay the blame completely at the door of all the other activities  going on around me.  I have decluttered as far as the AAGH zone.

We all have an AAGH zone.  Sometimes they are just one zone, commonly the attic or the basement.  In our case it is the outside playroom.  The place where “things we don’t really know what to do with” meet “things that we need to keep but not in the house” (tents, sleeping bags, tins of paint etc).  Back to the theory that stuff attracts stuff and it is not long before the AAGH zone has sucked in so much stuff that you probably can’t open the door (we can’t).

Sometimes there are little AAGH zones scattered around the house.  The “present cupboard” which does indeed hold presents for other people which you have seen during the year and know will be just perfect for their birthday in six months time.  But also holds those free gifts you got at the make up counter thinking you could use as a present but never have, because just as you don’t want them, neither will anyone else.  More magnetic stuff attraction goes on here too.

With regard to that free stuff.  Say no.  Really, you can do it.  Do you want a twee little washbag to go with all the other twee little washbags you have?  Do you want all those little plastic bottles of stuff you don’t use? No?  Then say so.

We have both types of AAGH zone and neither can be done in one fell swoop, hence the procrastination and use of excuses.  Tomorrow I am going to the wonderful Nichola for my weekly reflexology and chinwag session.  After that I will be more than ready to tackle the AAGH zone under the Victorian staircase.

What is your AAGH zone and what is stopping you stepping inside it?

refuse

Removing things we neither need nor want is, to all intents and purposes, shutting the door after the first horse has bolted.  The first step is to stop those things getting in the house in the first place.  The first R in Bea Johnson’s mantra is Refuse.

What can I refuse to let into my home?

  • Packaging
  • Junk Mail
  • Bags (plastic/paper etc)
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Food
  • Disposable items
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • Plastic bottles
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Knick Knacks
  • Freebies
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Impulse purchases
  • Guilt purchases

pantry

That’s not your usual list.  I’ve highlighted a few that you might not have expected to see.  How can we get by without food for example?  But I didn’t say no food, I mean food we don’t need.  Look at just one shelf in your cupboard and take everything out.  Put back ONLY the things that you know you need.  Do you need

  • The bag of cookies 5 for £1 at the co-op checkout.
  • The super hot chilli sauce you bought at a food fair and is still unopened.
  • The various jars of sauces and marinades.
  • The sushi kit you bought after a great meal out

In our case we have all of the above and the answer is no.  I make better cookies, sauces and marinades hence the jars gathering dust and the stale cookies.  I love sushi but I prefer somebody else to make it.

This is about rethinking how we live and what we need and want to live that life.  Today and tomorrow I am tackling the kitchen.  This is the penultimate big room before I move into the outbuildings.  It is the one I am most scared of doing.  I love to cook, preparing food for family and friends is part of how I show my love and how I nurture and care.  I need to rethink how I can do that without all the unnecessary extras.