17 Jan 2023

I have what I would call clutter of the mind as well as my space… However, physical clutter is another thing. Recently we attempted to clear my 90 year old father in law's house. He never chucked anything away. Six of us in a three bedroomed house at points, falling over each other and boxes, some of which had very interesting contents. 

Two of them are pretty toxic (people, not boxes) so you can imagine the tension. Transfer the tension of moving physical things and attachment to objects and have it in the upstairs of your house instead. We finally sold the dark bedroom furniture which heralds the way for the mammoth clear up job to transform two rammed rooms into two clear spaces. One for guests which is simple, functional and there are places for the remaining things. The other room will be for listening to music, reading, sewing, arts and crafts and just chilling – an upstairs bolt hole. To say I cannot wait for this is an understatement. 

We moved the stairs around nearly a year ago. Several things happened in between. Boxes have come back to our house every time we visited on holiday to his parents, leading to more unopened boxes and stuff here. So I want to break the cycle so that my stepdaughter doesn't have the recent faff we had in years to come. 

Yesterday, after moving two wardrobes downstairs at an awkward angle which hurt my hand, I went back upstairs and cried really hard. You may ask why... a questioning about a hat and a careless comment about a plastic hanger and a t-shirt had me throwing the remainder of my husband's clothes on the guest bed, unbeknown to him. Having to contain that anger and frustration at all this stuff around. 

He comes from a family of collecters/hoarders. Dad was a collector, sister is a serial hoarder and he is somewhere in between. The “stuff” everywhere has come between us and I have seriously reduced my stuff, to the point that I try to take things out if I bring stuff in. Stuff is not important. We can't take it with us. Having objects of beauty that you appreciate and respect and see or use is. But the rest can go. 

We have a semi-rammed garage, mostly of his stuff, which he hasn't gone through and has had issues with a previous person he lived with throwing his stuff out without consultation. Despite my frustration, I have never done this. But this stuff collecting runs in his family and it is so so hard to break the cycle. Negotiation is key but yesterday, I had had enough and it all came out in sobs. 

Clutter is a menace if it gets out of hand. Marie Kondo says if it doesn't spark joy, say thank you and goodbye to it and she's right. I've had enough of “stuff” to last me a lifetime. I always used to joke that we were maximalist but minimalism has its place, or a meet in the middle, a compromise, which is what we badly want and need. Wish us luck.


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