A De-Junking Journey

My plans for retirement as recorded on this blog include de-cluttering our home and as recent blog entries have suggested I am on target with this. So much so that this week even Mister E has been inspired to tidy up his own area of our communal study.

Many years ago I acquired a book entitled "How to Stay De-junked Forever" by Dawna Walter ( a well-meaning relative possibly gave it to me, I do not recall). It was based on a TV series by the BBC called The Life Laundry which must have aired some 12 years ago.

The book emphasises that "de-junking is a way of life, not a one-time experience" and then seeks to prove the need to embrace its rallying call for change with a series of surveys on readers' shopping habits, state of their home, cleaning practices, their emotional responses and the effect on their relationships. 

Interestingly, I perused the book this week with the aim of conjuring up a dose of motivation to move my de-cluttering process to the next level, and noted that pre-retirement my survey answers showed that whilst I had never sunk to the depths of clutter and disorder taking over my life, I was suffering from days where everything dragged me down. Now, however, it would seem that the same survey recognises the progress I have made and concludes that I am "on the right track to leading a clutter-free existence" albeit with room for improvement. 

Apparently the next step on my de-junking journey is "to take a close look at each room... and make sure that it is as comfortable, welcoming and suited to (our) needs as it can be." Somehow I had never expected that throwing away objects accumulated over preceding decades would be so difficult.


Debra Journet said…
Ah, the great de cluttering quest! I have gone through my closets so many times, sorting out what I don't and do wear, giving away stuff that I must (sadly) admit, I will NEVER fit into again. You would think that after so many bags of stuff for Goodwill, I would have completely bare hangers. But somehow it never seems to happy. Yet again I must go into the dreaded closets.

When I retired I emptied my office of 40+ years of files and papers and books fairly easily. I dispassionately threw away all the files I hadn't looked at in years and gave almost all my books away to students. Now to approach the house with as much vigor and determination.

We have decided that next spring when we return from the lake, we are going to sell our too-big house and buy a condo in a secure building. We are away so much, we want something we can lock the door and leave without worries. But that will mean de cluttering not just the rooms we live in, but the garage and attic and basement. A task that seems so formidable, I am almost ready to not move. But I love my little house in Michigan so much because it is entirely free of clutter. It was empty when we moved in and it only has what we specifically wanted for it.

My fantasy is a condo with the same spareness. But it will be much more difficult to achieve.
Caree Risover said…
I understand your fantasy but unfortunately I don't think I am yet capable of planning to downsize; sadly I still have far too much de-cluttering to do before that becomes a realistic possibility!
Debra Journet said…
I hope selling the cluttered house and buying something smaller will make the fantasy a necessity. I used to move a lot (averaging about 4 years in any one place). I have been in our Louisville house for 26 years. So. . . .

We are going to burn our tax records and accumulated stuff, because everything in the possible period of audit is online. We have already de-cluttered our kitchen when we renovated several years ago. The really difficult part will be what I inherited from my grandmother and mother (china, silver, etc. I seldom use). I don't have children and my sister only has boys and really no one uses that kind of thing anymore. But I can't get rid of it. So that will be a challenge.
Caree Risover said…
We find it hard to get rid of anything with a potential use - "It might come in handy" is Mister E's stock phrase as he stows everything away from odd bits of string and cardboard boxes to broken parts and old towels! I think it's a habit we acquired from our parents and which remained very much the pattern until probably sometime in the 1970's when wealth became more widespread and the throw away society began to emerge in the UK.

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