Sort Your Life Out
Sort Your Life Out is the name of a television programme, an episode of which is being transmitted this evening. It's not what you would describe as riveting viewing. Indeed there's a definite sameness about each instalment when Stacey Solomon and a team of decluttering/organisation experts help overwhelmed households empty the contents of their homes into a giant warehouse where they reduce their possessions by at least 50% before restoring those they retain into some kind of order within their property.
My digital TV Guide gives it an excellence score of only 1.2 out of 10 which is probably about right. As somebody who continues to make slow but steady progress in reducing her own collection of stuff, I confess that I still find watching it a little compulsive. Moreover that is despite the fact that I haven't even picked up any good tips or ideas. What it does, however, apart from feed the voyeur within, is offer comfort in droves.
I now take solace from the knowledge that I may be untidy but I am still systematic and a long way from needing professional help. Compared to the show's participants, I clearly have never cherished or put any great value on the junk we have given house room to. In retirement, when I have set myself the task of sorting and divesting, the hardest part, just like when working, has been to make the time to declutter properly. It's never good to compare yourself to other people but a programme like this inevitably forces you to do so. Consequently, I now know that I am ruthless and strategic when attacking a life of accumulation; sadly my desire for an easy life can create difficulty responding to a call to arms. It's so much easier to stay calm and potter, joining the proverbial battle only when the onslaught of surplus items overcomes you.
Retirement though has provided the opportunity to categorise or shred those heaps of important papers that used to cry out for filing and more importantly keep on top of them. With the departure of the eldest, floordrobes are an historic memory. Piles of excess (we have a weakness for useful cardboard boxes) have never impeded us parking two cars in the garage and we have generally resisted the temptation to store items in the loft space.
A surfeit of cupboard space has probably been our major downfall but bit by bit we have worked through it all in the past 7 years and are now about to start a second sweep. If Stacey and her gang were to turn up wanting to convey then spread the contents of our home in a giant barn to reduce them for us, they would be warmly welcomed. In the meantime our gradual and steady progress continues and I shall watch the programme again tonight, my jaw dropping in horror at the magnitude of the task others have created and appreciative of the opportunity to see what chaos is really like.
Call me smug, if you want.