So, because I am exactly the same as everyone else on the Internet, I’m absolutely determined that this will be the year I become a minimalist.
Yes, I’ve been watching the Marie Kondo show on Netflix. How did you guess?
To be fair, it’s not JUST Tidying Up With Marie Kondo that’s behind this decision. I’ve actually been trying my best to declutter for long time now: my closet is currently half the size it was a couple of years ago (Although still obscenely huge by most people’s standards…), and I’ve been using the KonMari folding method for a couple of years, at least. Regular clear-outs are a way of life for me, and my house is frequently described as “minimal” anyway, so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch here, or fighting my way out from underneath a pile of clutter, just to reach my keyboard.
What the TV show – and the discussions it sparked between Terry and I – has helped me realise, though, is that when I’ve tried to declutter in the past, I haven’t been nearly ruthless enough about it. Not even when I THOUGHT I was being totally ruthless.
Take my desk drawers, for instance. I decided to try to “KonMari” them a few nights ago, and, because I clear out my desk fairly regularly, I assumed it would be a pretty quick job, really – one that it would be totally fine to do while Max played on the floor beside me.
No, I have NO IDEA what I was thinking.
I mean, for one thing, randomly pulling things out of drawers is Max’s favourite thing ever, which meant that, every time I tried to put something back into the newly-tidied drawer, he just pulled it right back out again, shrieking with laughter the whole time. For another, though, there was just SO MUCH STUFF to sort through: even in my reasonably-tidy, frequently-cleared-out desk.
Like, I had something like five pairs of glasses in there. FIVE PAIRS. I wear only two of them (Not at the same time, obviously: I tend to keep one pair on my desk, and one pair downstairs somewhere, just so I’m not constantly having to run up and down the stairs, searching for glasses. Yes, I am very lazy. And I’m also STILL constantly running up and down stairs looking for glasses, actually, so, YAY ME! That plan worked out well, didn’t it? ): the remaining pairs have sat in my desk drawer for, ooh, probably around 4 – 5 years now, at least? Now, my prescription hasn’t changed in that time, so I could technically wear them – the problem is, I don’t WANT to. Because, although I liked them when I got them, and they’re a similar style to my other glasses, I’ve never really enjoyed wearing them: I just don’t think they suit me, so I keep on rotating the same two pairs, while the rest never see the light the day.
Despite this, The Unworn Three, as I think of them, have made it unscathed through countless clear-outs now. It hasn’t been a conscious decision, really (Which I guess is the whole problem…), but I’m guessing my thought process here has been something along the lines of, “Well, these are GLASSES. They’re expensive! And even although I don’t think they suit me, I should probably keep them anyway, just in case I change my mind, or lose/break both of the two pairs I DO like!” Which… probably ISN’T going to happen, is it? I mean, I know I’m clumsy, but not even I am likely to break two pairs of glasses simultaneously (Although, who wants to bet I’ll do just that, now that I’ve said I won’t?), and I don’t wear them outside the house, so they’re probably not going to get lost, either. The most important fact here, though, is that, even if I DID manage to lose/break both pairs, I STILL wouldn’t just start wearing one of the pairs I don’t like, would I? No, I’d go out and buy myself a NEW pair of glasses: ones I DID like. And the Unworn Three would continue to be unworn, and to take up space in my desk drawer for absolutely no reason other than that I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of them.
Or not until now, anyway.
Guys, I got rid of the three pairs of glasses. And also two of the three tape measures that had likewise survived every other desk cull until now. (Exactly the same logic here: I was keeping all three just in case I one day lost two of them, and this strange event also happened to coincide with a worldwide shortage of tape measures. Well, I mean, that would’ve been super inconvenient on the approximately two times per year when I need to measure something, wouldn’t it?) And so on and so forth, through all of the countless other items I’d been hanging onto, even although the only time I even look at them is during a clear-out.
They’re all gone now, though. My desk drawers are practically empty: and I’m honestly not exaggerating – like, I was going to take a photo of them for this post, but they’re literally just empty drawers, and I’m sure you can all imagine what empty drawers are like, right? Look, here’s a photo of my dressing table, instead:
Yes, I know there are multiple lipsticks and two mascaras in this photo, but when I tell you that, pre-clear-out there was something like 15 lipsticks, and about 5 tubes of mascara, it might be a little bit more impressive. Basically, instead of hoarding tons of products, I’ve kept only the ones that I actually use – and I’m absolutely determined to apply the same philosophy to the rest of the house, too. It’s going going to be a long process, because it’s one I’m having to go through with Max in tow, but this time I think I’m much more likely to succeed in my mission of minimalism, because this time – and I’m still not exactly sure how this happened – I’ve somehow managed to persuade Terry to join me. Well, sort of: I mean, he’s still steadfastly refusing to fold his underwear in the correct ‘filing cabinet’ style, but he’s been slowly clearing out his own desk drawers, wardrobe and other storage, and, earlier this week, he turned to me and uttered words I never thought I’d hear from him:
“Do you want to go to IKEA later this week to buy some storage boxes?” he said.
Guys, I have never loved him more.
So we’re going tomorrow. And then, when we get back, I’m going to empty my entire wardrobe into the middle of the floor, and begin the process of working out just what the hell I’m going to do with it all.