Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Declutter your life

Titles like this make me laugh out loud. A character in a novel I am reading is a presenter for a TV show where she declutters people's homes. The irony is that she has trouble living up to her own standards. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!! It feels good to laugh at something like that. ;-)

I am a magpie by nature, an accumulator of stuff. I am not a shopper; I find shopping malls and kids with credit cards truly terrifying concepts. I have never bought a metal detector online nor a pair of boots with springs on the soles. (We have a friend who has done both.) I don't have rooms full of shoes, clothes, makeup, and assorted 'product'. However, I do collect up bits and pieces over a period of several years, then suddenly realise that I don't need (or want) it all.

The urge to purge has arrived, not in full force but enough to make me want to start pruning out bits and pieces from my stuff. I'm surprised, as it is currently mid-April and the urge usually only happens for one week some time in January, although my purge-clock has been somewhat askew these past two years. And so now I have a mild dose of it in April. Some stuff has already made it onto Trade Me. Other things were filed in the correct place (eg two years' worth of bank and credit card statements), while some stuff went directly to the bin. There is plenty more to do. I don't like simply throwing things away if they could be sold, donated, or reused, so I try to do this wherever possible.

My weak point, however, is in getting rid of presents from my former students, when I know they were so carefully chosen for me, yet are either:
  1. hideous
  2. incredibly childish, or
  3. entirely useless.
Some gifts fall into all three categories. It took several years to eventually burn the Samoan fale made out of a highly-polished upturned coconut shell (which I saw in abundance in the Samoan flea markets while I was there), but I still have the dreadful 2-inch long red painted wooden parrot earrings brought back by a girl who had visited Vanuatu with her family. Actually, I'm sure I could wear the earrings if we ever have a bad taste party. But what will I do with the plastic coffee mug which holds our class photo from 1998? Please don't say "drink out of it"; I can't even regift it! It's unlikely that I will ever see many of these students again, and even less likely that they will remember what they gave me in years gone past and demand to see it, so why can't/don't I just biff it?

Is there a gift that you've received which falls into either (or all) of the above categories, yet you cannot bring yourself to part with it? Is there any hope??


Sab said...

I've had that too... in the end I take a photo of the item, categorize it (I love the digital age) and then get rid of it... because I can't stand clutter!

Good luck!

Em said...

I always have a hard time parting with my kids' schoolwork. It's piled up on my closet shelf. I'm proud of what they've done but how many good papers/classwork do I really need?

I've been reading your blog awhile, but I'm not very good in the comment department.

Kellee said...

10 years is more than enough for sentiment. I say purge :)

Christylea said...

I too have a tough time getting rid of things. The drawers of my desk are just full of 'stuff' that I cannot bear to part with. I also live in great fear of credit cards and prefer not to shop too much.