Once you make a start…

I’ve always been a terrible hoarder. I accumulate ‘stuff’ and keep ‘stuff’ and then get more ‘stuff’. Only in recent years have I made any serious effort to address the habit and get on top of my…stuff.

It’s always been “Oh, I’m sure I’ll need that at some point” or “I’m sure I’ll fit into that soon” or “This is my favourite…”. Always with the excuses.

Right now, I’m in our study, ripping CDs and sending books off to charity. Five years ago, this would have led to me breaking out in a cold sweat. Instead, I’m enjoying all the memories these possessions bring to mind, but I’m also clear that getting rid of them is for the best.

Our new study will be more comfortable and better organised. I want to create a room that’s fun to relax in, not just work in. Out go the old Ikea shelves and the massive, utilitarian desk and in comes a lovely walnut combined desk and bookshelf. It will save so much space. But that’s weeks away.

First, the clutter.

Instead of being a stressful activity, it’s been quite enjoyable. Once you make a start on things like this, it’s nowhere near as bad as you’d feared. And that’s probably how the world works in most ways, I think.

The review of books was a lot easier than I’d thought. I discovered textbooks from my undergrad degree that were either totally irrelevant to my day job or woefully out of date. I removed novels read, books gifted that I’ll honestly never read and a bunch of old sheet music books that I have digital copies of.

I’ve scanned and shredded a small rainforest of paperwork (only scanning the important stuff – I’ve no idea why I still had boarding cards from flights taken four years ago), removed a magnetic pinboard (attracted rubbish) and a magazine rack (attracted unread magazines) and binned an on-desk filing system than seemed to simply breed piles and piles of paper.

When it comes to paper, the fewer paper-friendly surfaces I have, the fewer places I can leave paper to pile up.

The room is looking incredibly messy right now, but already easier to deal with. The books I’m keeping are now in a couple of very tall piles, awaiting their new home on the walnut shelves. The contents of my desk pedestal drawers have been decanted into bags and the dryer unit sold. The tiny wall-mounted TV has been removed – neither TheFrankFlyer nor I could remember when either of us had actually turned it on!

Seeing the progress is motivating. Knowing that by the end of the month, all the new furniture will have been delivered and all the old stuff binned or donated is even more motivating.

This might be the sole useful thing to come out of lockdown!

(Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash)

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