Declutter All That Clutter!

Like it or not, it’s going to happen eventually. My wife and I had a lovely table in the hallway that didn’t really have any specific purpose. Because it had no destiny other than being an attractive piece of furniture, it was an easy place to set things down on the way in or out of the house. And so, day by day, the table slowly accumulated more and more things, to the point where you could no longer appreciate the fine wood grains of the tabletop since they were hidden under all that stuff. One day I grew annoyed with the situation, because I thought my car keys might have become buried in an avalanche during the night, and I began to go through it all.

At one point I unearthed a box, and asked my lovely wife “Honey, what’s in this box?” Her reply was “Hats.” I opened the box to find that, indeed, it was filled with various hats; beanies, stocking caps, berets, party hats, and even a rumpled old slouch my grandfather used to wear back when he was with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. A box of hats. That was the last straw. I rang up decluttering services in Auckland and enlisted their aid in sorting and removing the accumulated detritus that was threatening to make our home into a hoarder’s hovel. Help came in the nick of time just before I was about to be buried in the overflow of stuff along with my car keys! The clutter was cleared, and the best thing is it all went to charity, a win-win situation if ever there was one.

Since that time, we have put some thought into preventing it from ever happening again. The infamous Box of Hats became a phrase in the private language couples tend to develop (It comes in handy when you have kids, at least until they inevitably decode it) specifically used as a warning against potential clutter flashpoints that might be threatening to blossom into full-blown clutter zones. “Honey, that kitchen counter is beginning to look like a real Box of Hats!” Once identified, immediate action would then be taken to organise and declutter before we needed to call for help again.

We have developed a few other tricks, which we will share with you:

“Are you ever going to use that?” – If the answer is “No”, or even if the question is met with sullen silence, the item is held in quarantine until the final decision, which is our next step.

“Does it stay or does it go?”  – Some thought goes into this one, after all, we probably spent money on the darned thing without even realising it would one day transform itself into clutter. Stay? Proper storage has been implemented and is enforced. Go? Out the door to the local charity, or in some extreme cases, the rubbish bin.

“We spent money on the darned thing.” – The answer to that one is easy- don’t!

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