THERE'S nothing like a good de-clutter. It's liberating to let things go, although never as easy as it sounds. I was talking to a friend the other day about this.
They were moving house.
In the process, they were having a massive cleanout, working out what was going with them and what was going to the bin.
And in a way I envied them because I was thinking about all the clutter in my house.
None of it was doing anything really practical and I was promising myself one of these days, I'd have a cull.
Funny how it doesn't tend to work like that.
Instead, you tend to put it off and have a couple of major ones through life.
I remember feeling so liberated after my first major one, when I went backpacking.
Years of crap furniture (milk crates in the main) and priceless youthful artefacts boxed up and dispatched to Vinnies in one morning with barely a blink.
Those youthful artefacts did indeed prove to be priceless, I mean worthless.
I didn't earn a cent for them.
Mainly because they were rubbish.
But instead of cents, I learnt sense.
The truly important things at that moment were mobility, passport and travellers cheques.
De-cluttering enabled me to see that.
And embrace the simplicity and freedom of being a homeless bum for a couple of years, until, in a vacuum of material stability, I recommenced the process of re-cluttering. It was called settling down.
Funny how the pendulum swings that way.
And if I was to get philosophical at this stage, I'd offer this.
Through life we tend to build up dust like an air filter on a bathroom light.
Every so often we have to clean that filter, so we can see the light.
And in that way, the mist from the shower clears more efficiently and we are cleansed. Wow.
Poets and soft-hearted sentimentalists will tell you that it's not good to let go of memories.
But hopefully, you'll be able to let go of that shower light one very soon.
Still it is true, memory is a fickle friend.
When de-cluttering, it is important to remember that the chances of remembering what you throw out are minimal.
Using this dodgy logic, chances are you won't remember the memories attached to the item. So, no great loss. Go hard.
Put another way, if you need reasons to be brutal: If you love something, let it go.
If it doesn't come back, chances are the council guys picked it up off the kerb.
This is the key to de-cluttering. Total emotional detachment. A feature of top CEOs and psychopaths alike.
You see a lot of it in prison too, so take no prisoners yourself.
For a de-clutter to be truly successful you must bring a Nietzsche-esque determination to the table.
Despise all weakness, particularly those brought on by memories of that dress that used to fit or that shirt that someone said you used to look hot in.
Dismiss all second guessing as pathetic and push through to the skip bin.
Nostalgia is the enemy. That which you hang on to, holds you back.
If you haven't worn it in the past year, or thought about it in the past 10 years, GAAAWWWN.
It's the only way.
You must clear your way to the future by clearfelling your past.
That way you can function in the present.
Make no mistake, clutter is a modern day malaise.
Bad for your body, soul, and particularly bad for your ability to know where stuff is.
Like your wallet, the bus pass and ultimately, indeed consequently, your mind.
It can be stressful living with uncertainty.
Particularly if you start putting it on someone in the house that they might know where everything is.
This kind of repeated learned helplessness can often lead to the reason you're de-cluttering: because your relationship broke down.
And it's no good kidding yourself you know where something is by saying "it's over in that pile".
Because these piles, which spring up like termite nests through a life, don't come with contents pages.
And under no circumstances must you be tempted to stash it in a cupboard, even if you are having guests over for dinner, because there you have the classic beginnings of more clutter.
Recognise it for what it is there and then, and instead of throwing that pile in the toy closet, throw it in the bin.
Focus is essential, otherwise you'll end up with a smaller version of the stuff you want to get rid of.
Stuff nonetheless, that will require future de-cluttering.
Don't waste time, cut to the chase.
This will enable you to move house with some degree of certainty.
Mainly about as to how many removal trucks you'll need.
And if you've had an effective de-clutter, you'll know where everything is.
In the bin.
See Simone De Peak's declutter diary here