On having lots of stuff, and de-cluttering

Every now and again when I go to bed in the evening, I bring my iPad with me and open up Pinterest. It's kind of like The Man reading a book for 10 minutes before he goes to sleep - I look through galleries of pictures and most of the time just open up the 'Humor' category and have a little giggle :P

And for a while now I've been seeing people post pictures of something called KonMari.

KonMari. KonMari. KonMari.

I could tell that it was something to do with decluttering, but a few days ago I finally googled, 'What's KonMari?' and had a read through a few pages that explained the thing.

(And to those of you who don't know what it is, it is basically a tidying and decluttering method developed by a Japanese lady called Marie Kondo, alas - KonMari, a shortened version of her name.)

I read and I looked through the photos and I watched a few videos and none of it really struck a cord with me because I realised that with most of what she's saying - I'm already doing it.

It's a little thing me and The Man are going over every now and again, and repeatedly. I'm averse to mess, for several reasons. 1) In the role of a stay-at-home parent I am the one who is cleaning it, and 2) having done a fair amount of moving and seeing an impending long-distance move coming up in about a year from now - the less stuff we've got, the easier it is. And so it means that whenever I come across something in our home that we aren't using or I don't see ourselves using anytime soon, out it goes in our 'Sallies bag', ie a bag I take to Salvation Army whenever I pass their store on my way to town.

And it's not something I do in bouts - rather, it is something I am on the look for constantly. There is a designated hook in our laundry room where a 'Sallies bag' hangs and whenever I come across something unused, I put it in the bag. Not just my stuff - also toys that I don't see being functional, children's books that are kind of lame, The Man's clothes - if I buy him a new t-shirt, something old usually goes so that there's the same amount of clothes in the wardrobe, always. Just another day I was trying to figure out how many pairs of shoes I've got and I think it's 7 total. Gumboots, hiking boots, running shoes, sandals, flip-flops, Converse, pretty shoes. Oh, and slippers for wearing inside.

The Man, by nature, is a hoarder. He has a much stronger attachment to items of sentimental value than I do, and so it means that whenever he sees me adding stuff to the 'Sallies bag', he goes through a little internal conversation with himself along the lines of, "It makes her happy, let her do it," but it doesn't come naturally to him.

In fact, I see him struggle with it, and I appreciate greatly the amount of effort he puts into dealing with it.

Because if The Man had his way, we'd have a whole array of stuff tucked away someplace in case we need it, and every time we actually needed something he'd congratulate himself on having the foresight to have kept it.

But I don't see it that way.

Because another thing is: as much as The Man is a hoarder, he is also not an organiser. I mean, he loves seeing organised spaces and he loves using them, in a sense that he loves going for a cupboard and knowing exactly where something he is needing is actually kept.

But it doesn't come naturally to him to organise things as such. Usually, it is me who organises spaces - including work areas in the garage - and once a system is in place he is capable of keeping it and adding to it.

But it doesn't come naturally to him.

And so because of all that - and some other reasons - I am averse to clutter. It takes time, it takes effort, and I don't want to be dealing with it. I have watched several of my grandparents die, leaving behind piles and piles of stuff that people left behind have not needed and have had to dispose of somehow, and every time I've seen it happen I've thought, this is bollocks.

I don't want to die and have my relatives sort through a pile of 'useless' stuff and have them moan over 'why on earth she needed to keep it all'.

But, sorry, I am getting carried away.

What I came here to say is that, though I've amassed an impressive amount of items now that I am married, with two kids, a large backyard, and a dog - on a scale of average New Zealand households, I am living minimally.

Just this morning I had a moving company assess the contents of my house to give us a quote on what it'd cost to hire a van and get it all shipped over to Invercargill, and it turns out that even by the impression of that representative, our house is easy as. 30 cubic metres, very little clutter. Pack and go.

And I like that.

I like that I read through pages of that KonMari philosophy and didn't feel the pang of hurt over having too much clutter. I mean... I still have a lot! of stuff and sometimes I do think back to how easy it used to be before families and kids, but then I'm realistic at what it takes to have two kids and a DIY-loving husband with his collection in the garage, and I remind myself that on such a scale, we're golden.

Most days I am doing some cleaning, looking out for it constantly and everywhere, and most days our home - our environment - is totally livable, and I am not having to feel like I am at the deep end of it.

But it does mean that on a daily basis, I am constantly on the lookout for things I no longer need. The most difficult is the part where it's items friends and family have gifted - because come on, they've made the effort of sending/giving it to me and now I am just going to pass it on to someone else! - but in most cases this is simply what I am doing, on a daily basis, all the time.

If I don't use it, out it goes. I say a quiet thanks for whoever gave it to me, I wish it well for when the next person finds joy from it that I don't have, and I let it go.

And it feels manageable.

And today, I will have two other moving companies assess the contents of our house to quote us for a move to Invercargill, and step by step, I will just deal with it. Talk to mortgage companies, talk to schools, talk to moving companies, and eventually I will have it all sorted, and done. And we'll live in Invercargill.

Wow it can be cumbersome moving with two kids and a dog.


  1. So you decided to move :) I'd love to hear more about it! Hope you will write about it some day - what made you make this decision etc.

    Decluttering rocks. I've given away tons of things and still they keep on piling. At the moment I've had a bunch of giveaway bags in my bedroom for two months, because I don't have such a good place to give them to. Those things are mostly not worth selling in charity shops, but they are usable. I'd prefer to give them away to someone who will want and use them, but it means making photos and putting them to our local giveaway FB page. One day I will do it :D

    Fortunately my husband does not care about keeping stuff at all, makes it easier for me. I am the one who keeps thinking "maybe we will use those some day" - but since I really like clutter free home, I still mostly vote for giving them away.

    The only exeption is clothes - I like having lots of choices (90% from second hand shops), but they have to be stuff I really like to wear. If I don't, I give them away happily.

    At the moment storing stuff is not as organized and convenient as I'd like, but I try to be zen about it. Whenever I get distressed about mess around me (it comes SO much easier if you don't have proper places for all things and I hate that) I tell myself: one more year, then big renovation, then everything will be ok.

    Of course - before renovation I have to give away all unneeded stuff and we have to make plans HOW to renovate. We've been making those for last five years :) Then again, it's the first time we have decided we'll take out a loan to get it all done and we are also financially able to do so. So in 1,5 years I will hopefully have my nice organized clutter free home.

    Ah, a long rant. What can I say. All this decluttering stuff is really close to my heart.

    1. Tere Tikker! :)

      Ma ootan huviga renoveerimise jutte ja fotosid, mida ja kuidas te tegema hakkate, ja miks :)

    2. Oh, by the way: I've found that it's actually easier to get dressed and look good when I have fewer clothes to choose from. To be fair, mine are pretty 'one style' stuff, so most fit with everything else, and they're one-toned, but still - the fewer clothes I have, the easier it is to get dressed. And I really appreciate that, given how much I don't like 'faffing around' with choosing clothes to wear :P

  2. Meil eestis oli ka hiljuti just sellest meetodist kuskil naisteajakirjas juttu. Meil on kohutavalt palju asju minu hinnangul.. Aga kuna ma viimasel ajal füüsiliselt tunnen, kuidas see asjade rohkus (eelkõige nende pidev korrastamine) mind ärritab, siis ma jagan ka neid vaikselt laiali Humana konteineri ja kirbukate vahel. See ei tule mulle ka loomulikult :) P.S Juba väga ammu plaanin sulle kirjutada, loodan selleni ikka varsti jõuda ka!

  3. Ütlen omast kogemusest, et ümberõpe tehnilisematele erialadele rokib ja teeb jube rõõmsaks, tunne on nagu omandaks supervõimeid (Hogwarts!), nii et ägeägeäge! Hoian pöialt, et leiaksite seal unistuste (soojapidavusega) kodu ja veelgi soojemad sõbrad ja tehissugulased. Erilise põnevusega ootan Su koolipostitusi, mine kohe täitsa detaili, tee kasvõi eraldi blogi, ma loeks himuga! (Sry selle hüüumärgiuputuse pärast, aga pikaajalise lugejana olen tõesti rõõmus te pärast).

  4. I did a bunch of decluttering prior to my surgery, I need to do it again as at that point it was a case of getting the house in order so it was easy care for the rest of the family. Now I could be a little more ruthless. I've started already but on the computer for things like removing Facebook likes and blogs that no longer interest me enough to read. I'd love to do my wardrobe, but can't for probably another 9 months due to my middle not being it's usual self.