What’s In That Cupboard? If You Don’Need It, Get Rid Of It:

According to research conducted by the online trading site, Zifflit, 57% of British people are reluctant to throw away their accumulated clutter. Instead, they prefer to hide it away indefinitely in whatever space is available in their homes. The reason for this – so Kate Ibbotson, the founder of the “Tidy Mind” organisation, has told the Daily Mail journalist Siofra Brennan – is the “just in case” mentality, the fear many of us have that we’ll get rid of something only to discover a few weeks later that we need it after all. Ibbotson regards this as merely a way of postponing for as long as possible a decision as to what do do with possessions we no longer use.

Marie Kondo, the Japanese author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has pointed out in her book that putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved, but that sooner or later, all the storage units will become full – so what do you do then? Effective tidying, she emphasises, must start with discarding and involves only three essential actions: “ All you have to do is to take the time to examine every item you own, decide whether or not you still want it, then choose where to put what you will keep”. Ask yourself, she advises, why you have that object in the first place and why you bought certain clothes if you never wear them.

Kondo considers books to be some of the hardest things for people to throw away. She doesn’t believe, though, that there’s any point in their just being on your shelves: “Only keep the ones to which you are really attached”. She also suggests that we should “bin” any documentation such as our credit card statements once we’ve checked that they are correct and that we should dispose of the box containing our new smartphone as soon as we’ve unpacked it: “You don’t need the manual or the CD that comes with it either – you can figure out the applications for yourself”. As for buttons, Kondo has come to the conclusion that when one falls off a coat or jacket, people don’t usually bother to sew on another one, even when they have kept the spares: “So if you are not going to use the spare buttons lying at the bottom of the wardrobe, throw them all out”.

Elizabeth Larkin on “thespruce.com” provides her “ultimate list of things to get rid of immediately”, by recyling, donating or even (if possible) selling them. What sense is there, she queries, in retaining plastic forks, knives and spoons, kitchen utensils or appliances you never employ, mismatched or warped food storage containers or expired pantry products such as the “Hungarian paprika you bought for a recipe four years ago and which for sure doesn’t taste the same any more”. Receipts, in her opinion, should go straight into the rubbish bag “if you’re already enjoying your purchase” and likewise with rubber bands, dried out bottles of glue, pens with no ink, old cell phones and newspapers which are more than two days old. In the case of magazines which “you really love and you will frequently refer back to: Make sure these are stored properly and not just hanging around in piles”. When she receives greeting cards, she puts them on display for a while, then recycles them: “You don’t expect anyone to keep yours, do you?”

As the “nosidebar.com” commentator, Allison Fallon, has noted under the caption “How To Get Your Life Back”, another key issue is what to do with duplicates: Do you have two vacuum cleaners or two lawn mowers, she asks: “Maybe you got a new one and are keeping the old one. Why? Just in case? Just in case of what?” She also warns us to beware of “shoving objects that we aren’t sure we want to keep but aren’t ready to get rid of” into places such as under the bed, so that they become “out of sight and out of mind” and we forget they are there or even what they are.

For those people who feel overwhelmed by the clutter inexorably amassing around their home and spilling out of their cupboards, there is an organisation to which they can turn for help: The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO), which was formed in 2004, now has 281 accredited members and is “part of a rapidly growing industry”. APDO describes itself as a unique enterprise offering experienced professionals who will provide a practical and sympathetic service and will get the property back to looking its best. They exhort their readers to “clear their mind by freeing up the space in their home” and declare that they are available for de-cluttering jobs of any size: “Lots of the individuals who call us need only minimal assistance to restore their property to its most aesthetically pleasing state: How big or small the mess is doesn’t matter to us”.


Filed under: Society | Posted on July 24th, 2018 by Colin D Gordon

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