As a young girl, I read a poem called Grease by Grace Nichols which I thought was extremely funny. Now that I'm older - it all rings true especially when it comes to house cleaning.
The poem starts like this...
"Grease steals in like a lover over the body of my oven..."
and ends like this...
"Grease is obviously having an affair with me."
Here's the entire poem...
GreaseGrease steals in like a lover
over the body of my oven.
Grease kisses the knobs
of my stove.
Grease plays with the small
hands of my spoons.
Grease caresses the skin
of my table-cloth,
Grease reassures me that life
is naturally sticky.
Grease is obviously having an affair with me.
Revisiting this poem as an adult - I can see connections to other things...
like clutter ☺.
How it somehow sneaks into our homes consistently in the form of amazon packages, souveniers, clothes, gifts etc.
Then there is that natural tendency of being thecollectors and managers of stuff from persons who maybe moving away or simply decluttering their own stuff.
So now that you have other people's stuff and your own stuff gathering dust in your home - how do you even begin to get clear up some space.
It's hard to know what 'Sparks Joy' or what you're holding on to because of sentimental reasons or shame because you spent money on a thing that you now don't care about.
For me - I've found that the best way to end my one-sided relationship with clutter - is to ghost it.
As you know, I tend to take a lot of inspiration about managing the cleaning of my home from my job. You see, I write code for a living and and lot of my work also includes automation.
By automating repeatable, unchanging tasks we can spare ourselves boredom, and save time and money.
An example of this is what we call boiler plate code. Which maybe a block of code that does a simple task and this task is needed on most projects.
So rather than writing new code each time we can just use the boiler plate.
Can we do the same for clutter?
The answer is YES!
We already have the tool. It's called a checklist and for our purposes, it's a declutter checklist.
I've come up with a checklist of things to declutter now (donate, sell, give away, recycle, storage for later use) without thinking about it to much.
The idea is that if I spot any item in my home that's on my declutter list - I need to get rid of it within 24 hours.
Even with this list, it can still be challenging to get rid of stuff because there is that element of - I spent money on this.
You start to question your money spending decisions - which is not a bad thing. It makes you stop and think before buying that fridgerator magnet while on vacation.
Here's my short things to declutter now checklist, maybe you can add some of these to your own list to help end your affair with clutter.
Here's my most recent stack of amazon purchases. Finally got myself that cast iron skillet. Let my chef days commence ☺.
Anyway, these boxes tend to just chill here until I'm tired of looking at them and have given up on the idea of turning them into twine covered baskets or a shoe rack. Now, they have to be gone within 24 hours.
When I bought dishes they would come in sets of four. Four plates, four bowls, and for saucers. Now I'm down to three saucers and three bowls, which is annoying because the counts no longer match.
Anyway, the saucer broke so that was just a throw away decision - easy.
But the bowl only has a chip on the rim. So - still usable - right? But the fear of cutting myself on my chipped bowl prevents me from using it to eat. So, what did I do.
I use it in the entry hall as a holder of my keys and other tiny things like lip gloss and hand sanitizer. Now what do I do with the other chipped bowl...
You ever run to the store forgetting your cute reusable shopping bag and have to buy one of those heavy duty store plastic ones which you may never use again.
But you fold them up and place them in a kitchen cupboard. Why, because money was spent. I can barely bring myself to use them as trash bags.
Sorry planet for my poor memory.
But I do realize I need to have them or any of my reusable bags in every handbag that I carry around.
That way I spared of guilt, save my money and save the cupboard space in my for other things beside plastic bags.
I'm not going to lie - I'm not one to look at expiry dates.
If it still looks good to me and does not smell bad, I'm cooking it. Unfortunately, even with that attitude, I still sometimes have food wastage.
To try and tackle that issue - I 've tried organizing the food in my fridge and putting them in containers rather than just stacking them whereever there was space.
I'll let you know how that goes - but so far so good.
When it comes to decluttering one of my favorite sayings is, "Stop Hoarding For The Future And Let Go Of The Past".
This is especially true for our clothes.
If a clothing item is taking up valuable space in your closet and it no longer fits because of size or style - get rid of it.
Who doesn't like to have a momento from places they've visited. With social media these days, the saying goes that if it's not documented online then it never happened...
Or something along those lines.
Think carefully about whether or not you need that extra frigde magnet or figurine which will just sit on a shelf in your home collecting dust. Maybe it's best to remember your trip through pictures.
Before you even consider strengthening your relationship with clutter by - let's say - trying to be creative with chipped bowls...
Remember the amount of time that you would have to spend cleaning these items and taking care of them when you could be doing something else that's a bit more enjoyable.
So why don't you go ahead and end your affair with clutter today. Make yourself a declutter list of things you can easily part with and stay on the lookout, because clutter is natural and will try to win you back.