Clutter, Junk & Treasures


Clutter (Photo credit: spykster)

Today’s Daily Prompt: “Is there “junk” in your life? What kind? How do you get rid of it?”

Junk? It’s not junk! It’s old books, souvenirs from overseas, toys and half completed projects. Oh, and I swear I’ll wear those old T-shirts again some day (probably the same time I wear those mismatched socks).

OK, I admit it. I’m a bit of a hoarder. There is a fair amount of stuff around that isn’t really required and will probably never get used.

Books used to be the largest part of that. I love reading and I love books. There was a time I kept every book I bought, even the ones I didn’t like and would never read again.

There are a couple of drawbacks to keeping hundreds of books. The biggest is that you can never find the book you want. The second is that they take up a lot of space, finally they are a nightmare to move.

A few months ago I took that particular problem in hand. I had six bookshelves packed full of books, paperbacks stacked two deep on some of them when I started. I was totally ruthless and finished with just over two bookshelves of books. It was painful but necessary. It was totally ridiculous to have IT books ten years out of date, for example.

The other clutter in my life would be the clothes I’ll never wear again. The old socks that are either mismatched or have holes in one. The T-shirts that will be never worn again. I also have some shirts that fall into that category.

For Father’s Day a few weeks ago Jessica gave me a dozen pairs of identical black socks and some underwear so I took the entire contents of one of my drawers and tipped it into a bag to go out for charity. Every pair of socks and all my underwear replaced in one fell swoop. Not only did it get rid of the old ones but it’s much easier to find matching socks now.

There are other things that accumulate in our lives that might be considered “junk”. When I was cleaning out my bookshelves I also went through my DVD and CD collection and cut it back by about half.

Is my Pez collection junk? I have dozens of Pez dispensers and only twenty or so are on display, the rest are in a cardboard box. The same with my Lego, only a small number of my kits are assembled and on display then on top of that I have all my loose bricks. I don’t consider them “junk” but at the same time they aren’t useful.

I also have a great deal of stuff that I don’t consider junk that has little intrinsic value but has an emotional attachment. We all have things we keep for emotional reasons. I have a collection of greeting cards from the special people in my life, a few love letters and some postcards my Mum sent when she was overseas. I don’t consider these junk but in all likelihood they will get thrown out when someone is cleaning up my stuff after I’m gone.

As a person who could definitely turn into a classic hoarder I’ve found that the only way I can control it is to have a good hard clean out every so often. You can’t do it in small pieces, it has to be done as a day or two starting at one end of the house and going through room by room with a ruthless eye. When you’re about to move house is, of course, the ideal time.

Jessica is talking about moving out for her next year at Uni and if she does I think I’ll move house again. Time for that big spring clean again, I think.

9 thoughts on “Clutter, Junk & Treasures

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