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Saturday, May 2, 2015
DE-CLUTTERING - TO DO OR NOT TO DO - MARGARET TANNER
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I am a clutter collector from way back. I figure why throw
anything out; you never know when you might need it. I inherited the hoarder
“Waste not, want not” was my mother’s motto and she lived by
it the whole of her life. Maybe it was because she lived through the great
depression of the 1930’s and World War 2, that she would use and re-use, save
and squirrel away stuff. Our house was never untidy, because most of the
hoarded items were well out of sight.
I should have learned my lesson after my dear mother died
about 20 years ago and my sister and I had to clear out her house. To say it
was a nightmare was an understatement. It took weeks. My mother had kept
receipts from the 1940’s, even her World War 2 ration book. And speaking of
books, she had hundreds of them. Then there were the ornaments, pretty little
knick-knacks that reposed on every shelf or level surface in the house. Boxes
of china. Well, you get the idea.
Now you would think that after all this trauma and angst, I
would have dashed home and gone through my own cupboards.I didn’t, but I did take a lot of my mother’s
stuff with me.Well, how could I let it
go?All those little treasures.
My mother-in-law passed away, same story, I kept a lot of
her things too. I was a hoarder.It came
as naturally as breathing or eating.
Well friends, retribution did come. The youngest of our sons
finally left home, so hubby and I decided it was time to downsize. We bought a
smaller house, and put our larger house on the market. “We’ve got a lot of
stuff here, we’ll have to get rid of it,” hubby says.
Over my dead body.
“No, we won’t do anything rash,” I said. “There’s plenty of time to work out
what we want to keep.”
A week before the auction of our house, my husband had to
have heart by-pass surgery, so I had to go on with the sale alone. After the
auction and hubby’s successful operation, I had to start packing, because when
he came home he couldn’t do anything for eight weeks. I really hit the panic
button because we had a short settlement. Forty days to clear out all our
stuff, that of my mother and mother-in-law (things I had kept, and shouldn’t
have). Well, it was a nightmare. I did most of it on my own.I don’t know how many trips I made to donate
all these “treasures” to the second hand thrift shop And I did help the less fortunate - big
time.The thrift shop manager must have
thought I was Mother Teresa re-incarnated.
It was terrible. I cried because I had to give away my ‘treasures,
mum’s treasures and my mother in-law’s treasures’. Worse still, was the time it
took to pack them and deliver them to the thrift shop.
With the clock ticking, I had to be ruthless – and I was.
If you are even contemplating moving house, start to get rid
of your surplus stuff early.In fact,
don’t collect it in the first place.A
lady once told me that if she didn’t wear a dress for a year, she was probably
never going to wear it again, and she got rid of it. Smart lady. Wish I had
such courage.I still cling to my
favourite dresses, hey I might lose weight and they will fit me again???
The moral of this story is - don’t hoard. De-clutter as much as possible,
because one day you will have to sort
it out, or your children will have to
sort it out.
The same goes for your writing.Be ruthless. If the manuscript you have expended
blood, sweat and tears over isn’t working, discard it.Temporarily cast it into your bottom drawer
is what I mean. Don’t destroy it, because you might be able to resurrect it at
a later date.Start on something fresh
and new. Once you get your writing tastebuds tingling again with a new premise,
a feisty heroine and a spunky hero, the words will start flowing until they
become a torrent.
Never give up. It is a steep climb to the top of the
publishing mountain, but oh what a view once you get there.