Friday, 21 December 2018
Reading time 2 minutes 02 seconds
“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fuelled by procrastination”
During the past 50 weeks I have publicly admitted I am a list maker, procrastinator, and have various other afflictions. You can add hoarding to the compendium.
Last year I read the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. The book explains the key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly. It told me that to find true happiness I should hold each of my possessions, give them thanks for serving me and then dispose of them. At this point I would feel more confident, become more successful, and have the courage to move on from the negative aspects of my life.
I felt as if the author wrote this book just for me. I’m a tidier upper, but it never seems to make a difference, so finally there was a path to my personal nirvana and if you followed the process the experience would be akin to man touching God in the Sistine Chapel.
My possessions were everywhere and had partly taken over my life, so I was keen to test the theory. Sadly, I wasn’t in my own home when I read the book but was staying at my Dads in Spain and Dad does not enjoy people messing with his stuff.
I started in his kitchen.
He was upstairs minding his own business lost in the internet world. I on the other hand was planning a heist and had become Danny Ocean. As in the cockney Danny Ocean who was missing 10 friends and a decent wardrobe.
The plan was to take one kitchen shelf at a time and create two piles, one for keeps and one for the bin, and guesstimated it would take about 20 minutes. The 20-minute rule has got me into trouble before and this was no exception. My Dad finally emerged from his own 20-minute internet time two hours later and at this point I learnt where I got the 20-minute concept from.
He looked at the floor, saw the bag of goods destined for the bin, and enquired as to its contents. I stared back at him somewhat sheepishly, told him about the book, and explained I was doing it for his own good.
My Dad was raised after the end of WWII when rationing was still in effect. Food, especially tinned food, should not be thrown away. Ever. Whereas I’ve been raised in a time where I can buy virtually anything I want from my local garage to the point that last week they were selling Dragon Fruit, which I had to Google before I bought it.
He grabbed a random tin from the bin pile. “This is good fish” he announced in astonishment. The expiry date was 2002, it was 2017.
“Dad, you bought this in the previous decade and you haven’t eaten it in all this time, so it can’t be that good?!”.
He proclaimed that he’d been very busy. For 15 years.
I wasn’t going to win this particular battle so the fish tin went back on the shelf, but I did manage to sneak others to the bin. I did not feel as if I’d touched the hand of God, but I had upset my creator. Since then I’ve decided that I would never let my shelves be like my Dad’s as I would change my hoarding ways and follow the life changing magic of tidying up.
Until last week I believed I was making real progress but then a friend visited and wanted a cup of tea. As I have vast quantities of different types of tea I showcased them until my mate started to read out the expiry dates. Who knew tea had a shelf life?
Forget the herbal tea. How about a bowl of porridge? What do you mean Quaker Oats has an expir……
Once again, I had become my Dad. Only less successful.