Yesterday’s diaries: seductive clutter


Joy of decluttering: know it? Some do, some don’t. I love clearing away clutter: it’s one of my favourite diversions.

Last week I had an excuse to clear out half the contents of a little porch, commonly known as the cat’s ensuite. Any excuse will do. This time, a new clothes drier needs a vent. Whoopee — let’s have a major declutter!

The allure of old diaries

I’d kept at least a dozen desk diaries, and why?

  • I thought they were documents that an auditor might request, should I attract the attention of the IRD. If so, too bad.
  • Maybe I thought they might be of mild historical interest — to whom, for goodness sake? How ludicrous.
  • Maybe I imagined my children idly opening them after my death. Why would they, if even I didn’t open one before tossing it into the shredder bin?

Meantime a paper work diary reduces clutter

Old-fashioned, I know, but I still used a paper diary on my desk. (Love my iPhone calendar too, of course.)

Sticking to certain old technology simplifies life. It frees brain space for more important things than remembering where to find the urgent jobs of the week, appointments of all sorts, and printed itineraries and tickets. All in the diary, diary always on the desk, nowhere else, end of story.

To replace this simple technology  with a bunch of new software and habits could easily clutter up my computer and my life. Before acquiring any new software or hardware I always count to three. From experience I know that perhaps it would streamline my life —  but perhaps not.

3 rules of thumb for keeping clutter at bay

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t change it.
  2. If you don’t need it, don’t keep it.
  3. Have a chucking-out splurge every now and then: go on, it’s fun!

You are you, I am me. We all develop systems that work for us. What’s yours?


16 thoughts on “Yesterday’s diaries: seductive clutter

  1. Renae says:

    Great advice. So how do you make sure you don’t recreate the clutter you de-cluttered? I’m a full-time RVer now do clutter is a no-no! Hope you had fun chucking!


    1. Constant vigilance is hardly needed when you know that decluttering is so much fun! Oh my, what a lifestyle you have.

  2. Robyn Haynes says:

    Oh Rachel, I wish I was so brave. I have sidled up to my storage cage in the basement of my unit block several times having the intention to de-clutter. There is so much emotional trash invested in its contents. I haven’t looked at that stuff in over three years. Why does it have a hold on me?

    On the opposite side of the coin, I never buy a new clothing item without ditching something old at the same time. Whew! What a relief to confess.

    1. Robyn, a question like this needs a whole new article, I fear. Why does it have a hold on you? Maybe go back and have another look and ask that question of every item. You may discover all sorts of truths. On the other hand, that’s a great clothing system and I do exactly the same. Simplifies life!

  3. I too get very emotionally attached to things. My husband, and a few good roommates over the years. however, have no such issues. So I am getting better at decluttering. I don’t exactly enjoy it. But I love the sense of freedom I feel having less stuff to take care of.

    Something I have learned to do if I am getting rid of something that I really don’t want to, but know that I no longer need is this: I take a picture of it. Then I will always be able to remember the special memories that went with it, without having to hang onto the item.

    1. Robyn Haynes says:

      Great idea! I’ve done this with my kids artwork. They’re well and truly grown now.

  4. That’s a brilliant solution, Heather. I’m impressed that you’ve managed to change your system to satisfy both the urge to hang-on-tight and the yearning for that sense of freedom.

  5. Robyn Haynes says:

    Good advice. What interesting replies I might get. My daughter is going to help me. Her spice rack is arranged alphabetically 😄 I’ll be decluttered and organised in no time!

    1. Now I know you’re going to do this and revel in the results. There’s a feng shui to clutter clearing!

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        I’ll keep you posted

  6. Joared says:

    Many items have so much emotionally symbolic meaning for me. Also, I remember having to part with things that I subsequently wished I had. I know there are other issues, but understanding that seems not enough. I should just start with one drawer at a time and one room at a time, then maybe I’d get on a roll. I have a lot of shredding to do, too, and it’s all set to go but don’t want to hear the noise! ha

    1. That sounds like a fine plan! A little book made my clearing more rational (feng shui was in the title). And safe from regrets. Best of luck!

  7. Aunt Beulah says:

    Your system is my system, Rachel, though I’ve never trimmed it to 3 succinct rules as you have. I love it when I get on a decluttering jag accompanied by a constant repetition of, “If in doubt, throw it out!”

    1. Oh you have been inside my brain! Aren’t we lucky?

  8. I love this one “If it ain’t broke, don’t change it” I sometimes get on a rant about my home decor, and think I would like to change the blinds, the carpet, the furniture, even though they are perfectly okay. Not broke, so I won’t change them. There, you helped!.

    1. Accidentally!