SH will be the first person to tell you about my packrat tendencies in a generally less than affectionate way. The terms ‘Steptoe and Son’ and ‘hoarder’ have been bandied about and if they weren’t spot on, I’m sure I’d be livid! But in my defense I come from a long line of hoarders, make do and menders and it is in my blood. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I LOVE Minimalism as a concept – I really do; I love walking into friends’ houses and looking at their white spaces, clear floors and benchtops and having them say to me “Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to clean up!”
“Pfffft!!!” I say. Or maybe I just think it – I can’t figure out if it’s rude or not. While I do truly understand that an uncluttered space can help an uncluttered mind, I also have to make my peace with being a collector because it gives me pleasure. You may have gathered by now that my natural habitat is in a secondhand market, but it’s also in my blood…and this tends to lead to my cluttered home. Cluttered (or comfortable as I like to call it) though it may be, you can come in with your shoes on, drop crumbs and sit on the floor if you want to. More recently I’ve learned to accept my crazy home for what it is because I’ve finally learned to edit it to my favorite things.
So while I will never have the Minimalist home that I crave (but would possibly never feel comfortable in) I have a rule at hand which allows me to indulge guilt-free at the Op-shop or Trash (which is important for my mental health), while preventing me from reaching total Steptoe and Son status – it’s the One-In, One-Out Rule.
If I find a great frock at Vinnie’s, I have to be prepared to divest myself of one currently swinging in the wardrobe at home. It’s a good barometer of whether you really, really want the item, if you know exactly what you’re prepared to sacrifice in order to take something home – responsible op-shopping, you know? This rule particularly comes into its own when it come to books – my weakness. There are books in this house I don’t even know I have, so coming home with up to a dozen books, means I have to find the same number to bag up for donating to Lifeline – and happily, generally during the process of finding an equitable amount, I get charged up and decide to grab a bunch more. Very satisfying!
In fact, now that I come to think of it, lately when I’ve bought my purchases home I’ve been super diligent in finding items to sacrifice – to the point that there is more going out than coming in….could it be I’ve found the ultimate key to decluttering for packrats?? Or at the very least, the perfect justification to tell SH before my next Op-Shop hop?
Do you have rules to manage yourself?