Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ha ha!


As regular visitors may know, I have been struggling with this chaotic pile of spare stationary for a while. Tired A4 binders rubbed shoulders with beautiful unused notebooks and spare birthday cards, while the odd bookmark floated around:

Only a few hours ago, this is what it looked like. Now there is space... So much so that the assortment of spare screws, nuts and bolts next to it now looks like an eyesore.

This has been an area I've struggled with for a while. I feel it is wasteful to discard items I may need, and storing these could save me the purchase cost. On the other hand, this is clearly clutter of the worst kind - I trigger a minor landslide every time I need an envelope. I've dithered and dithered and dithered, and some reason today I just suddenly felt ready to tackle it.

One of the reasons I was holding onto this was even though I don't exactly get through a folder a month, I knew I needed a new organisational system for my paperwork. It was all a big higgledypiggledy and I needed to sort through, set up a system that kept important, archived documents somewhere safe and out of the way, and files I need to access regularly somewhere easy to reach. I didn't want to discard the files until I had sorted this out.

I divided this up into two stages - stage one was the paperwork filing system rework and stage two the stationery pile. I sorted the paperwork a couple of weeks ago, so no longer feel I need most of this. Following advice from you lovely people, I have divided the surplus into two piles - one for practical stationery and one for pretty things (notepaper I was given at the age of 12 and is no longer appropriate, postcards I picked up on my travels etc). The first will go to Les Petits Riens - I don't know if they can use it but if they can't no one in Brussels can - and the second will probably go to one of the local creches.

I am of course keeping some things - I am keeping the unused notebooks, some of which may be included in gifts and some of which I may use. (Anything not used by this time next year goes, though.) I am keeping envelopes and jiffy bags, which can be costly and which I use to send gifts and letters to the UK, and I am keeping nice birthday and Christmas cards. Craft tools (paintbrushes etc) have been collected into a box that was seeking a purpose.

The rest is gone - and now I have space! I must confess, it has already been partially invaded by stuff that's been lying around the living room, but that does mean I feel the gain in space in a room I use everyday rather than a cupboard used intermittently.

What's amazing to me about this is how challenging I found it for so many days when I wanted to tackle it - but suddenly one day I came home and just did it, after work and while dinner was cooking. It was so easy.

Now, how can I hold on to that feeling and build some more momentum?


  1. I am going through a similar stage of decluttering in our study . The one thing I cannot get over is that there is a shelf that has been sitting there for a year looking quite impossible to deal with .... then it took about an hour and a half to clear it out. I always had an hour and a half up my sleeve...but my brain was telling me this could take weeks to tackle. I think we need to hold onto the motto 'Just get in and do it' somehow because who knows how many other insurmontable tasks there are that are probably only going to take a short time to fix.

    1. So so so true! We think it will take hours, a protracted campaign, and in the end it turns out to be a doddle - or even fun - and over in a flash. Makes me wonder if perhaps the seemingly unachievable life/home I want is much, much closer than it seems...

  2. I did my linen cupboard yesterday: tottering piles of sheets and towels waiting to collapse in an avalanche at any moment to neat orderliness in less than half an hour. I think it has taken me a year to work up to it!

    Thanks for the link to the tiny apartment blog - very inspirational! xxx



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