Clutter and be damned
Clutter is a very divisive issue, particularly when four inhabitants of the same house have different views on the subject. Battle lines were drawn when I lost my mouth guard. Small beer, you might think, but I can’t sleep without it. I grind my teeth. Where could it have got to? So just before midnight recently three of us were scouring the bedroom floor (and the bathroom) to no avail.
The bad news? I hoard books. Those I am waiting to read, those I have read, those I can’t make my mind up about, not forgetting weekend colour supplements, all lie in piles beneath the bed. In fact, they have spread beyond its confines. All right, I admit it, sometimes I have to take a flying leap to get into bed at all. This was pointed out very forcibly by the members of the family who were joining in the search, sneezing.
Anyway, the mouth guard spurred me on to action. My bed is now clear, well apart from the odd library book and those from my business partner who shares my love of crime novels. There is no more dust underneath, I can find everything. I feel like a new woman.
Until, that is, I step round to my husband’s side of the bed. His clutter is different: it consists of piles of magazines, and solitary books, arranged neatly like paving stones but the end result is the same. I can’t venture round there without slipping on something. And his shoes, or at least those waiting to be polished, are laying siege to my sock drawer.
Have we come to an understanding? You have to be kidding. And the battle continues downstairs. Our daughter demands that we hang our coats up, which is rather tricky as there is precious little space to do so, and then leaves hers hanging from the back of various chairs. And the Christmas decorations (her responsibility) are still sitting forlornly, waiting for her to put them away.
As for son and heir, he can’t see that his music paraphernalia occupies half the living room and needs to be packed away. Although I do have some sympathy here as his keyboard resembles a coffin and would probably give him a hernia if he were to take it up to his bedroom, as would his amp. But all this doesn’t make for an uncluttered environment, and don’t get me started on the kitchen, with its lack of storage space.
We all think that the others are making a bigger deal than necessary. We are at daggers drawn, and this may only be resolved when we move and the kids leave home, although I do hope we find a solution before then.
My only shred of comfort is the thought that we are not unique. According to the Big Yellow Storage Company (http://www.bigyellow.co.uk/selfstorageblog/news/cohabiting-couples-ditch-prized-possessions-in-favour-of-a-quiet-life/), half of British couples claim to fight regularly over clutter at home, bickering 32 times a year on average, says its recent survey. And it appears that us Londoners are the most likely to argue about space, with one in ten arguing at least once a week.
But follow the recent mouth guard incident I am on a mission. Now that I’ve finished my tax return, it’s the office which is next in line for a spruce up, followed by the kitchen. And I’m getting ready to tackle my husband about his bedside mess again. As for the item which kick-started my declutter initiative, I had a brainwave at 3am that morning. I had been in bed all day suffering from the lurgy, not eating apart from a satsuma, whose peel I had picked up from my bedside table and put in the recycling pot…along with the mouth guard. Then I managed to go to sleep.