Decluttering with Astrid (41)

Bulky Waste

We needed a new bed. Even worse, we had to go to a store to buy that new bed. Something that we kept putting off and off and off until the day came when one of the legs of the old bed fell off, and we could put it off no longer. And thus I found myself in the furniture mall for the first time in years. I couldn’t believe my eyes: our furniture mall now had its own official Starbucks, and a small square with a fountain. All the stores had their own cozy little coffee corner, with cola and biscuits for our son, who watched a little cynically as we were led to each and every bed by the salesmen. And then came the ‘lying trial’. Which is why I dreaded coming to look for a new bed for so many weeks. What an uncomfortable situation to find yourself in: lying on a bed with your shoes on, in front of a store full of other customers and a sales agent checking to see that you’re lying down properly. What’s more, you then have to turn onto your side, with your back and buttocks facing him, and listen to his whole spiel about the spine and sleeping position. I quickly said “yes, deal done” to everything, but my other half took it all a lot more seriously, which means that all in all, we were still there an hour later.

According to one friend, all that mattress testing was a complete waste of our time and we would have been better off just buying any mattress from the [Dutch] online warehouse, Wehkamp. She had spent two hours testing a mattress in a luxury bed store, and once she got it home, it was as if she was sleeping on an old newspaper. She woke up every morning with backache, but it wasn’t possible to swap it for something else. Now, her thirteen-year-old daughter sleeps on the expensive new Swedish mattress, while mother sleeps on her old mattress again.

But, okay. The actual point of this story is that the grapple truck needed to come to collect our bulky waste of a bed. And I had completely forgotten that such a service existed. What a luxury to have someone come to your place and take your junk off your hands. I found it such a shame that they were only coming for two box-spring mattresses, so I quickly dived into the barn to see what else I could ‘donate’. And it took me all of ten minutes as my other half was not home (which is the best option for when things need to be discarded) and that’s all the time I had before the bulky waste collectors were arriving. With an opportunity like that and a time schedule that tight, I worked like a flash of lightening. I dragged out an old tricycle, rusted bike stand, broken chairs and other junk towards the pile outside, and then spotted three neighbors surreptitiously adding some of their unwanted belongings onto my heap, so it was a good decluttering session for the street as a whole. Especially when neighbor four rang to ask if she could have the old doll’s crib (which, naturally, she could). And then a guy cycled past with his box-bike and started sifting through the pile for any iron. Before I went to work, I tidied the pile up a little so we didn’t bring the street to shame; after all, your junk has got to look a little classy doesn’t it. I drove off feeling happy: decluttering in just ten minutes. That’s something I’m going to do a lot more often.

PS: I read somewhere that the more you practice, the better you become at making decisions on the spot. Seems entirely appropriate for decluttering don’t you think?

Astrid, together with Irene, is the founder of Flow Magazine. She lives with her partner and two children. Each Tuesday, she writes about the sense—and nonsense—of decluttering.

“Week 41 – Bulky Waste”