Decluttering with Astrid (7)

Astrid is going to make very serious statement: moving is strictly prohibited in the context of decluttering. Astrid (47), together with Irene, is the founder of Flow Magazine. She lives with her partner and two children. Each Tuesday, she writes about decluttering.

Decluttering is regularly associated with tidying up. Because that’s how it often starts. And tidying up is naturally also an art. I don’t really know how it works—whether it’s something to do with your star sign, how things were at home during your childhood/youth, or maybe it goes much deeper than that… —but while some people love to busy themselves with tidying, others simply cannot get to grips with it. I’m a typical Virgo and have a mother who loves to clean, which probably explains why I can enjoy an orderly room. I tidy up as I go to bed, on my way to work, and even when I go on vacation. In fact, there are times that I’ve done such a great job and my house feels so lovely, it almost feels like a sin to go away on my trip.

If, like me, you don’t live alone, there’s a big chance that, like me, you’re bugged by the fact that not everyone in the house acts the same way. Because that’s when you find that things tend to have “a life of their own.” For example, I live in a house with three males who follow the rule of “moving” things as opposed to tidying them away. This is how it works: if something needs to be tidied up (and the will is there), then I find the stack of books/clean clothes/homework/post in question in a new place just moments later. The “moved to” place. Which basically means: on the stairs, the landing, in the hallway near the front door, or on a different cabinet than the one it was on originally. I always try to explain that this does not constitute as tidying up, and that is in fact simply “moving.” And every time I try to explain this, I end up feeling like such a stroppy-old Neat Freak. But in the context of these weekly blogs about decluttering, I have to make a very serious statement: moving is strictly prohibited. So even though no one at home pays any attention to me, hopefully you will. Tidying up means: to finish the job and put everything in its proper place—on the shelf, in the closet where it belongs, or even in the trash. “In between” is not a place where it can be. Good luck!