Decluttering with Astrid (25)


Earlier, in the before-kids, before-serious- job times, I could wake up in the morning and think to myself: What am I going to do today? Which, in all honesty, isn’t too bad a question to have running through your mind when you wake up. Two toddlers and a Serious Job later, and that sentence changed somewhat. Now, it was more like: What am I going to do today if I have a spare half hour? Half an hour! What a luxury. And what pleasure I had simply daydreaming of what I could do in that short snippet of time. Recently, after having written 24 blogs about decluttering, I find myself contemplating a completely new thought each morning. And that is: What am I going to throw out today?

And so far, it’s been working out pretty nicely for me. Me! The queen of mess, the collector, the hoarder, the creator of dust traps, the out-of-date-packets-in-the-cupboard type. Where did it go so wrong? Or should that be, so right? Or perhaps both? In the last three days, I’ve thrown out seven trash bags full of stuff. Throwing things away is like having a new thing to look forward to: placing a full bag into the garbage container leaves me with such a sense of satisfaction, I can tell you. Bye bye puzzles with missing pieces, adieu collection of tea light holders, farewell old make-up, bon voyage Christmas cards from ten years ago, adios children’s craft projects. And all this chucking-out of stuff  opens up a whole new world of conversation, which you can have with fellow declutterers… Just recently, I found myself sitting down with Flow’s Caroline and Jocelyn, and Caroline and I were talking about what we had managed to get rid of the week before. Not only in terms of how many bags, but also in terms of what was in them. But Jocelyn didn’t quite share our enthusiasm. She looked at us a little worried, and said: “I don’t get it. What’s all this Marie Kondo fuss about? Since when has mess been wrong? As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to stay true to myself and stick with mess. I’m not signing up for this trend.”

Her words gave me some serious food for thought. And I came to the conclusion that, in fact, I’m not really myself anymore. Has a strange kind of new me crept in? And isn’t decluttering rather, um, unsexy? Boring? Dull? One thing’s for sure: it certainly doesn’t fall into the categories of being bohemian, a hippie, artistic, creative or having a lust for life. Regardless of that though, I’m still not quite done with the whole decluttering thing. It’s certainly healthier than smoking, wiser than cheating, and more satisfying than snacking. But perhaps it’s about time for another first-thing-in-the-morning sentence…

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


“Week 25 – Sentences”