On Decluttering (My 2015 InCoWriMo 6 of 28)


Dear L,

Greetings from Australia. I am writing a short note to you tonight because we have just spent the whole day cleaning the house. It is exhausting work. Yet, because we only tidy up the house whenever there is a party coming up (which is not very often), once it is done it is actually quite satisfying.

I once saw this quote, “You never know what you have until you clean your room.” It is so true. I often discover books that I think are long lost, and it feels like having received a new book for free. It feels even better when I finally find a book I need to quote from, in the corner of a dusty room or somewhere under a pile of junk, after a long day of searching high and low. Rejoice! The writing lives to see another day!

I suspect this is why we like traveling – holiday accommodations are always attractive because they are much tidier than home. Less furniture, less junk, less things to wash and clean. Then I can have more time to appreciate whatever there is in front of me. Less cluttering means there is more empty space for me to roam around, both emotionally and intellectually. No wonder I never like “Where’s Wally/Waldo?” sort of books.

I like this quote by Louise Smith even better, “You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.” The only exception is perhaps with books, for I never abandon them. It physically hurts me whenever I see people throwing away perfectly fine books. It is like capital punishment, which completely denies the values of life. A light at the end of the tunnel is shut down because people are tired of always searching for new possibilities and adventures.

Decluttering is a game, an exercise of the mind, to explore, investigate, analyze and prioritize, then to re-organize, re-discover, re-experience and re-enjoy. Having sorted out what to keep and what to send away as pre-loved goods, we now can start the cluttering process all over again. How wonderful life is!




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