Saturday, 7 September 2013

(Not) being organised

We recently had friends staying. The wife, A,  is a very  organised, person (she says she's "on the specturm", but then I guess we all are). In her life, everything is tidy; nothing's out of place.

Now, I like and admire A very much. I would love to be like her. Really. So I asked her advice. When I showed her the contents of a random drawer, she was appalled.

A:"Ginseng? What's that doing in this drawer?" she asked. "Do you use it?"
Me: "Well, not exactly..." (when/why have we ever used it? Why did we even buy it in the first place?)
A:"Well, then, Throw it away!"
Me:"Mmm..." (I suddenly feel very attached to that ginseng)
A: "And this selotape, and string, and aspirins. Why are they all together?" (There is also my granny's old sewing box, circa 1900 and falling to pieces, and drawing pins, and half a candle, and a small glass candle-holder and...you get the picture).

For the week or so after they left, I  kept looking at my muddled possessions and thinking: "what would A do?". I went through my 'wardrobe' (ha) of ancient clothing, thinking of the Oxfam shop, and then put almost everything back again, because...well, I just couldn't somehow let go, although I almost certain won't wear many of the clothes again. Besides, you never know, do you? That nursing uniform, for instance. I might need it for a fancy dress party. (I never go to fancy dress parties.)

My conclusion is that sadly, I shall never be like A. .And the reason? To put it baldly, I simply don't care enough. It's as simple as that.

But I did wash and iron two lovely linen tops that I don't wear, and take them to the Oxfam shop. And the ginseng's in the bin. So I'm not all  bad.

33 comments:

  1. I'm good at disposing of things I'm no longer going to use (and not bad at avoiding buying things I don't really want or need) but I'm still not very tidy.

    Actually not at all tidy. It takes real talent to make such a mess with so little stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One small step, Frances Soon you will be like A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paula, A is so,far removed from me as to be out of sight!

      Delete
  3. One day I will be A too. Just not now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well done...not bad at all...but it wouldn't do for us all to be the same. I have drawer after drawer that is chock full of bits of this and that....I have no idea why I can't empty them...but I am tidy....and why don't you host a fancy dress party at Christmas?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Drawers have a lot to answer for, Libby.

      Delete
  5. I'd like to be a minimalist in principle but I always think things will come in useful when fashions change (they do!) / when I've lost some weight (I did!) / come the break down of civilisation (ok, we're still waiting for that one!... but not necessarily that long)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clare, I recently dug out a denim dress about 25 years old, and it fits, and is still wearable. WHAT a good thin I hung on to it!

      Delete
  6. My daughter just announced she was going to have a stand at a car boot. I had already taken a load of clothes to the charity shop but thought I would cull the books and DVDs. My husband suddenly became possessive of The Blender Cookbook and the Food Bible, neither of which have been opened and two books on Impressionism. I too aspire to minimalism but you never know when you will need orange card, empty bottles - or that stuff for fancy dress!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm now wearing clothes I last wore 20 years ago - like BB, I lost weight. I've removed from the wardrobe clothes that are much too big, but I like some of them very much. They're on the spare bed while I consider what to do with them.

    As for drawers of random stuff, I'm good at disposing of what I don't need when I get around to turning them out. It just doesn't happen very often. I don't care enough either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. It's the not caring that's the problem, Z.

      Delete
  8. Oh, Frances, you are much the same as I am, and your friend A is like my sister-in-law who was born in The Netherlands and raised in Canada. She really learned a lot from her Dutch mother. I don't know about the middle sister, but I know the younger one didn't learn a thing.
    Now here, in our house, we have two people who don't throw things out. I used to be able to restrict the chaos to my bedroom and the kitchen table when I lived alone, but my husband is even worse than I am, and I can't tidy up his "random stuff"!
    K

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I take after my father, Kay. Or maybe I'm just slummy and disorganised. Oh dear.

      Delete
  9. We have lots of random clutter and even occasional blitzes don't make much difference. It all comes back and piles up again because not one of is naturally very tidy.

    But I like it. It shows that we live here. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't really like it, Joanna. It just....happens.

      Delete
  10. Why worry, Frances? We're all different. Just be yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well, you did better than I did the other day. I opened the wardrobe door with a view to getting rid of some long unworn items to charity, but didn't manage to throw out anything at all! I think you have to be in the right mood....and I wasn't .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm never in the right mood, Frances. That's the basic problem.

      Delete
  12. Frances (in the comment above mine) is right - you have to be in the mood for clearing out.

    What counts is that YOU feel at home in your home. If your home looked like A.'s, it wouldn't be your home anymore, would it?
    Just like if my flat had STUFF and clutter on every surface, I would not feel at home in it anymore. I guess I'd just have a skip set up underneath one of my windows and chuck everything out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're at the other end from me of this particular spectrum, Meike!

      Delete
  13. I've been going through a seemingly endless number of "random" drawers and cupboards in my parents' old house over the past few years; and more or less every time I get home from there, I end up clearing out at least one of my own as well. (This could be effiecient, if not for the fact that I also keep bringing home random things that I find in the house...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks to me as though you're doing pretty well,
      DT!

      Delete
  14. You have hit a rich seam of stories here! My husband likes to 'file horizontally' ie over every surface. This takes the attention from my tendency to clutter just half the surfaces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your husband is taking advantage of Parkinson's law (of surfaces), Jayview!

      Delete
  15. I'm the opposite. I throw things away far too easily and regret it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But I expect the upside is a very tidy house...?

      Delete
  16. Love this post, Frances. We've been trying to get rid of stuff - again. We know we're going to downsize in the next year or two and trying to get ahead. I have managed to cull lots of clothes kept for too long (and still seem to have too many), but the books are more of a problem. In that I don't want to part with them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosemary, books don't count as clutter. They're essential to any civilised home (well, that's my excuse/reason, anyway).

      Delete
  17. If (and I repeat if) one loves tidiness then the trick is to love tidiness (I do) and abhor clutter (I do in my own house) whilst living in a house on ones own which is large enough to accommodate all one's possessions tidily behind closed cupboard doors or drawers.

    ReplyDelete