But your home, stripped of clutter, streamlined and sleek, with plenty of clear space and room to breathe...doesn't also have to be an empty, graceless nightmare, devoid of comfort and cosiness.
1. Memories vs Mementos
You no longer have a shelf crammed with photos and ornaments. But you do have one or two well-placed and carefully chosen reminders of friends and family, holidays, achievements or special occasions. Every time you look at the shelf, you smile, and the memory is evoked. Previously, that shelf only evoked feelings of guilt about how much dust it had accumulated, and you couldn't pick out any particular memory from the myriad on offer.
2. Just enough vs Just in case
Your side-table used to be overflowing with notepads, pens, headache tablets, receipts and clothing care labels, bank statements and goodness knows what else. You kept them there because you might need them, and it was best to keep them close at hand - 'just in case' - but you could never find what you wanted. Now, you know exactly where everything is and you can put your hand on it within a minute. You have got rid of everything on that side table that you don't use every day, so you have one pen and pencil for the sudoku and a single notebook to capture thoughts and plans. You now have an efficient filing system for bank statements and receipts, a central store where you put all your extra stationary, and a little place in your utility room or 'useful cupboard' where you put clothing care labels. Now when you put your mug down on the side table, it doesn't accidentally stain an important document, or topple over because it's too precariously balanced. And all this means you no longer need the headache tablets.
3. Comfort vs Clutter
'Let me clear a space for you to sit' is something you never say any more. You are happy to let people in to your living space at a moment's notice; you know that it's going to be clean and clear, because there's not much there to cause mess. And even if you haven't tidied up all week, it's not going to take very long to do so. If the papers are strewn all over the floor, it's easy to gather them up and put them in their allotted recycling bin. If there are children's toys around, they are also easily gathered up and put in the toy bin that neatly tucks behind a chair or into an alcove. Plates and cups are always tidied away quickly, and never accumulate, because it's so much easier and nicer to keep a table clear once it is clear - and when the rest of the room looks wonderful.
4. Quality vs Quantity
Despite what my friend Stu says (in all other respects a thoughtful and wise man) quantity is NOT necessarily 'a quality all of its own'. You own 6 good quality, comfortable sofa cushions that complement your decor, instead of 10 old, mis-matched flat ones. But you considered the purchase, saved for it, bought what you needed, and no more. You have a couple of really beautiful pictures on the wall, instead of a dozen badly-considered cheap prints. Your crockery - now pared down to what you use, is of better quality, because you bought less of it, and have to replace it less often. And all that money that you didn't spend on buying endless tat?...well, you're saving for something you really want.
5. Serene vs Submurged
When you come home, you decompress without distractions in your living room, cook without fuss in your kitchen, calmly drift off to sleep in your bedroom. You no longer walk through the door to be confronted with mess to be tidied, jobs undone, homeless laundry in teetering heaps. You no longer move piles of things from one place to another, simply to get to a cupboard, or to be able to sleep in your own bed. This is because they all have a place to be put into that makes sense, and is where you can find it - or - you no longer own them.
Is this an impossible dream? (I don't think so - I'm well on my way there). let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading,