I don’t know if it’s the sudden infiltration of Spring filling the air, or the redundant musical instruments that oft clutter up our dining room; but last weekend I was compelled to treat Peachy Towers to a HUGE de-clutter and a shift around. So, armed with charity bags, bin bags and one very sleepy child, Mr J and I set about moving furniture and sorting each and every room.
I guess it comes with being at home a lot, not to mention constantly picking up after a baby, but there are times I find our lovely little house a bit stifling, usually when we are head to toe in piles of paper, scattered magazines and living amongst a sea of the aforementioned instruments. We have little space to work with, our home is pretty compact and once you consider the baby factor, the music, craft, writing, general fanatical geek factors; it’s no wonder we need to make the best of a small space! Lucky for me, I find clearing out very therapeutic, but our second de-clutter of the year got me thinking a lot about a term Judith Levine had discussed in her book ‘Not Buying It’, are we a society suffering from Disposaphobia?? Is my year without shopping turning me into a Disposaphobic?
I best start by saying I had high hopes for my literary trip with Jude and her year out from shopping. In truth, she was a million miles away from my Frugally Fabulous Year! She managed to shop. Twice. She often talked of self-help groups and associations that helped you to NOT spend, by TAKING your money and then telling you how NOT to spend it. Plus, we were worlds apart as people; Jude is a successful writer in her fifties running two homes and three cars with her partner. Me? New mum on a huge career transition running a relatively new home with a penchant for fashion and vintage, stingy about getting buses, Queen of eBay. Where I may struggle sticking to a weekly food budget of £50, Jude metaphorically wept on the pages as she discussed her dilemma at losing a particular brand of socks or reminisced about ‘that Winter she couldn’t replace her ski wear’. Overall I didn’t buy it. Because she bought it.
But she did talk a little about this theory of Disposaphobia and how, as a society, we are too afraid to throw anything out and I couldn’t help but think she was right, but is it wrong? Looking around us this weekend, we both moved in with a load of ‘might do’s’, ‘could be useful’s and a whole help of baggage! It is said that we place so much value on ‘things’ rather than experiences, it feels that by throwing these ‘things’ away, we are throwing a part of ourselves away. It is almost as if we need physical reminders of where we have been and what we have done – from concert tickets and leaflets, receipts and long-dead crockery – we take everything we have with us, because we are too scared of leaving ‘us’ behind. I’m guilty of it, ticket stubs that bring back memories of films I’ve loved and gigs long past – you only need to take a look at Instagram to see how important it is, for many, to capture each and every moment of our lives – whether that’s a beautiful woodland scene or a well-cooked omelette! But why do we do that? Is it because we have to have a constant reminder of what we have done, where we have been? Disposaphobia talks of longing to hold on to the past and my oh my it’s a hard habit to break! I like to make memories and I like to hold on to them, not because they define me but because they are a tiny fragment of my journey. But I guess I want to learn to live in each moment too – I don’t HAVE to take a photo to remember a gig; I might want to close my eyes and let it all wash over me again, which is something even a photo can’t bring to life. But, at the same time, having a good throwback session with the photo album can’t possibly be bad for the soul and, one day, I hope to share my experiences with Daisy in the same way that my Mum shared hers with me! Does that mean I’m Disposaphobic? Or just happy to hang on to the good bits for another time?
I have a firm belief that, as a creative, you always have a pile of ‘will do’s’ waiting for you – I’m a fabric hoarder, a yarn hoarder and a hoarder of memories. I’m making my way through the material, de-fusing the yarn bomb, the memories not so much, I want them to stay! Much like The Dice Man, I live in a permanent state of organised and unpredictable chaos; we have a lot of stuff, and very little places to store them. I’m not defined by the clothes on my back or the DVDs on my rack, but I will make space for the stubs, the useless bits and the experiences they brought me. A sure sign of disposaphobia? I’m undecided!
Well, needless to say, our de-clutter was very therapeutic – check out our lovely dining room now, perfect for family dinners and hardly a musical instrument in sight! I had one of those made cupboard cleaning episodes and the house is feeling bright and airy. Peace has been somewhat restored to our chaotic abode – even the sun isn’t unwelcome; says she, a firm fan of the dark side! Our next job is to make some sense and prettiness of our top room, which serves as a dressing room/craft space – a haven for the disposaphobic in all of us!
Stay Peachy x
Are you a hoarder? Do you like a good de-clutter? As always, I would love to know!