The C Word

A life less cluttered

“Yes I think I have over fifty pairs of shoes here and this is where I keep them”, she smiled brightly and proudly, the reveal lifted the veil on her impressive accumulation shining like scattered M&Ms.

I marvelled at her patent collection, high heels, wedges, kitten heels, stilettos, open toes, pumps and boots. Travelling down the shoe shelves she squeezed my arm and her confessional grin followed by a naughty whisper, “the others are in storage....with the rest of the clutter.” Which couldn’t be accommodated in the five bedroom house?

On the train to the office I chugged past a billboard preaching temptation, ‘2 weeks free  storage’ more space to store the stuff we don’t use, but happy to hoard and it would appear that we’ve been persuaded to extend the footprint of our living by storing our stuff in around 750 personal storage facilities in the UK, valued at around £4billion (set to grow by over 200% over the next few years). Wondering whether our lifestyle was slipping down a similar track I was provoked to inventory my ‘stuff’. I started with the wardrobe, I am partial to fashion acquisition, counting the shirts, T-shirts, jumpers, trousers, jackets, suits, shoes, flip flops, trainers...digits now had zeros after them. I recognised old favourites which had been resigned to the deep reaches of wardrobes and drawers. A flicker of horror lanced at my conscience, the loft I hadn’t even considered my seasonal adjustment collection which I’d forgotten to dig out each season. Discarded crates of t-shirts, linens and woollies out of sight and clearly out of my mind to think that this method of wardrobe management equated to smart thinking.


Where did all this stuff come from? What was I doing with it...more importantly what am i going to do with it?

A serendipitous conversation with a work colleague inspired a drastic thought. “I can pack all my clothes in to 3 crates...everything". Her intercity migration had forced her hand to a capsule wardrobe. A lofty ambition which I could probably achieve with shipping containers. No, perhaps the most immediate solution lay in down-sizing. The wardrobe policy would be restricted to ten pieces per item of clothing, 10 t-shirts, shirts, trousers, etc. The cull culminated in bulging sacks destined for recycling through the charity network.

But the questioned still remained, where did all this clutter come from? Not how did I acquire it all...that’s just ravenous consumption. I found part of the answer in the Story of Stuff. If you want a less bloated life, then slip on a slimming belt called conscience.    

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I couldn’t agree more! My husband and I are moving to another city and we’ve had to get rid of everything. I don’t miss any of it - in fact, I still think I have too much stuff. I would recommend a ‘stuff detox’ to anyone.

By Suzie on July 16, 2011

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Next stop is the furniture…the Maharani doesn’t know that yet!

By Urban Rajah on July 16, 2011

Just as long as you dont get rid of me, I don’t mind!

By Maharani on July 16, 2011

Oh my word… there is just too much that we all buy. It takes a real session to rid ourselves of all the stuff we think we need, but in reality, we don’t.

By Joe on July 16, 2011

Have implemented a ‘one-in one-out’ rule in our house ... we don’t stick by it ... but it makes me feel better! My ‘I must sell this on eBay’ pile seems to be growing quite rapidly too… one day…..

By Jo H on July 17, 2011

Its’s so satisfying having a good clear out….until you realize that you’re still paying for the stuff!

By Carl on July 17, 2011

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Break free my friends…liberate your space!

By Urban Rajah on July 17, 2011

I’m very happy to report that we got rid of so much stuff this year that we’ve been able to move from a large 4bdroom country home down to a small city 1bdrm flat… oh dear it was difficult. Now it’s time to down size the car collection (seriously, nothing too costly before you get the wrong idea!).

Will let you know how it goes…. so the “C word” still applies, so cathartic!

By Joe on August 22, 2011

Yup, still downsizing. I think we’ve purged a further 50% since. Would you believe that we’re still aiming at more reduction? grin

By Joe on January 02, 2013

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