My Dark Secret

Despite my many assurances that my house is now, on the whole, decluttered (and it is), and despite my assertions that I do not buy 'stuff' any more (and I don't), I have a terrible dark secret. A shed, which looks like this.

And this.

Oh, and over here as well.

When we built it, we had fond ideas of lining it and turning it into a summer house, opening onto the pool. Or using it as a home gym. Or at the very least, storing all the bikes and other gear that is now stuffed awkwardly under the house, making it a half day exercise merely to get to the bikes to go for a simple bike ride with the children. But we can do none of those things because I only sort-of decluttered the house, and the things I couldn't bear to get rid of outright sort of migrated to the shed, and then magically turned into the world's most giant clutter-bomb. And now, several years later, steps must be taken. We have ...ummm, maybe neglected to invite the council to sign off on our shed building project. In order to do that, The Man actually has to finish it, and to finish it, we have to take everything out of it so he can get to the walls.

So every day this week I have hauled myself up there and sighed, and pulled out a box, sighed, opened it, and wondered listlessly what possessed me to put all these unrelated items in a box anyway, sat for a while, gazing into middle distance, waiting for divine inspiration. Then I walk down to the house with a few items, find them a home, put them in the bin, recycle them, or put them in the op-shop bag. Then I trudge back up to the shed, sigh etc etc. This is possibly the most inefficient way to declutter that has ever been invented, but it works for me, because you know how organization manuals always tell you to have a box for rubbish, and a box for this, and a pile for that? Well, if I do that I end up with a bunch of boxes and piles that I just shove in the corner when someone interrupts me (and they always do). So when I return later or the next day I am faced with all the same clutter, rearranged into different piles. Madness. So by reducing the pile item by item, the clutter actually goes away permanently. And I get to do lots of exercise and talk to the cat.

And amongst all the junk family heirlooms, I found the perfect birthday present for my brother (Doug, if you are reading this, I bet you are thrilled. A present from the shed. I know, you should be so lucky). So, happy days. And Posy, who 'helps' in all life's inconvenient moments, found all the dress-ups that I have been hiding for two years, and modeled them all, and then, oh heaven help us, she found the chemistry set. So this afternoon we did 'experiments', and I had to watch her like a hawk.

'Look Mummy, if I pour the sodium carbonate into the methyl orange it looks like fake blood. I could take that for News at school. What if I pour both of these into the copper sulph.... oooh, look it's fizzing over the top...' I'm just relieved she hasn't worked out what the bunsen burner is for yet.

Tomorrow, The Boy is going to bolt together the wooden shelves that are piled, deconstructed in the corner. They once held all our homeschooling supplies down in the house, but now I am spurred on by visions of our pared down possessions in neatly labelled crates on wooden shelves. Maybe there will be wall stencils with uplifting mottoes...yes, yes I have been on pinterest too long...


I rather like the look of the wicker baskets. Could you not line them with pretty fabric, fill with treats (posh teas, coffees, biscuits or nice smellies) and give away as presents? Other people's clutter always looks better than my own!!
Jo said…
Well, yes Mrs Frantic, I COULD, but what if I NEED them? You see I haven't quite got those hoarding instincts under control yet...
Anonymous said…
Ahhh! The old denial!

Are you keeping the stuff because it may be useful one day, like the chemistry set? Think what that is costing you? A beautiful summer house.

Or because there's items you treasure in there? Well, then as Peter Walsh says, if you treasure them you'll treat them well and have them on display!

Or can you just not face dealing with all the stuff? The go slow and steady.

See I've read all the books on organising and decluttering. I prefer reading about it to doing it! Lol. I've almost read enough to get a PhD. Except all the books are cluttering up my study. Along with a a lifetime of photos, never used crafting material, boxes of god knows what, 6 years of tax papers. Yeah, we all have a room to hide our secrets.
Your shed makes me feel the tiniest bit better about my attic. Nonetheless, I share your pain.

I have a brother named Doug. I find fewer and fewer people do. "Doug," a nice name that seems to have gone out of fashion, and an especially nice name for a brother.

I say you ship all the stuff in the shed to him. You can send it to my Doug if you like. Problem solved!

Jen's Busy Days said…
I do think you are right, Jo, on the deal with it now, sighing and all, than to just have deal with "sorted boxes" later. And the kids always seem to find stuff in the "to donate" or the "to throw away" boxes and bring it all out again! So very depressing! I think you have it right. Do it once, do it "right" and keep the cat happy too.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW
Jo said…
Lucinda, I'm sure you're right, it is denial, see you could get that PhD, we won't peek into your study, we promise.
Frances, all the best sisters have a brother called Doug, and Jen, you always hit the nail on the head; the important thing is to keep the cat happy. And it is very happy, having been extensively chatted to - I'm almost there! If only it would stop raining now..
i sympathise! but as i get older i get more allergic to the junk i used to think was valuable, and get quite ruthless. especially over my summer holidays! i can be quite obsessive about it. i can scare myself with my ruthlessness.

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