The Definition Of Clutter

Last week was a strange week.

A couple of things happened, out of the blue.

On Thursday I met a stranger, who among other things, told me how he never buys anything he doesn’t use. He’d recently purchased antique crystal wine glasses at auction – not as an investment, but to enjoy. It was a pleasure to talk to this person. It’s a conversation that will stay with me.

Friday rolled around, and as I baked and decorated my Minnie Mouse cupcakes…

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(yes they got done, for those who read Friday’s post)

…my eyes glanced up at my CD collection. Boxed up and packed away above my kitchen cupboards.

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(don’t look too closely – I didn’t do a cobweb sweep before photographing)

This collection has been weighing heavy on my mind. Since starting the decluttering process, a few years back, St Clutter-free has been nagging away at me.

Surely it’s clutter? It’s rarely looked at, let alone played.

I remembered the advice I’d had the day before. Don’t buy anything you don’t use.

The collection isn’t recently purchased, but it raises the question – if I use it can I keep it? Then maybe the conflict inside my mind can be settled, and the weight lifted.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. William Morris.

Eyes closed, I opened a box and pulled out a CD.

An afternoon of rocking-it-out in the kitchen commenced. I was transported through time. I was 28 again.

Rather ironic. Listening to, and bellowing out, parental advisory lyrics whilst making Disney cupcakes. The kids were, of course, safely at school.

I’m now, indiscriminately, working my way through the collection a day at a time. Today’s CD became mine when decluttering a collection of a very special person who is no longer here to enjoy it himself. I’ll enjoy it for him.

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The CD doesn’t bring back painful memories, it brings back wonderful memories.

Today’s CD is something to treasure, it’s not clutter.

Clutter is the railway ticket I found hiding in my wallet this morning. Dated 30 May 2012. Why I’d want to keep it to remind me of such a traumatic time – I do not know.

It’s been decluttered. St Clutter-free is at work today.

It’s all in the definition of clutter. Clutter isn’t useful or beautiful. Clutter is useless or ugly. Clutter can be depressing, uncomfortable and sometimes even painful.

**I have to take this opportunity to drop a link in here. If you didn’t meet The Clutter Fairy when Lesley guest-posted, then please spend 5 minutes getting to know her as she talks about clutter, and how it’s defined, on BBC Breakfast**

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn September 23, 2013, 3:03 pm

    When I first started reading, I thought, “Oh, no. Don’t get rid of that box until you look at them.” But then you did. Clutter isn’t always ugly. Sometimes it’s too many of something that you don’t have room for. Say the CDs. If you kept the whole collection because it reminded you of a good time in your life, but you didn’t have room, some of it would be clutter. Clutter would be the CDs that were just okay. Stuff is a very complicated issue. It’s takes all of us a while to get to just buying what we love and need. I think most of us have to go through other stages before we can get there.

    • simplybeingmum September 25, 2013, 12:01 pm

      Don’t fret…with music I wouldn’t ever throw before listening to it again. It’s easy to forget how much you enjoy certain artists/albums etc… this I found when I listened to Puddle Of Mudd – I’d so forgotten how good they are because they’re rarely played on the radio. Yet when I listened to Oasis yesterday it was rather uninspiring as an experience as although a great CD it’s part of radio playlists, event, TV in the UK – all the time – I know it’s good.
      It isn’t about memories with every CD. Some are just classics. For example I’m listening to John Lennon today. It’s just good stuff so I’ll keep it.
      With respect to clutter, no it isn’t always ugly. But if it’s useless then it goes. So with my collection I will listen to each CD, over time, and keep what I enjoy and declutter what I don’t. It may be that I have a few CD’s where there is a great track but the rest isn’t worth keeping. In that instance I will add the track to my itunes and get rid of the CD.

  • Live and Learn-Toss and Turn September 23, 2013, 3:03 pm

    When I first started reading, I thought, “Oh, no. Don’t get rid of that box until you look at them.” But then you did. Clutter isn’t always ugly. Sometimes it’s too many of something that you don’t have room for. Say the CDs. If you kept the whole collection because it reminded you of a good time in your life, but you didn’t have room, some of it would be clutter. Clutter would be the CDs that were just okay. Stuff is a very complicated issue. It’s takes all of us a while to get to just buying what we love and need. I think most of us have to go through other stages before we can get there.

    • simplybeingmum September 25, 2013, 12:01 pm

      Don’t fret…with music I wouldn’t ever throw before listening to it again. It’s easy to forget how much you enjoy certain artists/albums etc… this I found when I listened to Puddle Of Mudd – I’d so forgotten how good they are because they’re rarely played on the radio. Yet when I listened to Oasis yesterday it was rather uninspiring as an experience as although a great CD it’s part of radio playlists, event, TV in the UK – all the time – I know it’s good.
      It isn’t about memories with every CD. Some are just classics. For example I’m listening to John Lennon today. It’s just good stuff so I’ll keep it.
      With respect to clutter, no it isn’t always ugly. But if it’s useless then it goes. So with my collection I will listen to each CD, over time, and keep what I enjoy and declutter what I don’t. It may be that I have a few CD’s where there is a great track but the rest isn’t worth keeping. In that instance I will add the track to my itunes and get rid of the CD.

  • anexactinglife September 23, 2013, 4:43 pm

    I’m glad you saw beyond the “clutter” of the CD cases to the music within! Although I uploaded all my CDs onto iTunes, I kept the CDs because I like the artwork and booklets that come with them, and technically, you don’t have a license to play the music unless you either have the original CD or a purchased digital copy. Not that most people would be concerned about that…

    • simplybeingmum September 25, 2013, 12:02 pm

      That’s interesting! I’ll check out the licensing laws.
      I’ve flicked through the booklets. It’s interesting to read the lyrics, as on paper they can seem very different.

  • anexactinglife September 23, 2013, 4:43 pm

    I’m glad you saw beyond the “clutter” of the CD cases to the music within! Although I uploaded all my CDs onto iTunes, I kept the CDs because I like the artwork and booklets that come with them, and technically, you don’t have a license to play the music unless you either have the original CD or a purchased digital copy. Not that most people would be concerned about that…

    • simplybeingmum September 25, 2013, 12:02 pm

      That’s interesting! I’ll check out the licensing laws.
      I’ve flicked through the booklets. It’s interesting to read the lyrics, as on paper they can seem very different.

  • Trish September 23, 2013, 10:50 pm

    at least your youthful music collection was on CDs! I had to go from albums to cassettes to cds, oh my!

    • simplybeingmum September 25, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Oh Trish I remember vinyl and tapes. I was 20 I think before I personally had a CD player. This Saturday I randomly selected my first ever CD. It was Pearl Jam!
      I didn’t keep any vinyl, as I didn’t have much. Just a few Nik Kershaw singles. a Prince LP and Regatta De Blanc by The Police. It wasn’t until I was earning a regular wage I started collecting music.
      Sunday in the UK was, in the eighties, (and still is) the Top 40 UK Charts. I have fond memories of taping off the radio onto my C90 tapes – hoping that the songs I liked would be featured that week.

  • Trish September 23, 2013, 10:50 pm

    at least your youthful music collection was on CDs! I had to go from albums to cassettes to cds, oh my!

    • simplybeingmum September 25, 2013, 12:06 pm

      Oh Trish I remember vinyl and tapes. I was 20 I think before I personally had a CD player. This Saturday I randomly selected my first ever CD. It was Pearl Jam!
      I didn’t keep any vinyl, as I didn’t have much. Just a few Nik Kershaw singles. a Prince LP and Regatta De Blanc by The Police. It wasn’t until I was earning a regular wage I started collecting music.
      Sunday in the UK was, in the eighties, (and still is) the Top 40 UK Charts. I have fond memories of taping off the radio onto my C90 tapes – hoping that the songs I liked would be featured that week.

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