Friday, 22 March 2013

From clutter to zen


I started with very little, during the growing up years. The family house was bare with just basic rattan furniture. Never mind if rattan is the most eco-friendly cooling furniture pieces to have in a humid hot Malaysia; in my childhood head I considered the shiny vinyl of the multi colored sofas in my friends' houses as luxury.

Even these days we still have vinyl on our wooden floor, then carpet, then rattan chair or pandan mats, or for that matter mattresses; to sit and lay around. We don't want to really sit on the carpet, unless the cotton and silk ones - otherwise it has to be covered with the pandan mat. I don't know what would our couchsurfers friends Jasmine and Daniel think if we had asked them to sleep on vinyl or that synthetic wool carpets when they came to stay at our family house. They must had already think we are crazy to cover our wood floor and then did our best to sit/lay down on what nature offered us. Well, to be fair, the house was built during our early years of adulthood. The main objective was to have a floor. They are uneven, with nails and a few planks unshaven (uuh, is this a correct term?), and none polished nor varnish. Thus the vinyl covering. But still, that is how I had been brought up, in a very sparsely decorated house.

So how I get to be such a hoarder on my own? Furniture, crockery, clothing, books, DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, toys, and knick-knacks  got to pile up on top of one another, even gym equipment and a piano. That was my late husband actually, who said, every house should have a piano, and a few thousands book. Indeed, it has always been with good intention when we acquire our things. It is so very very recently that getting and keeping books no longer always a positive action. Ooucch. We will always be avid readers. However, we now know some books are best kept in the libraries. And some books can be passed to the next generation of readers.

My turn about to letting go some of our stuff did not arise from wanting to be a minimalist, but rather to create more living space. We moved from a 2000 square feet four bedrooms, complete with floor to ceiling built in storage/closet to a three bedrooms 1200 square feet apartment with no built in. That was another oouuch. Still, we took our time and go through our things.

The first to go was the easiest. Clothes. All my work clothes went to the still working family members and relatives. The ones my size of course. Any clothes no longer worn, or for years remained categorized to be worn were also given away. Shoes too. Then books. Most of our books were sent to libraries around town, public and privates. I brought magazines to my hairdresser, our car service outlet and passed to my neighbor  who is a radio DJ, and appreciates all the tidbits in the magazine. And we still  have a good number of books, that still needed to be trimmed. But getting much more manageable. I hardly buy magazine now days anyway.

Crockery was easy. Damaged, out to the trash. Pretty and in great condition, offered to family and friends. What we keep are really very basic. The extras are just plates and bowls. Ooh and a couple of huge pots, in case I want to cook for a crowd. Heh, can't be a perfect exhoarder right?

The toys took a long time to go. There are many types and some are still being played with. Thus we decided the clearly age appropriate went to respective age groups. We keep all the board games, from monopoly to battleship, some hotwheel cars, and legos. It is the knick-knacks that I faced difficulty with. They are mostly travel keepsakes, memorable gifts, and little life commemorative mementos. They are now boxed except those broken and cannot be mended. A few are put on display.

So yes, we made it. We now have space for our friends and visitors. Of course we keep our piano too. Hope everyone's journey to less clutter is a fun and satisfying one.

Happy Friday.
Alternative Foodie.

p/s (1) The gym equipment are kept being moved around - depending on how motivated we are with using them. Sometimes they are right in the living room, and often hidden in the 3rd bedroom. One room that has yet to be fully decluttered and made over. (2) DVDs, CDs, VHs, and photos - they are for now being looked at, and played but no attempt yet at reducing the numbers.

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