Wednesday, 7 August 2019

The Slow Work of Un-Stuffocation

We all seem to have lots of 'stuff'. Apparently many Westerners have a two car garage which cannot fit a single car in it (CBS Sunday Morning, 22 April 2018). We leave our expensive cars outside, while our garages drown in crap. Imagine! Whether in our workplace or at home, it seems that unless we are active, things pile up in drifts around us. Things could be as simple as recycling or unread emails, to unfiled paperwork or our intended reading pile.

I am a conscious tidier. When I was quite young - and lazy with it - I tallied up how much time I had to spend finding things through my own disorganised laziness. I quickly worked out that I could save SOOO much time and energy by having a 'one true place' for everything, then consistently putting things in that  'one true place'. Organised laziness. I have built this habit over the years. I streamline wherever possible. I do similar things together. I try not to repeat things. I reuse, regift, recycle, repurpose tasks to limit junk tasks as well as junk.

(Interestingly, people don't believe me when I tell them it is because I am lazy that I am organised. Ha: I save my limited time on earth for my one true love - reading - by cutting out unnecessary faffing about).

Lately my husband has been working offshore, and I have used this hiatus to consciously tidy our lives. Over the course of this year, and in consultation, I have gone through our house, our workspaces and our storage to recycle, regift and repurpose things that no longer have a 'one true place' in our lives.

While I have read the Marie Kondo book (review here), my printer does not 'spark joy', and folding my socks into neat little standing-on-edge soldiers just tells me that I have too many socks. Ms Kondo's philosophy doesn't fit me well. My philosophy lies more in the slow movement.

My preference is to consider what to tackle, how to tackle it, and to deal with junk a space at a time; sometimes a drawer at a time. Like eating an elephant, the tide of stuff does not have to be dealt with at a run. Just walking faster than the dross accumulates means that your stuffocation (Wallman, 2013) slowly reduces.

What has surprised me is how liberating getting rid of things has been. Even after only a couple of boxes of things going, I feel a lightening of spirit. And many, many boxes have gone since I started, and there are many, many boxes yet to go. This slow work in progress of paring back - of coming to realise what can be done without; then re-evaluating; then realising what else can be done without - is wonderful.

Try the slow approach. It might work for you.


  • CBS Sunday Morning (22 April 2018). A clean sweep: Getting rid of your clutter. Retrieved from
  • Kondo, M. (2014). The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. USA: Ten Speed Press
  • Wallman, J. (2013). How We've Had Enough of Stuff and Why You Need Experience More than Ever. UK: Crux Publishing Ltd

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