Wednesday, 15 September 2010

decluttering and old macs

I'm a hoarder. When I went to uni, my stuff filled one car (which also had three people in it). When I left uni after 3 years, I needed a transit van and a car. I seem to be a magnet for junk. Example:

Me: Wait, you're getting rid of that broken guitar?
Random stranger: Yes. It's broken.
Me: You're not actually going to throw it away, are you?
Random stranger: Yes. It's broken.
Me: But I'm sure it could be used for something!
Random stranger: Well, it no longer serves any musical purpose, so I'm getting rid of it. Do you want it?
Me: Umm…
Random stranger: Well then I'm chucking it.
Me: WAIT! No! I'll take it!
Random stranger: What are you going to do with it?
Me: I don't know.
Random stranger: You know it can't be fixed, right?
Me: Yes.

I don't know why I do it. Maybe I feel a responsibility to recycle as much as I possibly can, including other people's junk. My motives might be fine, but I don't have the time, energy or space to do this. 

Unfortunately, Mr Pippa is just as bad. Two years ago, we went away for a couple of weeks. On the way back, I couldn't understand why we seemed to have so much more stuff. Then I saw that there were 2 eMacs on the back seats.
Me: Why do we have 2 computers in the car?
Him: They're eMacs!
Me: Yes. Why do we have them?
Him: So-and-so was getting rid of them!
Me: Why was he getting rid of them?
Him: They're broken. But if I fix them, I can sell them!
Me: Right. And what about the two broken iMacs we have at home?
Him: I'll fix those too! They probably only need more RAM…

Two years on, we still have those eMacs. Plus two old iMacs (G3s. Remember the really bulky ones which came in different colours? Those. They're pretty hefty). Oh, and my old iMac. So, including broken Macs, this house contains SEVEN Apple Mac computers. Two of them work. You remember how bulky those old iMacs are. They take up a lot of space.

So, with things like this, I've given us deadlines. If those eMacs aren't fixed by the agreed date, they will move on to a new home. Likewise with the various jewellery projects I have on the go: if it's not done by the agreed date, I'm getting rid of it (more on this another time). This will not only get it out of my physical space, but it will be one less thing on my to-do list. Sometimes, a deadline is really helpful in getting things done.

So, as a reward to myself for some major decluttering, I did a bit of sketching. Here's my old iMac, which is on the waiting list for surgery. We have yet to agree on a deadline for this one. But, if it cannot be saved, it will definitely leave this house.

I'm curious: how do you make sure your house doesn't get filled with useless junk? Are there any factors which motivate you when decluttering? What do you think of the idea of deadlines?

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


  1. I go by the rule of thumb...if it hasn't been used or worn in a year I donate it! It's a great system. Clutter stresses me out. :)

    Congratulations on your recent decluttering!

  2. Oh I am so with you on this!! The furniture in my studio is so stuffed / piled with junk that I mostly work on the floor. Come to think of it, at the moment my floor is covered with card making stuff (most of it recycled 'junk' - magazines, old cards etc). If you find a solution to the magpie problem, will you let me know?!

  3. Hi Pips, keep meaning to put pen to paper and then never getting 'round to it. Know what I mean? I will do soon, though, one day. Really I wil.

    This blog of yours is most entertaining, you know. Loving your posts. I'm off to colour coordinate my books...