All the cajoling, ultimatums and unwanted advice hadn’t stopped Kat in her hoarding tracks like the sweet well-intentioned hug from her favourite (and only) grandchild. Tiffany’s words, “I’ll remember that I couldn’t come for a sleepover because of the stuff”, were enough to make Kat take action.
But where to start? Well, if Tiffany was going to be able to sleep over, Kat would have to start with Kylie’s old bedroom. She took a step inside and was blocked from going further by boxes and piles. She sighed. Again, where to start?
She turned around, went to the kitchen, and made a cup of tea. She took her tea with her to the computer and started searching for decluttering tips. She soon found plenty of advice.
Tip No. 1 – If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. Well, that wasn’t going to work for Kat. She’s pretty sure she hadn’t used any of it in more than a year, but she couldn’t bear to think of tossing Kylie’s school work or old clothes. She kept searching.
Tip No. 2 – If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. Well of course the clothes in there didn’t fit. They were from when Kylie was little. But that didn’t make it any easier to let go of them. They represented so much care and love, especially the ones that Kat had sewn herself.
Tip No. 3 – Anything that doesn’t “spark joy” gets decluttered. Yeah, well, she’d tried that before and it hadn’t gone well. Kat realised that she kept things that sparked joy, as well as things that sparked guilt and memories and ideas. You can’t just get rid of something just because it’s not perfect.
She continued her search for decluttering tips online and stumbled across a familiar name and face. It was Jane, the professional organiser. Jane had been patient. Jane had listened. Jane had helped her before. She could help again. Last time Kat had called Jane for help, there had been a long waitlist. She’d tried another organiser but that was a disaster. So, with fingers crossed, the call was made and this time, thankfully, Jane was available in a couple of weeks. It had to be a sign.
On the day of the appointment, Kat was anxious, but she pushed her shoulders back and took a deep breath to let Jane in the door. Jane was as warm and friendly as last time. She didn’t seem shocked by the state of Kat’s home. Kat led her to the door of the spare room and explained that’s where she wanted to start.
“Sure, we can do that. But first, can you find me a broom handle?”
Kat didn’t understand but she found one and brought it. Jane looked up at the ceiling in the hallway and poked at the smoke alarm. It gave a loud wail.
“Excellent”, said Jane. “It’s important to have a working smoke alarm in every home.”
“That’s Bill’s job. He always replaces the battery when the clocks change. I’ll probably forget when he’s gone.”
Then Jane took the broom handle again and held it horizontally like she wanted to play limbo. She said, “Kat, I worry about you and Bill getting out the front door in case of an emergency. Ideally, you’d have a pathway as wide as this”, indicating the length of the handle. “Do you think you and Bill could move these bags and piles somewhere else to make the pathway wider. We don’t want you tripping in the dark.”
Kat was taken aback. She hadn’t thought of that before, even though that’s exactly where she’d hurt her knee. “Ok, I’ll ask Bill to do it on the weekend. I really want to work on the spare room.”
Jane was happy with that answer, although she would follow up on her next visit. They turned their attention to the room and its contents. There was a bed, piled high with various clothing and other items; a couple of suitcases stacked in one corner, with two more carboard boxes on top; two chests of drawers; some Christmas decorations on top of one set of drawers; and a sweet looking dolls house on the other. On the floor surrounding the single bed were shopping bags, a sewing machine, and a wheelchair. It seemed that every inch of every surface was covered.
But Jane was not daunted. She said, “Kat, there’s nothing wrong with being sentimental but the way you’re keeping things isn’t honouring them. You also need to be selective. And I’ve got just the game!”.
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here.