By Anita Manley
During the first few weeks of COVID-19, while cooped up in our small one-bedroom apartment, it was clear we had one BIG problem. CLUTTER. Clutter had accumulated EVERYWHERE. On my desk in the bedroom, on the coffee table in the living room (my second desk!), the dining room table, and due to being home all day: a multitude of dirty dishes, piled high, in the kitchen. All this disorganization and messiness was really getting me down.
I talked to my daughter, Nicola, on the phone and she was doing some great decluttering herself… thus inspired, I started with my desk and committed to it by telling Nicola I was going to attempt to clear it off by our next call (in a week’s time). So! Mission accomplished: papers thrown out or filed, books were put onto a bookshelf or given away and I even got rid of an orchid, whose bare branches were not bringing me joy. It felt great… Marie Kondo would’ve been proud of me. I know Nicola was, when I showed her the results on our next video chat.
Then, I moved onto my “other desk” in the living room. Same thing — voila! Then into my closets — I emptied all of the clothes I never wear and piled them for donation; winter clothes were stored away downstairs and underwear/ sock drawer was cleared out into bins, making room for more clothing. I was on a roll — but still: nothing was getting me down more, than the thought of that endless trail of dirty dishes awaiting… in the kitchen.
Perhaps anyone living/ working from home during COVID without a dishwasher can relate. Cooking and eating every meal at home adds up to a lot of dishes in a day. One skipped day of doing the dishes can set you behind and be super depressing. Envision attempting to prepare a meal with a small counter and dirty dishes encroaching on all surfaces, leaving no room for preparation. I was feeling super frustrated and was recounting this story to my friend on a walk through a lush forest in her neighbourhood one sunny morning. The ‘dreaded dishes’ dilemma. She so very kindly texted me the next day and asked what my plans were for dinner. I replied: nothing that couldn’t be changed. She said OK, do up your dishes and I am going to deliver your next meal. A few hours later, there was a beautiful casserole, salad and berry crisp for dessert — ready to eat. My husband and I felt so indebted to her for making this kindly gesture that we also resolved to keep up with the dishes ever since.
I can honestly say that the lack of clutter throughout our home has reduced my anxiety and feelings of depression. I also feel I am sleeping better at night.
Therefore, it was no surprise to me when I recently picked up the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, to see that in her very first chapter she listed “toss, restore, organize” as goals towards “Boosting Energy” and creating a happier life. Or, that Sue-Anne Hickey of Bodytypology listed “decluttering and creating a relaxing atmosphere” as a way to prevent insomnia.
Whether you decide to read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or not: I know you will benefit from decluttering your living space.
Give it a try — one room at a time — for better peace of mind.
Now, doesn’t this image of a tidy apartment (not my own) bring inner peace?
OhMiGoddess! To think I invited you into my apt when we were packing to go away… and we have too much ‘stuff’ out, even in a good day. I will be afraid to answer the door to you in future. LOL. Altho’ I do have one blackmail item up my sleeve:)
It’s true that less stuff is freeing and I am working on it but moving from a gigantic 3-storey house to a 2 bedroom apt has been rough and I am currently in a break from re-homing things, especially those with sentimental value… and antiques.
– I’m also holding on to a few pre-COVID clothes In the hope I will one day fit into them again without looking like a sausage in a skin.
Btw, had I known about the dishes, we could have stacked everything in an IKEA bag, dragged it across the hallway and filled my dishwasher.
Kudos for the decluttering Anita.
Once again, I am awed by your grit.
Thanks, Julie. No need to worry, I do not judge. 🙂 Thanks for kind offer of dishwasher loan — that would be a sight. We are on top of it now! I guess we just needed a little boost.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy your vacation!