I have this funny tendency of looking into people’s homes when their lights are on.
No, I’m not a peeping Tom, and I certainly don’t make a habit of it. But on those dusky evenings when it’s not quite dark enough to draw the blinds, but not quite light enough to see without a lamp, the streets become a glittering glow of miniature theatres, as people go about their lives, acting out all of their routines oblivious to the world outside.
In some respect I feel a little like the David Attenborough of the human home, because it doesn’t matter whether I’m walking or driving by I like to have a glance in and see how others are living their lives.
Not only is there some kind of comfort in seeing the simple rituals that we all take during our evenings; television, dinner, ironing. But from the lit up view from the street you can see every part of their homes – even the rooms they would never dream of displaying.
Messy bedrooms, boxes piled high in spare rooms and lounges alike.
I know, at this point you’re probably starting to wonder if I’m ok, or if I’m a few spoons short of a picnic basket.
But apart from learning that more people really need to start closing their curtains, my nosing has made me see what stuff monsters we’ve all become.
It’s no wonder Marie Kondo has sold over 4 million books on de-cluttering the home -because wowsers, from my experience of being a gawker, that book should be handed out on the daily paper round.
An undressed window on a dusky evening has proven quite revealing.
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful – William Morris
Why do we need so much stuff?
I recently unconsciously de-cluttered my life. (In more than one sense but that’s another story completely!)
I left my previous house with nothing but a bed. And now nearly 4 months later I still have very little to my name. Not because I can’t afford to, but because I’ve realised how little I really need.
I’ve bought stuff, just as and when I’ve needed it. And I’m still yet to purchase those frivolous items for my humble abode – (well you could call cushions frivolous but we all know that they’re an essential item.)
My home may be lacking in many people’s eyes, but living with less has made me surprisingly practical.
Take for example my recent potato peeler saga.
Thought I’d cook myself some crispy roast potatoes and then had the dramatic realisation that I had yet to purchase a potato peeler.
And as of course it was the traditional Sunday roast, there was no shop around to save my potatoes.
But fear not, I simply practised the art of peeling with a sharp knife. (Life points to Lizzie +10).
This type of scenario has happened more than once recently, but every time it does, it makes me laugh. In my stubborn determination I’m making it my mission to find a practical solution rather than purchase something I’m probably going to use once a year. (Admittedly a potato peeler would get used rather religiously – but that’s not the point.)
The fact is, we’re all up to our eye balls in junk we don’t even need!
Now I’m not condemning those occasional shopping trips or those heirlooms you’ve got shoved on top of your wardrobe, but where does it end?
Take a look around your home right now at all those dust collectors and ask yourself when was the last time it gave you anything. Ie is it helpful, does it insert any happiness in your life? Or, is it just there because at the time it seemed like a good idea, or you just felt like you had to fill some empty space?
If your home doesn’t feel harmonious, you won’t.
I’m not going to deny that I get a serious kick out of organising anything – I’m notorious at organising my space – to the point that even as a child I would regularly re-arrange my bedroom and do a spring clean without being asked, strange I know.
Since stripping back to basics in my new home my head has felt clearer, my space has felt more calming, and I no longer have to dust as much rubbish that I’ve collected for no other reason than because I love trinkets that sparkle.
I’ll put my hands-up to admitting that I’m an obsessive de-clutterer, to the point my brutal honesty has often been hired by friends and family to force them to re-evaluate their dwellings. But it’s only because I know how refreshing it feels when your life feels organised.
Messy homes can be a burden, so control your stuff before your stuff controls you!