A week of decluttering

Filed in Blog by on April 27, 2009 12 Comments
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cleaning-clutter-for-zero-wasteWe’ve been on holiday and I bet you never even noticed! Such is the beauty of modern technology. You can either be writing posts from the beach or you can set them up in advance and the tiny hamster kept in my laptop posts them up for me while I’m away.

Self catering for a few days has a strange effect on my psyche. First, there is no clutter when you are away. You walk into a clean, tidy, orderly home and you tend to keep it that way.

Second, the thing that always amazes me most is how little you need when you’re on holiday.

You pack up your stuff for a long weekend, a fortnight or even a month and all you need are a few basic essentials. I find it freeing and rather humorous that we hoard so much when we need so little.

So returning from holiday leaves me fired up and ready to clean and declutter. I want a holiday home 365 days of the year (at least until the novelty wears off)!

What better place to start than the kitchen shelves and cupboards?

I tackled a couple of shelves that have been worrying me for some time. You can see from the photo that they house mainly herbs and spices and other things that I like to grab when cooking, such as soy sauce and stock cubes.

These shelves are over the cooker and it’s rather precarious as my cooker is my pride and joy. Yes, I saved for months to by Alice and we all adore her. She works away for us, creating perfect food with the minimum of energy. The reason for my concern? Alice has a beautiful ceramic face and the shelf tends to hold glass jars.

As you can see, it’s looking a little cluttered on those shelves. What if I need something from the back of the shelves and send a glass jar falling onto Alice’s glass face?

Unable to control my fear any longer, I decided to take the matter in hand.

Half an hour later, I had transformed the shelves to this lovely sight:


I moved all theΒ  stuff I don’t use on a regular basis to another cupboard and of course when I removed all the empty jars and packets (is it only me that manages to collect them?) there was heaps of room left. Now I don’t have to reach across anything to find an item on the shelf. Yipee!

The trouble is, I was left with this:


And after taking out the recycling, I was left with this:


As I mused in our weigh in last week, I think our landfill waste will be swelling as the week progresses – don’t be surprised if we have a heavy week; but at least I shall be feeling a little of the holiday vibe as I go about my day….

What about you? Have you decluttered recently? Did you create a lot of waste or were you able to deal with it?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Carole Blake says:

    Dear Mrs G,

    I’ve had a massive declutter/clean recently as I’ve been preparing my flat for viewing by (hopefully) potential viewers. It’s very liberating and the local charity shops and freecycle have benefitted too.

    The hard part is just keeping the flat in its current fairly pristine condition all the time!! No-one can put a newspaper down but I’m dashing over to pick it up and put it in the rack properly.


  2. Carole Blake says:

    That was meant to say “hopefully potential buyers”! It’s obviously far too early on very wet Monday morning to get any sense at all out of me!!


  3. Goo says:

    Very jealous of your orderly shelves, will try to do better myself.

    I visited our local vicar and his wife the other day ostensibly to admire their newly hatched chicks. Whilst talking I was impressed to learn he even keeps a small pot of those plastic sealers you find around pot and bottle tops and puts them in the recycling. Apparently our council accepts them for recycling.

  4. Those platic lids from the spice jars are accepted at my HWRC for recycling.

    So if you want, you can mail them to me and I’ll deal with them.

  5. Karin says:

    This is very timely. I need to have a major declutter as m-i-l is likely to be coming for the weekend and the spare room is full of my ‘useful bits of paper’ and other such clutter. Best make a start.

  6. greenlady says:

    I think it would be a bit unrealistic to expect to emerge from a declutter without some landfill πŸ˜› and I think you have done really well !!!

    Hmm, I understand the holiday-home feeling but I don’t personally feel the same, I have to say. I also have just come back from a weeks self catered holiday and whilst I always thoroughly enjoy it, I do really miss not having my own cooking ingredients around me. As usually I go on my own & via public transport its not practical to take much with me, and little point in buying loads of stuff once I get there as it won’t get used up in time and be more wasteful. Even something as simple as contemplating a meal of bought jarred sauce and pasta is trammeled by thoughts of ” well it won’t taste all that good without some fresh basil from the plant on the windowsill and a bit of fresh parmesan from the bit in the bottom of the fridge and some of the nice olive oil “.

  7. I love the idea that we should have a holiday house all year round. It certainly paints a concrete picture of what we need and don’t need to live comfortably.

  8. Kris says:

    I applaud your declutter… but.

    That before picture – I was admiring how orderly it is. And then it turns out to be before!

    I really need to declutter my kitchen cupboards, especially as they tend to be rather multi-functional, ie mugs, condiments and hot drinks and scales and occasional use things like a teapot. Plus the plastic tub overload in the adjacent cupboard. But I suspect I might need to get myself a little step first (or grow a foot or two taller!)

  9. LOL Kris – I was with you there in thinking how tidy that shelf was. So Mrs G, once you’re done, please come and visit. The only way I could manage a full declutter would be to live on my own in a beach hut πŸ˜€ x

  10. i just want to know where you keep the darn little hamsters when off duty?
    do they multi task or go dormant when not needed?

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole Blake: Glad to hear the sorting and decluttering is going well, Carole. If feng shui is to be believed, you should have potential buyers soon πŸ˜‰

    @Goo: Hi Goo, great to see you and I love your site. How is the shelf tidying going? Your neighbour sounds like he is really on the ball with recycling; it’s great when you meet people like that πŸ™‚

    @maisie dalziel: I think they are already packed up for the weigh in, Maisie. But if they are to hand I’ll take you up on your offer – thank you! Yet another example of the differences across the borders with recycling **sigh**

    @Karin: How is the decluttering going, Karin? Nothing like a visit to make us get things in order!

    @greenlady: I really hear you on the self catering front, Greenlady. Mr Green was missing salt while we were there and had to ask for some from a neighbour! It’s ok for us, as we travel by car and can take what we like, but I understand it must be very hard if you have to travel lightly.

    @SavvyChristine: I think so too, Christine. I’m taking a bit of a break today, but it’s great to see how small changes can make such a difference. I’m dreading the weigh in, which I’m about to do LOL!

    @Kris: Ack; the plastic tubs. Why do they lose their lids so readily? I’ve been sorting them out today and trying to reunite lids with containers, but alas I have some orphans πŸ™

    @Almost Mrs Average: A beach hut sounds great sometimes. With the sea for company, you wouldn’t need much else πŸ™‚
    I’ll be over with my feather duster later πŸ˜‰

    @nadine sellers: Mine multi task; I’m very lucky; but then I do spoil them with the utmost of care. Would you like to borrow one?

  12. Don’t worry if they are packed up, but keep it mind for the future when/if you get any more.

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