Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Lent de-cluttering 1

Now then, this Lent de-cluttering challenge – 40 bags in 40 days.

It’s made me realize how sick of thinking about both numbers and clutter I am. Even so, let’s press on, because it’s also woken me up to how much extraneous rubbish I’ve managed to accumulate without even noticing it!

We’ve begun sorting and sifting in our house, and confidently expect lots more stuff to surface as Lent progresses. It isn’t even Ash Wednesday until tomorrow, but you know how it is – once you start thinking about a thing you get on with it, so we generated lots of bags straight off. I guess it’s meant to be one bag on each of the forty days, but hey – too bad; I have better things to do, I’m just going with the principle, ie get rid of as much as possible while retaining what I actually need.

So I thought it would be more interesting, rather than just itemize what I (or others in our house) chuck out, to consider categories of Stuff – that might help in future with identifying what needs to go and what should never have accumulated in the first place.

So here begins my analysis of what I’ve unearthed so far – there are other bits and pieces from other members of the household too, but I expect they come into the same categories.


So today’s category is what I call true junk – stuff that just needs throwing away. No one wants it, it’s no longer useful or it’s broken.

Like this pile of plastic food trays. I’ve used them for plant pot stands, also for feeding the fox, but there comes a point when they just have to go. This is that point. I’ll rinse them off and put them out with for recycling. And that old ripped foil ex-food-tray for fox feeding. Foxy doesn't rip up his food trays, but next door's dog does if he manages to burgle our garden!

Likewise, these goblets from our food liquidizer. Because most of us use this every day, we go through them fairly often. We keep the goblets for spares, but we’d accumulated more than we needed. Also there’s a pan lid where the riveted handle has broken off. This will go to our council dump, where everything is sorted for recycling.

Also this bird feeder, infested with mould and impossible to clean despite many attempts, rusty, and broken. Dead.

This brings me to –


True Junk accumulates in nooks and crannies. Under this garden seat, the wind has blown scrap cardboard (we can compost it) and a flowerpot. 

A gardener might want that – we put out old flower pots in stacks at the mouth of our garden path, chalking on the wall that anyone can take them – and they do! We also do this with other unwanted things – items of furniture, etc. It all goes.

Here’s an example of places of accumulation! This was deliberate, actually. We got this vegetable bed ready for planting last autumn. We put cardboard from mail order packaging, and the bags from the bought part of the compost (some was our own) on top to stop the weeds until we were ready to plant. Now we are, we can compost the cardboard and the bags can be recycled The watering cans and plant pots, bricks and stones etc were all holding down the cardboard so the wind didn't blow it away. They aren't junk of any kind.

Well, I expect that’s enough reading for now or you’ll die of thirst or boredom or something.

To be continued . . .


Deborah said...

I love reading tales of decluttering so no boredom here :-D

Pen Wilcock said...


Me too! x

Linda said...

I love de-cluttering and have been doing it myself for a while. Thanks for an entertaining post :)

Pen Wilcock said...

Interesting that you actually enjoy de-cluttering, rather than just seeing it as an ongoing chore. I enjoy it too. It's intrigued me to notice that selling on eBay is enjoyable in the same way as shopping on eBay - wrapping things up, sending off a parcel, anticipating someone's happiness at receiving something lovely at a very low price. And sorting out and discarding, watching a more streamlined home emerge, has the same pleasures as rearranging to accommodate a new purchase.

Linda said...

In this day, I regard it as a conscious discipline what we choose to bring home, purchase etc. It's so easy to end up with clutter. Things break, we never end up fixing. I buy a skirt thats too large at a second hand store because I like the fabric and intend to take it in. I don't get around to it, and so it sits. Eventually I cut it up and decide to use the fabric for a sewing project. I don't get around to it, so it sits..and on and on it goes. Your post intrigued me because I KNOW I need to start being so conscious of what is coming into my house. There's a lady in my town with a war on plastic. She's obviously legendary, because I havn't even met her but I was recently told of this story from a shop keeper. She goes to the extent of taking her own containers to the butcher shop/supermarket etc to package her fresh purchases in, rather than having them wrap everything in plastic. She has 1 x 1 litre Agee Jar that she proudly shows people, because It'd only half full of plastic that for one reason or other she was not able to prevent coming into her home. I think its quirky and just goes to show the efforts it takes to choose what we want in our homes. ~ Kind regards - Linda

Pen Wilcock said...

The plastic thing is something I know I need to tackle. I've thought of doing what that lady does, that you describe, but haven't had the courage. Good for her!

Mother Hawthorne said...

I'm known at my local supermarket for bringing little, hand-sewn, cloth bags to put loose fruit and veg in. I often get asked about them by other shoppers. One of the assistants told other shoppers she enjoys the surprise of seeing what I've put in them! ��
When I'm organised enough I take my own tins to the butchers to put meat in. They're gradually getting used to the idea. Supermarket butchers refuse point blank to use them because they have to follow their shop regulations.

The other thing I do (when I remember!) is to take my own container to the chip shop for mushy peas, as they only have polystyrene ones. I cut up the outer fish and chip wrappers, if they're not too greasy, to re-use for things like wiping the butter knife, or getting grease off a frying pan, or wiping the cat bowl clean.

It's soooooooo hard to avoid plastic when shopping. I buy Whiskas or Go-cat dry food because it comes in card boxes, and cat food in tins instead of pouches - though sometimes I have to relent because they get fed up and need a change from time to time!

Sorry to go on. It's one of my hobby horses! ��

Pen Wilcock said...

Hooray! Well done - good for you!

Our main item in the landfill trash is cat food pouches from the cats and fox. We do use tins but also pouches. Actually, for a little while I got Bakers' dog food for the fox. It came in really sturdy little plastic containers (no writing on them either - that was all on the outer box), so I kept them for freezer portions. If I had a bigger freezer, I think I might stop buying fox food, and instead get mince or something and bag it up in portions to freeze. I feed the crows cheese now. They love it. x

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh - darn - completely forgot the main thing I meant to say (sidetracked about foxes), which was that I'm thinking of sendig for these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reusable-Foldable-Shopping-Friendly-Vegetable/dp/B01MXLY8NA/ref=sr_1_12?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1488959356&sr=1-12&keywords=reusable+bags