Earlier this summer, I ordered some meat pies from a naija caterer, popularly called aunty Sidi, because I can’t come and kee myself on top of this #fitfam matter. Two whole dozens I ordered, so I could chop this life and store the leftovers in my freezer for future enjoyment. I got to aunty Sidi’s house to pick up my order, and I was shook. Guys…there was stuff EVERYWHERE! The house couldn’t possibly accommodate any more random things; unless maybe the one little couch in the living room that was spared.
Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get worse, I walked with her to the kitchen and I almost collapsed. No way can she convince me that she uses all those pots and gadgets spilling out of her cabinets and piled on her kitchen floor. In fact, I’m sure she’s had them for
centuries decades. It finally made sense to me why her ikoko irin was set up in her living room – there was no space left in her kitchen to do what the kitchen was actually meant for – cooking! Everything in her house looked dusty and disorganized, almost as though she lived in a junkyard.
I couldn’t get it off my mind after I left aunty Sidi’s house. How did she get to that point? How did her kitchen get so backed up that the door leading to her backyard was no longer accessible, she had to set up her ikoko irin in her living room!? And the clothes, books and random stuff in her living room…why is she still keeping them? How did her house become almost unlivable? And where exactly in all of that mess did she make my meat pies??! I didn’t get answers because I obviously couldn’t ask these questions, but one thing I knew was that I never wanted this to be me.
Four months or so ago, I quit my job to start a new one. During that transition, I decided to take a week off to 1) decompress, because I just wanted to be able to wake up and say “woosah! No work today!” 2) sleep, because life with an infant and a toddler is pure bliss of constant sleep – said no one ever, and 3) declutter, because I refuse to become aunty Sidi.
It was just the beginning of Spring; the weather was great, and it felt right to let go of “junk” in my house. I’m not even a hoarder; I don’t get emotionally attached to things. Go ask my 4-year old who always finds his artwork in the recycle bin. I know, it’s mean. But he brings home tons of them every week. If I really like the artwork, I take a picture and bid farewell to it as I strategically squeeze it into a corner in the recycle bin. Despite this, I find that things still accumulate, and I need to routinely declutter to get rid of stuff I no longer use.
So during my one-week break from work, I went through my house – room after room, to declutter. I started with my closet, and stripped it down. My rule of thumb was, no matter how perfect an item is or how expensive it was when I bought it, if I haven’t worn or used it in a year, I had to let go. It only took an hour or so for my closet to become minimalist, and the feeling of having spare hangers floating around just made me feel…HAPPY!
Since I started attending a super chill church, I realize I don’t wear most of my heels anymore. So I gave most of them away to my sisters, keeping just a handful that I can wear to weddings and special events. I did the same for the kids’ clothes and shoes; passed them on to their younger cousins. Whatever they didn’t take went to Goodwill – ore mi atata that accepts all my unwanted stuff and lets me even deduct the donation from my taxes.
I refuse to give prime real estate in my house to items that are of no use to me. Like the giant TV we had under our bed. Yep, you read that right. It was there for an entire year, just sitting face down under the bed. This is what I refer to as hoarding…that inability to just let go. The TV stopped working, and it cost more to fix it than it did to buy a new one. So why didn’t we just let it go right away?
Hoarding is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder where you believe you need something, when in reality you don’t. So think about that old bicycle gathering up dust, old pillows stuffed under your bed (eeek!), kids old gadgets and toys, and a closet full of 67 shades of pink aso-ebis two sizes too small, that you probably will never fit into again (sorry!).
I’ll suggest two solutions before we become chronic hoarders – one is obviously to declutter routinely, but even better is taking preventive measures to avoid hoarding. Natural hair sisters, there’s only so many different leave-in conditioners we can use at the same time. Wait till your current jar of hair mask is done before purchasing a new one to try out. Second, try not to buy things just because; it must be a true need or want…something you’re eager to consume or use.
Around the same time I took a week off work, my friend also did a decluttering exercise, and found items in her closet that she’d been waiting to fit into, still with tags on them. She also had some designer bags and shoes that she no longer used since she quit her job to stay home with her baby. Right away, she listed them on poshmark and got some good cha-ching for her items. What is even cooler is that the exercise triggered a new side gig. Now she shops for designer items at bargain prices, and turns around to sell them for a profit on poshmark.
My challenge to you is – what one (or two or three) items in your house do you need to let go of? Will you block out a weekend for a declutter challenge? Marie Kondo is the queen of tidying, and her approach for decluttering boils down to one question – does this item spark joy?
P.S. My two dozen meat pies ended up in the trash (RIP). As much as I want to chop this life, I no wan die.