Towards a Simpler Life

Useless Coffee Tin

This tin represents many things which are wrong with my life.    I used it to store my decaff coffee in.  I have not drunk a cup of decaff coffee for at least 6 months, possibly more.  During this time it has been sitting empty in my fridge in case I do decide to drink decaff coffee and thus decant a packet of coffee into it.

Yesterday Ren nudged me towards Small Notebook, a site dedicated to simplifying your life.  From there I found this post on releasing purchase regrets, and I realised that I was hanging onto the tin because I might buy a packet of decaff coffee and decant it into the tin.  Yes really.  My logic was that a packet is cheaper than a tin, so I needed to keep the tin as storage would be easier.

Utter Madness!

The flat is full of stuff, much is useful and wanted, but there is too much “maybe it might be used one day stuff” for the available space, which I now realise is slowly suffocating me and has; for the sake of my health and sanity, to be dealt with.  Having realised and acknowledged the problem I already feel lighter and more in control.

The tin is now in the recycling sack where it should be, which will be collected tomorrow morning. And lots more stuff will be going the same way.  A bottle of aftersun has been sitting on my bedside table untouched for several years.   I thought chucking it would be wasteful (afterall I had paid good money for it) and I could use it as body lotion, in reality it is too thin and I do not enjoy using it as body lotion.  It is now in the bin and has been replaced by a richer, fragrant bottle.

A huge huge thanks to Ren for initiating the process which made me see my madness.

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  1. says

    Oh Helen, in a way, it is funny. I have so many tins like that and the photo says it all. I love the Small Notebook site, there was a post just the other day about leaving a laundy basket in the bathroom – so simple and obvious and yet one change has made all the difference! I hope this is the start of a happy process! I will be joining you x

  2. says

    Fab post. I think everyone who reads it will be able to relate and think about examples of the same thing in their own lives. I certainly have, but for me it’s finding the time to do the sorting. Managed to organise my sons room last week and it felt so good!! Keep going and tweeting about it to inspire me to do more. X

    • says

      I think it is doing stuff in short bursts too Fleur. I can do an amazing amount in the ad breaks when watching telly – a bookshelf or a small drawer. Can you make a game of it for the children?

  3. says

    It really does feel good to have a clear out doesn’t it? We ended up having to move twice in the space of 7 months. The first time we moved less than a mile so a lot of stuff just got dumped in boxes to be dealt with later, it was only the complete crap that got chucked. For the second move we were more organised as we were moving 200 miles away and I was more ruthless when it came to the definitions of potentially useful and useless stuff. It’s amazing how much crap 2 people can accumulate because things ‘might be useful’ one day. We both have a slight tendency to collect things, 4 full bookcases proves this, but we are getting better at throwing out the crap now which is something. Hopoe you’re enjoying your new decluttered home :)

    • says

      I have a very very long way to go. But relising the problem has helped. In my charity shop bag is a frying pan which I have not used for 3 years, 2 snail dishes – not used for at least 12 years and my spare, yes SPARE pestle and mortar, which I never use as it is ceramic and sets teeth on edge. I hang on to it because it was a present.

  4. says

    I came across that site (and several others) some months ago when I went through a similar of decluttering. It’s not complete, though it is paused for the moment, but it has been hugely successful thus far and felt great. For me, what prompted the action was seeing the trailers for some TV shows on hoarders. Whilst my house had not reached the crazy levels of the ones featured, I knew it was well on its way, and certainly I’d long ago reached the point of allowing only a very few trusted friends into the house, because I couldn’t bear for others to see how much chaos I had accumulated. I too was keeping far too many items with the excuse of potentially needing them in the future, and it being daft to spend money on something I’d had but thrown away. Of course, that way madness lies. We sent huge, huge volumes of things to various charity shops and sales, to recycling and where we had to, into the regular bin. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s been a great start.

    • says

      You did sterling work Kavey and should be so proud of yourself. I seem to spend so much time moving stuff around in order to work or put things away. I could be using that time to be creative, or earn money.

  5. says

    I’m a terrible hoarder and the same as you when it comes to keeping things in case they are useful in future! But hopefully my boyfriend will be moving in with me soon and I’m going to have to de-clutter to make some space for his stuff… he only needs one drawer, right? ;-) He has even suggested in the past I get rid of my beloved books and buy copies for my Kindle but I’m definitely not doing that… on the other hand there are a couple of drawers I literally haven’t opened since I moved into my house two and a half years ago and emptied the contents of a packing box into them… and I have a wardrobe in the spare room full of clothes that no longer fit in case I manage to lose weight and can wear them again. Most of them probably aren’t even in fashion any more, it’s been that long!

    • says

      Financial necessity means that we live in a property which really is too small, so something has to give – it has to be the stuff. Not our mental and physical health and relationship.

  6. says

    I have bookmarked the site! Having downsized twice in the past year I’ve got pretty good but there are things I can’t quite part with I really need so many trinket boxes…..

  7. says

    Maybe if you de-clutter your flat then that will help de-clutter your mind and so aid you in your insomnia! I have sessions of car booting each year to de-clutter and make money. The rest goes to charity and you have to think if you haven’t used something in the last couple of years recyle it and in the case of lotions etc they normally have to be used within 12 months of opening anyway! Carry on the good work and maybe put your stuff on e-bay.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment Camilla.

      Having acknowledged the problem last night I actually slept a little better than I have done for a while. Fingers crossed.

  8. says

    Great post! If you want to rehome your mortar and peslte, frying pan and spare yarn then I will gladly welcome the useful items to my abode LOL

    I regularly give kids toys and books mine have grown out of to others and charity shops, they are in good condition so why not declutter ours and let others get some use out of the items. I still need to do a big clear out of other stuff though, being ruthless and not hanging on to too much “just in case”.

    • says

      If only you had posted earlier Michelle as it has gone to the charity shop! Having said that it was a pretty useless pan and pestle and mortar as I had not used them in years! Yarn will be coming.

  9. says

    Great post. I am one of those people who keep everything “just in case”. I’ve got tons of cloths. You know, in case I lose weight and can fit in them again. Who am I kidding???
    Thanks for introducing me to Small Notebook :)

  10. Heidi Riberts says

    I know I have a problem with keeping too much stuff. I also know it is a comfort blanket because I am in control of my things – it comes from being adopted and always feeling inadequate and not love able and a bit let down – my things won’t let me down ! I also know I need to de-clutter my house, garage and shed but it is soooo hard! I am trying to do it a bit at a time now. Good luck Helen I am silently supporting you.

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