Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Extreme Sport of Decluttering

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Extreme Sport of Decluttering

Article excerpt


OUR house goes on the market this week. We've comprehensively outgrown it in the space of just eight months.

The arrival of someone very small, but whose assorted possessions and paraphernalia make the retinue of Louis XIV look modest, is responsible for that.

I've spent the past few days attempting to do what all the TV housing experts say you should ahead of viewings, and de-clutter.

The result is not quite a gleaming blank canvas, but anything not essential or nailed to the wall has been enveloped in copious amounts of bubble wrap and shoved into the largest box on sale at B&Q. Said box will be hidden in my husband's car boot during viewings.

There's no room for it at the inn or indeed in the loft, which is creaking with outgrown baby clothes and a line of small chairs that increase gradually in size, creating a pleasing recently-vacated-by-the-Goldilocks-bears effect, but which are all now redundant as my son can shoulder-charge his way out of every one of them.

His buggy will be cunningly concealed in my car for viewings, so the vacuum cleaner can reclaim its rightful place crammed into the hall cupboard with its stable-mates, the ironing board and mop, all now forlorn residents of the downstairs loo. Other things on my to-do list include evicting Shelob from The Lord of the Rings from my living room window. Nothing puts off a potential buyer like an arachnid the size of a Zeppelin peering in the window that affords the home's nicest view.

To help me in this task (it's beyond me; I'm wretchedly afraid of the damn things), I put in two increasingly hostile calls to our incompetent window cleaner, who recently threatened to leave - yes, my window cleaner nearly sacked me - for daring to live in a terraced house whose rear fenestrations are only accessible by climbing over a garden fence with a ladder, something you'd imagine forms a critical part of a window cleaner's apparatus. …

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