uncluttering poor ‘investments’


Some variations on the ‘don’t throw good money after bad’ theme.

Why is it so hard to pull out a good chunk of knitting when an error is first realised? I am knitting a jumper that was almost no effort, just mindless knitting of a tube on a circular needle in those odd moments when I was sitting with my hands otherwise unoccupied. It seemed to take no time to knit 200 g of wool, then a little more to reach the point of armhole division. Then came the realisation that I should have had more stitches, not a lot more, just a few, but enough to make the jumper the level of bagginess I like. I don’t wear the jumpers that are the ‘right’ size, as this would be if I continued to knit. There was a time when I would have continued, hoping I would wear the jumper anyway once I finished it. But I am not going to do that. (If you find it hard to pull out a piece of knitting, leave it somewhere you can’t see it for six months – it is always much easier to pull out then – but I am going to be strong and pull this jumper out before the weekend is over!)

Some months ago I made myself a cup of chai tea, thinking how I looked forward to finishing that bag so that I could buy the brand I liked. Then I wondered why I was punishing myself. Sure, I had bought the packet of tea, but I wasn’t enjoying it, so why did I feel obliged to keep drinking it? It was not expensive, and even if it had been, did I really need to punish myself for having tried a blend from a different shop? I tossed out the packet of tea at that moment, and made myself a cup of Earl Grey instead.

Similarly, when I had my big wardrobe cull, I came across clothes I had barely worn. The jeans were the real lesson for me. There were several pairs of dark denim jeans, a few black, and lots of pale jeans with holes in the knees. At first I thought the lesson was that faded denim is weaker than darker denim, so a poor investment as they wear out so much more quickly. But then I saw the light! In the morning, when I get up, I feel like wearing faded denim jeans. It doesn’t matter how much better dark denim might look, I like looking at faded denim on my legs. And naturally, whatever is worn most frequently will wear out first. So now, I only ever buy faded denim jeans, usually two or three pairs at a time, and I tossed out all of the darker denim. The lesson has been learnt. I don’t need to force myself to wear the clothes I don’t like so much.

Finally, I need to buy a new mattress. This was the largest expense, by far. (I doubt I could ever admit to anyone how much that mattress cost.) But is another five years of insomnia really a good investment? I wondered what had happened to one of my crochet rugs. Ha! It is folded under the mattress protector, along with a large quilt and an eiderdown. Possibly the floor is more comfortable.

But oh, how I hate shopping!

And if you need a highly motivating guide to uncluttering, I can recommend ‘Throw Out Fifty Things’ by Gail Blanke. It was the best of the three books I borrowed recently on the subject. I have to do too much cleaning at the moment, and the load would be lighter if the clutter was reduced. Unfortunately, relatively little of the clutter is mine.

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