Do Your Best

“We’re the ever-helpful imps, quick and quiet as any shrimps!”

It’s been a few years now since we became Stuffoholics and started our quest to sort out our clutter-filled homes. Back in 2017, I suspect we would’ve hoped to be slightly further down the decluttering path than we find ourselves today.

We really have tried. Honest.

I’ve rehomed over 800 books, sold 600 items on eBay and made countless trips to the charity shop… yet my house remains the opposite of minimalist (well, maybe not the exact opposite- but pretty close!)

It’s easy to blame this state of affairs on lack of time, lack of help, lack of motivation… but none of that is very helpful. On the hottest day of 2020, I’m trying to summon the enthusiasm to continue my Stuffoholics journey. And I’m starting by acknowledging the immensity of this task.

Today I listed these badges on eBay. I joined the Brownies back in the 1970s and hated almost every minute of it. After persevering for a year, I finally told my disappointed Brown Owl that I’d rather be watching Top of the Pops on Thursday evenings. I don’t recall much about how I gained these interest badges, but it does seem ironic that my childhood “interests” were apparently so domestic… making cups of tea, cleaning the house & doing things with fire guards! Maybe that’s why my time as an Imp was so short-lived. Even then, I knew that Domestic Goddess was never my calling.

Fast forward almost half a century (gulp) and the badges are here to remind me I once knew how to do hospital corners on beds. And that kinda sums up the enormity of the task ahead of me. My house is so full of pointless clutter, I still have these souvenirs of times best forgotten.

The badges are now on eBay. Hopefully they will spark joy for a fellow ex-Imp. And another envelope full of stuff will be leaving my house.

It’s a long, slow process, but I Do My Best.



It’s been a while since we’ve tapped the keys to share our latest success/failure/insight , somehow life has got in the way of sharing our rightstuffing journey. Finding the time/inclination to share the ups and downs while coping with “real” life changing events made writing about an untidy drawer seems like worrying about spilling a drink on the Titanic.

So what changed for a post to appear. Last week, as we shredded my 1990’s credit card statement collection, remember those flimsy carbons I’d filed them too, fellow stuffoholic insisted that we treated this blog like the other stuff which had a purpose but it was now time to let it go.Stubbornly I resisted the idea of never blogging again but couldn’t bring myself to pen a post either. Hurt at the thought the site we had breathed life into was moribund through my neglect , perhaps it had actually already expired without me noticing a warning wordpress email to an email account I never check.

I argued it wasn’t moribund it was resting  while fellow stuffholic quoted from a famous sketch … it is no more”, “has ceased to be”, “bereft of life, it rests in peace”, and “this is an ex- blog” to finish. Ah but ,…. words usually used to save an item not used in decades but now needed as it is heading for the repurposing home better known as the tip.

Ah but its hibernating till the spring. Hmm they responded but it is now spring so are you going to write anything. Well (hole in ground as my granny would have said) maybe not hibernating but dormant , so will spring back to life but no one knows when.

So here we are today, just to let you know , we will as they say be back, and to leave on a positive note , like the daffodils we will appear when it is the right time to do so.


We can be found tweeting at @stuffoholics till then.

Travel light

Mount FugiMy son having moved far far away 5 years ago is now relocating a mere 150 miles. I , a stuffoholic, of course assumed rather than selling or finding homes for his stuff he would be packing all he had accumulated and hiring a large van. He though tells me  he cannot (or is that will not) take all he has collected with him and unlike me recognises even if he could take it all some things like his spiderman costume should be  left behind. I’m not disappointed to find out that if  hanging on to things is a genetic trait then it is not a gene I passed on. I asked him of course whether some of the things he is disposing of could not be passed on to his brother who is going to be in the same country albeit 300 miles or so away. He sighed. Well actually he didn’t he humoured me as if I were the child and explained that the sensible option was for his brother to make his own choices not live with his. My son’s sage advice to his brother was  travel light and think hard before buying any  new possessions. Advice I could not find fault with as advice for life.

Let only memories be packed when you move on… and even then be wary of letting the past whether good or bad stop you from enjoying the present or the future.



We started writing this blog over two years ago, to record and encourage our clutter-clearing efforts. We knew it would never be easy, but did we ever imagine we’d still be Drowning in Stuff all this time later? Carrying two bags of outgoing stuff, I recently bumped into a neighbour who remarked “oh, you’re still doing that?” Little did she know how much that still needed doing!

I wouldn’t regard myself as a hoarder, but I’m finding it ridiculously hard to de-clutter my home. I also realise that any minimalist would view me in the same light as people who’ve saved all the Sunday supplements since 1973, just in case that interesting article comes in handy. Why is it so hard to get rid of this stuff? I’m starting to think it’s about letting go…


This little chap used to belong to my daughter. As you can see, he’s quite cute, but he was never a family favourite. I’m currently selling stuff on eBay to raise money to go on a wildlife holiday with my now grown-up daughter, so it seemed apt to add him to my listings. As I took the photos, I discovered this tag:

Zappy Batty

Suddenly, I felt that bit more attached to the little fella. My daughter had given him a name. How could I possibly give away Zappy Batty? Before he was just a sweet soft toy, now he was practically one of the family! Somehow, I continued the listing and eventually sold Zappy. As I tenderly wrapped & popped him in a jiffy bag, my heart ached a little. My small daughter had named this bat and I was cruelly evicting him from our home.

Give a bat a name and it becomes twice as hard to give away!

This made me realise I have attached emotional importance to so much of the stuff which fills my house… things which my children would chuck in the bin without a second thought, I preserve and cherish. Souvenirs of their childhood.

And it goes way beyond that. I also hang on to stuff which I might refer back to (but don’t) and things that might prove useful (but won’t.) I guess that’s why it’s easier to let someone else clear stuff away- they simply don’t have the same personal attachment to your things.

That’s why I’ve found it so hard over the years. I’ve invested a lot of energy in not getting rid of this stuff, in rearranging it, storing it, trying to manage it… when all I needed to do is step back and look at it from a different perspective. Did I really want to keep Zappy Batty? No, I didn’t even like him that much. What I want is a wildlife holiday with my daughter, creating new memories. I’m now £4.20 closer to that goal, and hopefully a little closer to getting rid of a whole lot more stuff which I really don’t love or need. Here’s hoping.

PS: Talking to my daughter on the phone I told her how sad I’d felt, giving away her childhood friend. She laughed and said she hadn’t even chosen the name for her bat. It had been the toy manufacturer’s choice; there were thousands of Zappy Battys!

Anyone want to buy two bats?

For Sale

For Sale


Time is up


This post will take me 23 minutes .How you ask can I be so precise and so quick when previous posts have given the impression this blogging lark takes hours if not weeks of effort before a post sees the light of the day. Simples as they say. Last week my fellow stuffoholic gave me the self help book she reviewed and it is now clear to me (it was before but I was in denial) that this blog is as often a way of procrastinatig as it is an incentive to get stuff done so I have something to write about.

I faff around deciding on the perfect title then the perfect pictiure or three. Today a perfect example of how life conspires to make a job taking longer. the first picture chosen proved to be wrong format an excuse to delay but no today simply chose the next image. I liked it came from a post entitled “No Fear of Time” . Indeed fitting as what I took away from the book was the reminder all too often a job takes as long as we give it because we want to do something else even less. The time I spend on this blog is time I’m not spending on emptying the filing cabinet of old stuff to make room for new stuff which would mean I could find things and enjoy working at my desk without fear of something sliding off.

At his point there would more faffing and time wasting as I take picture of desk connect, phone to laptop , upload on third attempt , resize …. Not today. Today I will find something already loaded which is good enough . Just in time before timer goes ping . I leave you with the

Thought for the day 

“You don’t need it to be poerfect you need to get it done !!” 


Apologies dear reader (and fellow stuffoholic) for spelling , grammer and other stuff but I had to get it fdone !!

Get On With It!

Get Your Shit Together

It has taken me two weeks to write this blog. I’m a reluctant blogger and I’m starting to realise that writing about decluttering has simply become another way to avoid decluttering.

My progress over the past two years has been steady, but slow. Way too slow. So today I pulled this book from my groaning bookshelves. Like most self help books I own, there was a bookmark around chapter two. Which possibly explains why my shit is most definitely not together.

Anyhow, I’m not going to ramble on about my failings. I’ve zoomed through Get Your Shit Together and these are the bits that struck a chord for me…

  • What’s stopping me? Seriously, stop blaming lack of time, money or space. Forget the blame game. If this shit is bothering me, do something about it today. Now (well, maybe finish this post first.)
  • Lists are faffing in disguise. No amount of talking about the problem will help. Just start sorting it out.
  • “Everything you do is action-generating. The more shit you tackle, the more shit you are able to tackle.” This is so true… once I start clearing the clutter in earnest, I gain momentum and end up getting rid of far more than I first intended.
  • “Be ruthless when it comes to clearing- it is both emotionally cathartic & practical.” Again, it’s as if this woman knows me. I must stop over-sentimentalising everything. All these tiny souvenirs add up to one huge mountain of clutter. They aren’t helping me enjoy my life, they are draining my energy.

So, the blog’s written. I’m off to get my shit together, one shelf at a time.

Who wants this book next?

Not Gone but forgotten

you just never know when you’ll repurpose a broken …….

Good morning or good afternoon or good night. I have been inspired by KonMari to tackle my desk and to try to accept that someday useful stuff or even stuff I think I love is of no use carefully tidied(hidden)  away never to see the light of day.

I cannot believe an item from a post that promised regular reviews of items has languished in the in-tray on my desk for a mere 22 months when it was to be reviewed after 3 months. More to the point what pleasure has it given me over this period. Why did I keep it ? Is it any use to someone else? Can it be repurposed? All good questions which made me cry. No wonder I cannot tackle the big issues as I arrive at a life junction where I need to accept change when I cannot easily let go of an item without purpose as if being asked to say farewell to a dear friend. 

What to do. The modern solution. Take a picture. Thank item for its good service and send it on its way to the great recycling centre in the sky (well down the road but that didn’t feel quite as poetic) to become I hope something else.


A broken thingummyjig saying goodbye before heading for a new home

Farewell old friend . Finally gone and I hope almost certainly forgotten. Now what to do about that tray.  Remember that  ….lovely tray that was given to me to put my cups of tea on by a friend who was worried about the rings on the table. BUT I never  do /did use it for that purpose because once put anywhere it fills with stuff. …..  I guess it’s not a  KonMari solution to think it really would make a suitable prize for the next ‘spot the difference’ game.


Open Sesame


One DrawerfulAfter strongly advising my fellow Stuffoholic to do away with all her grief-inducing paperwork, I thought I should probably tackle my own mountains of Pointless Paper. This week, it was time to face my old nemesis, The Drawer That Must Never be Opened (cue dramatic music.)

Brimful of random paper accumulated over the course of twenty years or so, this drawer is only occasionally rummaged through for a missing receipt. Excavating the contents of its murky depths was not a job for the faint of heart..

I set myself a clear mission for each and every item in that drawer;  establish a reason for keeping it, or it was being recycled. Sometimes this was easy- why would I keep pay slips from 2013, notifications of NHS appointments long gone or birth announcements for friends’ children who are now old enough to have babies of their own?

Pages from ancient magazines were also easily chuckable. I had saved a pattern to knit my own cakes, apparently on the off chance I’d learn to knit. And the 35 Things to do Before You Turn 35 was now 20 years too late (fyi, I’ve only done 10 of those things.)

Decluttering  mavens often suggest tackling heaps of magazines by saving the important or useful articles and chucking the rest. I’d like to revise this advice a little… NEVER save an article, a picture, a list, an advert, or anything from a magazine. You will never go back to this piece of paper, which will simply clutter your space for the next 20 years. Save  yourself some time and effort- recycle those magazines now. Better, still don’t buy them in the first place. All of that stuff’s online, you know.

Then there were the utterly pointless items, such as these unuseable store cards and gift vouchers.  Random keys, odd buttons, unidentifiable plastic thingummies, rubber bands… why do we hang on to these things as if they are valuable? (my fellow Stuffoholic will gleefully remind me I’ve yet to tackle the kitchen drawer which contains all these things, and more!)

5. drawer

So, what went?

  • 88 items shredded & composted (including those old payslips, dental receipts from 10 years ago, and a failed driving test notification.)
  •  72 bits of cardboard recycled (42 of which were old birthday, Christmas and mother’s day cards.)
  •  211 pieces of paper recycled (…magazine pages, old newsletters, places to go leaflets, instruction manuals, many receipts, yoga instructions…)

What was left?

Fifty recipes  cut from magazines have gone in a recipe folder, to be tackled at a later date. Thirty one bookmarks were put to one side, to pop in the books I give away.

And in The Drawer That Now Opens, I replaced a small heap of paper… things which I want to see again (letters from old friends, greetings cards from my children, photos, artwork and a small folder of very recent receipts & guarantees.) Never again will I need to dive through years of accumulated paper. Nor feel a failure for not working out how to apply false eyelashes by the age of 35.





So much paper so little time

“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” ― Marie Kondo

Writing this blog never easy but this month the reward/effort ratio such that blog has stayed written in my head and no enthusiasm for ensuring that the thought finds it way to a virtual page. Why? Doesn’t matter. Today a new day , well actually tomorrow but you get the gist. My fellow stuffoholic has a wry sense of humour so despite a only if you really really need or love it stuff buying ban couldn’t resist getting me THE book when spotted for a mere 50p in a far flung charity shop. There are many books out there looking for a home but how could a stuffoholic have not added KonMari ‘s seminal work to their collection( even if they know they will have to let it free when it has tarried here long enough)   I was sceptical how someone who had achieved a global empire from tidying would resonate with this self confessed drowning in stuff non minimalist.  Surprised to learn that the Tidy guru wasn’t so different, loved books and had struggled with systems and a sense of never ever going to get it done too. 

Inspired I decided to tackle my desk, an old foe with which you will be familiar if you’ve chanced by this blog before. Past efforts have been successful in that the problem with desk is now paper that needs to be dealt with. Easy peasy after all this practice developing my tidying muscles. But it wasn’t .  The easy stuff had already been filed or recycled. No these bits of paper were the one’s I’d picked up many times, put back and thought I’ll deal with that later. I thought my fellow stuffoholic would be sympathetic to my dilemma, agree that this was a seriously difficult exercise and would need tea. Quite the opposite, they said it was simple. I said show me how and they picked up pile and headed for recycling bin. Nooooo………………! That’s cheating , what if my passport is in that pile. It isn’t they said . But .. I said plaintively. How about we do this one piece at a time. And to cut this tale short . The stuffoholics paper dealing method was invented. Ta dah!

Go With the Flow

It doesn’t file the paper for you but there’s now only a trickle making it through to What Now. What now? Well in best cliff hanger tradition the answer to that question will require you to return another day. May your paper mountains be scaled or turn out to be hills.

Remember on your decluttering journey these KonMari words “We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”

All the Small Things

There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world right now and it’s very easy to think there’s nothing we can do to improve matters. Today, I’m saying Never Give Up Hope. If the big stuff is too much for you to tackle right now, try starting small…

1. Curb the junk mail. If it’s been posted to you, send it back marked Gone Away, Return to Sender, or Please Remove me From Your Mailing List. To stop the endless stream of pizza menus and cab cards, simply stick a message on your letterbox. It works!

No Junk Mail

2. Never, ever, ever use a plastic bag! Seriously, these things are bad news for our planet and the sooner they are banned the better. There are so many reusable alternatives available these days (NO, not those plastic Bags For Life!) Always take one (or three) with you when you go out, and you’ll never need a nasty, polluting, wildlife-killing plastic bag again.bags of bags

3. Perform an audit on one small corner of your life… look under the kitchen sink, tackle the bottles on your bathroom shelf, review the food you choose for lunch, consider the stuff you use on your body/at work/in your car… you don’t need me to point out the pointless plastic gathering all around you. Just have a think & make some changes. My small start was swapping plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones. Check out Save Some Green for products which don’t cost the earth (Drowning in Stuff isn’t connected to this site in any way… we’re just happy customers.)

Bamboo toothbrushes

4. Switch search engines. It’s time to wave bye bye to Google, Bing, Yahoo & friends in favour of Ecosia, the search engine which uses its profits to plant trees.


5. Grow lots & lots of flowers. Insects need our help now more than ever… if you have a garden, fill it with flowering plants. Let dandelions bloom this spring, don’t mow over the clover in your grass this summer, leave a spot to go wild, plant meadow seeds… and enjoy the abundance of insects and birds which will visit your garden throughout the year. bee

Not sure what to plant? Here’s some advice from the Sunday Gardener.

6. Pick up litter. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t drop it… litter is everyone’s problem & we can all be part of the solution. Every piece you pick up makes a difference to the world.East Tilbury

For a little inspiration, check out #2MinuteStreetClean and #2MinuteBeachClean

…and good luck with all your Small Things.