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  • Helen English Artist

The art of decluttering!

I am not the tidiest person in the world…my mum would attest to that! The main problem is that I have the need to save things because of the memories they invoke. I have followed all of the rules like putting things in a box for six months and if you don’t need them in that time, it’s time to get rid of them. That doesn’t work for me! What happens is that I open the box, thinking I’ll throw the majority of it out and then, three hours later, I go through it feeling the wonder as those memories start to erupt in my mind again. They might be trinkets, clothes, art tools, forgotten hobbies, you name it and, if I bought or received or found them, I can love them again!


I decided a few months back that I had to find a different solution. I do not want to move into our new extension, which is imminent, with a whole raft of clutter and find new places to keep it all. In an ideal world, I would just start afresh so this prompted a rethink of strategy.


I know that I tend to be a ‘think it, do it’ person. There’s no mulling over decisions with me. That’s worked for everything which I’ve done successfully, including moving to the other side of the world!! I decided that’s what I would do with my clutter. So I opened the doors to my wardrobe and threw everything onto a clean sheet which I’d laid on the floor. My husband walked by and looked at the room in mock horror…or it could have been plain horror!

“Can you believe that all fitted in there?” I said, with a faint sense of pride.

An hour later and I had a tidy wardrobe and a pile of clothes which are going to the clothes bank. I have a lot more spaces to turn out but I suddenly realised that this was definitely the way to do it. No mucking around!


Now, you may ask what this has to do with art?! On one hand, not a lot. On the other hand, I think it’s a case of know yourself and trust your instincts. When someone questions what you do, and how you go about your creativity, that’s okay. That can help you to think about whether you are achieving your goals. If your way works for you, then carry on. The other thing which happened during my clear out was that it made me realise that one cupboard, and one goal, at a time is sufficient. Achieving the small things adds up to the big picture. Now, onto the next cupboard of clutter before my weekend is over!




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