And that’s when you realise

Time flies. It has been a little over two months since I started the Konmari exercise here in my home. It has also been a little over two months since I quit my job as a children’s theatre programmer (or ‘curator’ if you want the fancy title) because it wasn’t contributing to my journey up the mountain. As Neil Gaiman would put it and he gives a lot of thought to these things plus he is quite an intelligent man so I am inclined to believe him. I also believe that, to quote Tolkien, not all who wander are lost. Read More »

Location & Planning

The location for my Project Declutter seems pretty clear: my home. However, it doesn’t stop there. There is more to declutter than just the surroundings in which I live. I need to simplify more. I am still trying to figure out if it is a good or a bad thing that my main location for decluttering is something I carry with me at all times: my own mind.Read More »

Goals and objectives

Time to identify the goals and objectives, as set out in our initial plan. This is always harder than it seems but since it forms the core of our project it is worth spending a bit of brain space on it.


Main goal:

To not let clutter, physical and/or mental, get in the way of my awesomeness.

That includes:

  • Clearing my house of unnecessary clutter and keep it sufficiently clear and organised for me and my minions (and my guy) to live comfortably.
  • Clearing my thoughts and subconscious perception of things that clog up a free stream of creative and constructive thoughts and solutions.
Ah. One of those things.
Ah. One of those things.

That means that these objectives must be met:

  1. All things in my house are either in use, to be used in the (near) future, or kept for sentimental reasons.
  2. All things in my house have a home where they belong, where they are safe and sound, and where they will be put (back) after each use.
  3. I have developed habits that enable me to reach the objectives above and keep them in place.

Let’s start with these.


We need a plan and we need it now. Every good plan starts with a good reason. Here is my reason. I am hoping that by typing it out in full – and sharing it with the wider world – I will not only understand better why I need to do this but also how I got to the position where I need to do this.


I am a messy person. My mother told me endlessly to clean my room. I collected little things and piled them up everywhere. I leave very few flat surfaces uncluttered and I never put things away. It is driving everyone around me crazy. Lately I realised that it is also driving me nuts. Maybe it’s the kids adding to the chaos, maybe it is me getting older, maybe it’s the noise and business of living in the city, and maybe it is just that I got fed up. All I know is that every time I look up from anything (the kids, the computer, my phone, my dinner) all I see is stuff that I need to do. If I look around me now I can see for example: unsorted mail, pens that don’t work anymore so should be thrown out, cords that should be tied together, toys that were left where they don’t belong, an uncleared breakfast table, kids’ clothes that need to be taken to the shop, fruit that need eating before it’s too late, a half-finished translation job, dust, unwatered plants… I know that around that corner is the kitchen with a full dishwasher and dishes still on the counter, that table that is still full, paper and glass that need proper places for recycling… I could go on and on for every room in the house.

And that is just the physical, tangible stuff. In my head it’s the same kind of clutter and disorganisation. I have ideas and plans swimming around, skills and thoughts that could lead to work, and problems and issues that I don’t address (and therefore never solve), also unfinished work things that bug me in the early mornings, stories that need telling but have no beginning or end… I could go on and on. And it feels like these are stalled every time by the pile of physical clutter around me, while the stuff is there because my head is cluttered, and vice versa, and vice versa.

This will not do.

Luckily, Ninja realised just in time that sitting out in the pouring rain without her coat on didn’t help either.

To halt a cycle you must stop it somewhere, anywhere. Maybe I should start with the mind and maybe not. I don’t know. (I’m a musicologist, dammit, not a doctor!) I choose at this point to start with the physical, tangible clutter in my home and work from there. That will be challenge enough. If along the way my head clears a little too, well, that would be dandy.

And that, ladies and gents, is my motivation for my Project Discardia.

Oh and BTW did you know that I’m also on Instagram for your discardia viewing pleasure? #discardiangel Check it out. 😉

We need a plan!

Ah yes, the old trap. I know it well and I fell into it yet again. I have started before I had any idea where I am going or how I am going to get there. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to make a solid plan before half-reading things and heading out into the wilderness, like I usually do. I realise that this is my primary way of thinking and learning, and that it has brought me many fine things in life – I am not stupid nor ignorant after all – but that it does leave room for improvement. If anything, it will be good to try and train my patience.

And so I have decided to make a proper project of it.

Throughout my long and impressive varied career after obtaining a Master’s in ethnomusicology (there is such a thing), I have been involved in many different activities in the areas of music, education, culture and arts, writing and generally making a living. A lot of these things required setting up, doing and describing projects of various shapes and forms. This ranged from research projects with artists working on an abstract level, to having a specific set of instruments made and shipped overseas. The one thing these have in common: a plan.

What do we need for a plan? We need an idea of the current situation and we need to understand why the plan is even necessary. That would be step 1.
We need to formulate the specific goals of the project, and our concrete objectives in the short and long run. That would be step 2.
We need a method, either existing or newly devised, that matches our goals and objectives. It doesn’t hurt to ‘borrow’ from others in making this method for the project, as long as we acknowledge the people who made the bricks and mortar for our own. (step 3)
We need some idea of location and planning for the project. The location I think we have nailed: my house and my home and my life. I never said it was all straightforward! But that’s what it is. As for planning, well, I need to think about it but I am guessing it will take a year at least to get to the short-term goals. (step 4)
We need to identify our context as well, both in terms of other projects (things like work, life and love, friends and family, the need for sitting on your ass with a cuppa tea once in a while) and other people. Two four-year-olds in the house is a challenge. A helpful husband is a perk. (step 5)
We need to determine, finally, in details exactly how and when we will spend time on this project, when evaluations take place along the way, and what to do in case of setbacks or victories, big or small. In short, we need a work plan. (step 6)
And finally we need to get off our ass and do it, godsdammit. (step 7 through 112,356,555 and then some)

And so, without further ado, I give you some of the images that prompt this project:

And for your entertainment also a bit of work in progress because otherwise we get dragged down and it’s a Friday morning and we don’t want to be dragged down. This is my bike on recycling: