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 »


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. 😉



‘Do what you can.’ Oh gods, for a messy and lazy person, these are words that save our souls. It is easy to give up halfway through a cleaning session because, well, you did what you can, right? Um, no. Do what you can, can also mean do what you can. As in, stop making excuses and do it already because by gods we know you can! It is this attitude that underpins UfyH, or Unfuck your Habitat, a wonderful site&app that completely changed the way I regarded cleaning my house. I used to have this image in my head of a person, usually my mother, taking hours to clean this and that and the windows. I don’t have time for that! my messy and lazy mind immediately tells me and I plop down my bag in a corner and park my hiney behind the computer screen. That screen is going to kill me one day, I swear. If the mess in my house doesn’t kill me first. It creeps up on me, making me stressed, telling me at all times that I am failing. It is a nasty nagging Gollum of a voice. I have always been more of a Sam than a Frodo (except for the hard work bit) and I want to kill that thing! Well, let’s.

Let’s start with the basic principles of UfyH and work from there. Such as? 20 minutes is not a long time. PUT IT AWAY. Most of the rest of our mess is because we have too much stuff and not enough places to put it. GET OFF YOUR ASS. “When your flat surfaces are clear, you feel like you’re making serious progress.” YOU DO NOT HAVE TO UNFUCK EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. (In fact, you shouldn’t. That’s how burnout happens. One thing at a time.) TAKE BREAKS. (It’s important for your state of mind.) You can only change your own habits. A little effort now saves you a lot of work in the long run. And finally: STOP MAKING EXCUSES.

I love those guys. (Check the full UfyH fundamentals here.)

With these principles in mind, this habitat could be cleared eventually. Right? Yesss my precioussss.