Tag: decluttering

Oh god, the hoarding.

OK, so you know that nice lady who says that decluttering your linen takes 10-15 minutes? Yeah.

  • I did 7.5 hours of ironing before I lost track of the time. 7.5 HOURS. The way it goes is you iron a duvet cover with the fancy, difficult edging, then right at the end of ironing the duvet cover for 45 minutes you discover a hole or a stain or something else wrong with it. Poppers that don’t do up. This also especially applies to fitted sheets. You can spend ages ironing a fitted sheet and then in very last bit you iron there will be some disfiguring stain or hole that disqualifies it from being your best linen.
  • I own 15-20 duvet covers. I do not know how that happened.
  • I only own about 6 bottom sheets and nearly all of them are marked or flawed in some way.
  • I have too many sets of matching pillowcases where one pillowcase has eyeliner or mascara stains on it that I can’t get out.
  • I can now fold a fitted sheet, not that brilliantly, but okay.

I’ve never felt hoarding tendencies so strongly before today. Normally I am good at decluttering, I can pitch things and not feel bad for their loss. But I need to let go of a lot of bed linen, a lot. Some of it, I was glad to see the back of:

  • Two depressing duvet covers with matching pillow cases that are 20 years old and that don’t have particularly good memories attached to them and that I don’t use. One threadbare Postman Pat pillowcase. A couple of sheets for a single bed (I own no such bed). Duvet covers that are grey and industrial and make my bedroom look like a man lives there.

Some of it is much harder to let go of!!

  • Duvet covers where there is nothing at all wrong with them except I have too many. I can hardly bear to let go of them. There’s a big part of my brain that keeps going “but you might need them! they’re perfectly fine! they might come in handy!” But realistically, what is going to happen? Am I going to have 15 guests come to stay? No, I am not. And anyway I don’t have 15 duvets that I could put that many covers on. And I don’t have the storage space for all this crap, I really don’t. It’s got to go.

Anyway. I have managed to get it down to 4 sets of linen. 4.5 if you count one duplicate duvet cover that I can’t bear to part with because it is particularly nice, this being why I bought two. I don’t know why I am obsessing. It’s not even expensive stuff. I looked on Amazon and you can get duvet covers just like this for £8 and pillowcases are going for 55p each.

Here are three of my sets of fully ironed linen. As you can see, I succeeded in making each set fit inside a pillowcase and pinned the parcels shut with dressmakers’ pins like so. That’s my Portmeirion tea set in the background, which I will show you properly another time.

folded sheets

Right, I must do a bit more ironing for the last parcel of linen, then all the rest of it is going out the door. And that’s me done for today. Needless to say, I have not started on the towels.

More horrifying scenes of domestic squalor.

As you know, beloved readers, TLYW is not just about skipping around London and indeed the world, going to art museums and operas, even though these things are very important. It is about trying to find out how to live. How to organise yourself, how to discipline yourself, how to get all your work done, how to arrange things so that they are as comfortable as possible today while not being liable to fuck you up tomorrow. How to provide for your own needs.

You would think this would be easy, being single and not part of a family unit but I think it is in some ways harder. You have the freedom to curate your home and your life the exact way you want but it also gives you the freedom to trash your house if you have tendencies in the direction of untidiness, hoarding, thinking the housework only needs to be done 2-3 times/year, etc.

I suddenly find myself in the middle of a massive episode of decluttering, the like of which we have not seen for probably a couple of years. This is because I have thoroughly filled up my so-called spare room with rails of dresses, with the result that there’s no room left for all the other junk I routinely throw in there. So, bit by bit, I am pulling it out into the hall and rationalising it as much as possible. A lot of it is just cardboard boxes of assorted crap, old papers, 19 tubs of lip balm, etc.

That’s when it occurred to me that there were sheets and towels in about five different locations around the flat, so I gathered them all together. Those two boxes on the right are all towels. That’s not counting kitchen towels. The entire tower on the left is bed linen.


Clearly, this is too much bed linen for one person. Even if I have a guest sleeping on the sofa bed and we both vomit on ourselves in the night, I still only need 4 sets of bed linen in total. So I am going to use this lady’s advice to rationalise down to 4 sets, stuffing each set inside of one of its own pillowcases.

She says it is a 10-15 minute task but as we all know, I am shit at housework, so I will time myself and find out how long it actually takes.

Then I will rationalise the towels. The objective is to make all the bed linen and towels fit into this cupboard.

linen cupboard

Wish me luck. This is not particularly what I wanted to be doing, I have a lot of work on and I would rather be at the gym if I have any free time, but it is what it is. I have a lot of clothes now, and I know which I like more between new dresses and old duvet covers. Something had to give.


I’ll post photos when done. Oh god, this is going to involve folding fitted sheets and everything.

I wish I had a bit more confidence in how this is going to work.

I am worried about the fact that the windows replacement company is going to attempt to do major building work in every room in my flat simultaneously, in one day, starting in less than 48 hours.

I have had almost no sleep because it is a gigantic task trying to reduce my belongings to the bare essentials and pack what remains into tightly-stacked boxes when THERE IS NOWHERE TO PUT THE BOXES. LITERALLY NOWHERE FOR THEM TO GO.

I simply cannot visualise how there is going to be enough room for the builders to even physically get in here carrying large pieces of window frame, then remove 6 large windows and install completely new ones from INSIDE my flat while all my furniture and general stuff is still in here. I just have no confidence in this plan at all. I hope they know what they are doing.

The room with the most clutter in it was the back room. I have reduced the amount of unwanted clutter by I would say 80%. There are still boxes of assorted cables and semi redundant technology that I will in no way have a chance to go through between now and Monday, so they are still here, taking up valuable space and getting ready to make everyone’s life extra difficult on Monday morning. I have reduced the overall contents of the back room by about one-third. The remaining two-thirds is all in boxes and crates and they are squeezed tightly into the corner of the room that is furthest away from the window, leaving as much space as possible around the window. This is the best and most successful room from the point of view of making space for the builders and it has taken days. The amount of domestic labour has been quite staggering. Now all my Christmas stuff, stuff that I need, including cards and unwrapped gifts, is in crates in the back of that fucking corner so when the builders have finished wrecking my flat on Monday, I can’t even shut the door on it. I will have to set to work unloading and moving all the crates so that I can get to the stuff I need ahead of Xmas. Then after Xmas I will have to restack and move all the crates YET AGAIN so I can clean, plaster and redecorate the room. The amount of work and the amount of time this is using up, of the precious hours that exist outside of my full-time job, makes me feel a lot like crying if I let myself think about it. So I am not thinking about it. In any case, there isn’t time.

So that’s the back room. There’s basically nothing I can do about the bedroom until I’ve finished using the bed for sleeping in on Sunday night. The bathroom and kitchen will have to wait, there is no point removing everything from the bathroom and kitchen because there is nowhere to remove it TO. What we will have to do is get the builders to start work in the back room, when that’s finished we can effortfully remove the contents of my bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and living room into that room.

So that’s me. I am sweaty. I am filthy dirty. I have decluttered everything that it is physically possible for me to declutter in the time available. I would like to sleep for a few hours because I have had no sleep but instead I now have to run round the living room, hall and kitchen and: tidy up remaining junk; throw out rubbish; wash dishes; clean surfaces; mop floors. Vanish a giant pile of clothes in the bedroom. Don’t do any laundry because there is no longer any place to dry it.

And that’s all the news. I am dreading Leroy texting me to say he is on his way over. 1 Home point. When I have time to collect a Home point. I think I might be a couple behind already.

Book Review: Learning to Swim

Sigh. I am working on my house again this evening. I am decluttering the bathroom and ridding it of 10 years’ worth of old cosmetics and toiletries. There’s so much stuff. So many tubes of lipgloss and body lotion and boxes of tampons and packs of aspirin and spare toothbrushes and god knows what else. Multiples of everything. Deodorant. Hair bands. Nail files. Billions of those little bottles of shampoos and conditioners that you get from hotels.

While I am scrubbing and dusting and throwing away old tubes of mascara, I’ve finished listening to an audio book, Learning to Swim, by Sara Henry, in which an annoying woman, who goes by the annoying name of Troy Chance (shut up already) rescues a child who’s been thrown into a lake in Canada and spends the rest of the book alternating between trying to find out who threw him off a boat and sort of slightly falling in love with this child’s dad, a handsome and rich but also passive and only ambivalently interested French guy, a situation I think we can all relate to.

Troy has some kind of day job, but once she’s bravely rescued this kid and got involved with his dad, only later notifying the police, she thinks nothing of throwing herself into full-time amateur detective work and strangely enough the police don’t tell her to stop interfering in their investigations, even though she is contaminating evidence and endangering herself and witnesses left, right and centre. Probably if I’d realised I’d picked up a suspense novel, I would have expected this, but I don’t think I would be any more tolerant of it. Her actions are not that credible and the attitude of the police doesn’t line up with anything I know about the police. I don’t get the impression that they are really big fans of amateur sleuths. The rest of the time, when she’s not sleuthing, she hangs around the house of the French guy, Philippe, because he seems to want her there even though, bewilderingly, he never tries to have sex with her. Sigh. And then the rest of the time when she’s not doing that, she’s engaging in internal monologues about how great she is at fixing bicycles or why she’s a fucking genius at IT security, even though she doesn’t know the first thing about how to cover her tracks when doing her sleuthing online, meaning she is easily found by anyone who wants to find her, such as the killer.

Meh. I read – or listened to – this book as a result of a couple of good reviews on Audible, but honestly I would give it a miss if I were you. By the time you get to the surprise ending you are wondering why everyone is such a dumbass. The killer is smarter than everyone else, but in the memorable words of Graham Norton, referring to a Big Brother contestant in days gone by, this is only like saying that a sheep is cleverer than some worms. I’m giving it 2/10 because it has quite a catchy beginning, even though Troy gives you fair warning of her self-obsessed personality as she manages to twice shoe-horn in mentions of her ‘mini-triathlons’ even as she is flailing around in a dark, icy lake, trying to save a seven-year-old boy from certain death. The more I think about it, the more I can see why the French guy is ambivalent.

1 Books point for persevering with it until all the characters had dry clothes on and had been returned to their proper addresses, and 1 Home point for persevering with the bloody bathroom.

Mood, slightly better. Also, Weakly Weigh-In.

Maybe it was hormonal. I am thankful and relieved to report that I am in a slightly better mood this morning, for no special reason.

The house is starting to look gradually better and I am glad I shifted all those cardboard boxes (there were a lot) and cleared out the hall cupboard. My next point of focus is going to be the main bathroom. I have piles of assorted cosmetics and toiletries, some of which must be 10 years old, they cover every surface of the bathroom, like mould, and I even still have things in cardboard boxes in there which have been there since I moved in several years ago. So that’s the next thing. I am going to throw out a bunch of stuff and put what’s left in even more plastic storage units (they must bloody love me at Homebase, I am single-handedly buying them out of plastic drawers and crates).

The Honcho emailed me this morning and expressed the remarkable view that we are not suited to being in a relationship (I know, you are shocked). I didn’t bother arguing or pointing out that it’s because he’s not offering anything that anyone in their right mind would want. I just said ‘Ok’. So that’s that, until the next time he gets all horny and can’t get any attention from anyone else, or until the next time I’m deluded enough to think that we’re going to be able to sustain a conversation without me wanting to throttle him.

I got on the scales this morning for the first time in months and I do not actually weigh 300 pounds, which is what it feels like. I weigh 145 pounds. So I’ve regained 12 pounds in the four months since I hit my goal weight and that’s why I’m not going to be eating any more cheese on toast. I’m not desperately unhappy with this result on the scales because I feel like an elephant so it was actually kind of reassuring that I have not grown to proportions that will prevent me from leaving the house.

Shall we have a tune? I feel that it’s terribly important to do that right now, in case my unexpected and relatively happy mood suddenly wears off. Let’s have some lovely Marc Almond. He’s gay and he knows about tragedy. You don’t have to dance, but you must sing along.

It was a kind of so-so love and I’m gonna make sure it never happens again.

Soft Cell: Say Hello, Wave Goodbye


I am in a foul temper and I cannot lie.

I was in a mood anyway but more specifically, today, I am angry with myself for being stupid enough to keep talking to the Honcho, I’m angry with him because he is a selfish, manipulative liar and I am angry with us both because no matter how hard we try we can turn a potentially nice conversation into a slanging match within a few minutes. Fail, fail, fail, so much fail. I’ve never engaged in such prolonged discourse with somebody who I hated so much. What did I think was going to be different this time around? Did I think his life would have suddenly changed or that he would have suddenly grown a new personality? Apparently I really am that dim and that much of an optimist. I disgust myself, but not as much as I despise him. God damn, god damn. Every time it’s the same. Where do we keep going wrong? I will tell you. We go wrong at the precise moment when we start talking to each other. That’s when it goes wrong and it can do nothing other than go wrong.

So. I worked on the house. As is always the case with these fucking decluttering projects, the house is now a considerably worse mess than it was this morning. A bit like my relationship with the Honcho, come to think of it. But on the plus side, I don’t have any more of my yarn collection stuffed in bent and broken cardboard boxes. All the boxes are gone and the yarn is in large, shiny, stackable plastic crates, most of which are neatly labelled. So my house still looks like an office/warehouse, but a slightly nicer one. And I guess that’s what we are aiming for.

1 Home point, motherfuckers.

Kelis: I Hate You So Much Right Now



This isn’t really a good situation. I am still tense and depressed and my head is starting to ache. The Honcho doesn’t want to console me and so for want of any other options, I am pulling out the contents of the hall cupboard at 11.30 at night. There was only 1 old computer in there but there certainly is a lot of other crap in there that I don’t need and I will not rest until all of it has been purged from the house.

1 Home point. If this mood persists through the weekend then I am seeing a doctor on Monday.