Let’s try an experiment. Open a random drawer or cupboard in your house that you haven’t peered into for a long time. Examine its contents. If you find any one of the following:
1) Something you didn’t know you had
2) Something you can’t remember buying
Something you thought you’d lost you’re a good candidate for one of the little-appreciated joys of life — decluttering.
And when better to do it than in time for Diwali?
Though there’s a lot to be said in favour of de-cluttering at any time. For one, if you’re feeling at all poor thanks to the recession, a survey of all the useless things you have managed to buy and fill your house with over the years will definitely change that impression. Were you ever rich enough to buy five mobile phones? Because you certainly have as many nameless chargers. Did you really ever want two copies of the same Bob Dylan CD? Was it necessary to buy every movie Aamir Khan ever acted in? And who knew you had a complete collection of every Eveready battery the company ever manufactured?
The only thing more satisfying than discovering a store of things you know you will never use again is that giving them all away immediately will make you feel a whole lot better, and in some cases, materially improve your lifestyle. Handing out a set of six coffee mugs to your maid (just six of the 36 extra ones you unearthed) will ensure she comes to work on time for at least one week. Giving away the two pairs of 24-inch-waist jeans and five shirts you’ve been hanging on to in the hope of losing weight might make your cook (who has a teenage daughter) actually heed your instructions and dish out zero-oil meals. And that watch you got as a corporate gift some years ago? Give it away to your watchman and he will shoo away the dogs for whom your car is their toilet of choice.
To be sure, there is some pain involved in all of this. But even that, if viewed in the right spirit, is beneficial. Taking down and replacing old suitcases from the loft is as good as doing weights in the gym. Carting all those books you haven’t read in years is sure to help your arm muscles. Bending over to investigate the bottoms of drawers and pulling out old clothes is better than touching your toes. And doing all this in Mumbai’s humidity, is equivalent to a full-body workout.
And when you have finally managed to throw out or give away the useless, the unwanted and the extras, you can actually buy yourself more gadgets/ clothes/books. Your house is looking that wee bit bigger. You’ll find things you’ve lost, misplaced and given up on ages ago, including that missing document your CA has been hounding you to find for months now.
And then perhaps, since this is the season for goodwill and generosity, try to declutter your life too. Junk all those wasteful emotions — the anger, the resentment, the envy — and forgive those who’ve rankled you the whole of this year. You’ll truly feel a lot better.
You have less than a week to do all of this. So set your GTalk status to ‘Busy’, list your Facebook tagline as ‘Cleaning out my closet, a la Eminem’, Tweet ‘Going to be spring cleaning all weekend,’ and dive in.
This weekly column explores the city’s low-cost pleasures