Clutter, Declutter and Black Holes


Have you ever kept anything safe? And I mean, really safe. Like, really really safe.

In fact, so safe, that you don’t remember where you kept it anymore?

Ah! I see that look of ‘I can relate to that’ on your face, as you read this. Good to know that I have company.


Now, if my instinct is to be believed, I’m almost sure about the location of most of these missing items. They’re in - as my wife would call it - The Black Hole. 

Our ‘Black Hole’ is a spare wardrobe that has travelled with us from house to house, starting with Brighton. And now, she (yes, I believe she's a female) has successfully crossed the seas and is now resident in the guest room of our house. She is pretty nondescript, except for the little chips off the right corner, from when our movers & packers decided they could somehow transport her through a narrow doorway. Obviously, they couldn’t.


Now, before I go on about this wardrobe, there are a few things you must know.


I have a mild form of OCD for clean living spaces. So, not only do I like the house to be neat, but also for things to be in its visibly right/accurate places. There. I said it. But here’s the other side to the equation - I am also a side-tracking procrastinator. Which means, I am also that person who says things like, “Ooh! I must do the laundry. But before I do, I need to clear the bed. Then put everything else in the bedroom in its right place and make sure my existing clothes are organised properly. You know, so that I have space to sort out clothes for the laundry”. So, it’s sufficient to say that my wife eventually just does things herself, instead of waiting for me to get around to it.

See, I like decluttering. There is something delightful about that word. It’s almost as if by somehow uttering that word, a magical team of pixies, elves and other mystical creatures would suddenly appear and start to clear out all that clutter you’ve hoarded over the years. In fact, it’s almost cathartic in nature - sort of like a cleansing ritual.

Sadly, we don’t live in a magical world. And the only thing ‘uttering that phrase’ will bring, is a realisation that you have a ton of work to do.


[bctt tweet="Decluttering is one of those things that you start, but never really complete. "]


Coming back to the wardrobe, she plays a key role in this OCD movie of mine  - a supporting act, if you will. Because, while a part of me is always feeding that OCD, the other part is slyly dumping any unwanted stuff into this black hole of ours. Now, if you multiply this obsession with years of  'collections', you can well imagine the amount of stuff stored in there.


For example, we've found:


  • Single sock pieces in a variety of colours; all missing their partner. Kept in the hope of being reunited someday.
  • Batteries. Some good, some almost empty, and some just leaking acid. All kept, just in case we ever need them.
  • Clothes. Some big; some small; some from so long ago, that Rishi might actually be able to use them in a few years. Provided normal style jeans are still in fashion.
  • Toys. Some of them his; some of them mine. Most of them functional but no longer used. All that we'd planned to donate to charity before they came to life like those toys in Toy Story 3 and wage a war for being unwanted
  • Brochures from holidays planned but not taken;
  • Brochures from holidays taken but can't remember
  • Takeaway menus. Yes, some of them from London and Dubai. Brighton even. Yes, for real.
  • Various knick-knacks and other pieces of showcase memorabilia. Often broken, and dumped with a promise to 'Fix it soon', but then replaced with more memorabilia.
  • Plastic bags and boxes of every imaginable size and shape. Why? No idea.
  • Bills and other financial documents - important stuff; but not important enough to look at today. Or tomorrow. Or the next few years.


My wife often muses that this Black Hole is where all our stuff go to get lost. I have to admit -I’m responsible for most of these things being in there. If I can’t find a place for a certain item, I indiscriminately dump it into this ‘Black Hole’. The irony is that it has so much stuff in there, that it’s no longer possible to ascertain exactly what’s in there. Or even find some of them. Yes, even the items that I’ve kept for safe keeping too. And this seems to have gotten even worse since I’ve become a father. You see, in the interest of offering a ‘warm and welcoming’ home, I tend to dump any (and all) of his toys into this wardrobe.

But sadly, what I did not realise is the truth in the famous saying that goes :


Image Courtesy:

Of course, I could look at the clutter and say that it’s a good defensive mechanism. For if someone was to break-in, we’d know their presence from the loud yelling that would be onset by the stepping on a LEGO block or one of those HotWheels cars.


[bctt tweet="These days we are fairly unapologetic about the mess at home. We just say ‘Interiors designed by a toddler’. "]


As for the wardrobe, we’re quite convinced that she possesses some magical powers. Maybe she’s hiding the entrance to some mystical place like Narnia. Or maybe, she could open up into Diagon Alley, where we can buy some magical assistance to help declutter.

Sigh! If only.

So, do you have a 'black hole' of clutter?