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Melcyan is a Water Dragon. He is also a retired Chemistry teacher and a lifelong learner. He met his Chinese partner for the first time in 2007 while ballroom dancing in Australia. Their relationship started in 2010 and they have been together ever since. His focus on CLM has been to learn more about the implications of his life-partner's culture and language for building a lifelong loving relationship.
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Decluttering Is All About Love Part 2 - transforming ugly to cute!    

By Melcyan
932 Views | 10 Comments | 3/7/2019 10:59:52 AM

A Rabbit named Decutter!

It is getting harder. My second son is returning home for 12 months. I have 3 areas of my house that are floor to ceiling clutter. I now return to the state where I have 2 adult sons living with me. This will be a truly testing time for relationships. It will test my relationship with my beautiful Chinese wife. It will test my relationships with my two sons. It will test the dark corners of my relationship with myself. 

At least I have plenty of space. I have a large 3 bedroom house for just me and a two bedroom flat attached for my two sons. However, the second bedroom in the flat is small. The utility room that separates the house and the flat needs to be divided in two so that my second son has enough living space.

I know my initial plan was to roughly follow the Kondo decluttering method. That plan has just hit the wall with the impending return home of my second son. It has taken me two days to empty the utility room. I have had to put all those contents into a room that I had previously emptied of clutter. My God! That previously decluttered room now looks like a bomb has hit it. How frustrating!

Am I going to drown in a sea of clutter the same way I always have over the last fifty years? I can be grateful that the lounge is still clean and tidy. The clothes in my bedroom are still clean, tidy and organised. However, I still feel like I am going backwards. Is there any way that I can cheat my way out of this mess? This honest road is killing me!

When I was moving all the clutter out of the utility room I found a large blue and white cuddly stuffed toy. A rabbit! A hare! One of those creatures who bounces all over the place without a plan. That sounds very much like my relationship with clutter. This move of clutter is temporary, at least that is what I have told myself so many times before.

I have a new problem. This relocation of clutter is so depressing. I can see all the clutter as I wash my dishes in the kitchen. How can I trick my brain into believing that I am still moving forward? Lightbulb moment! I will cover the huge mass of clutter with a large blue sheet and set the large blue and white rabbit on top. Voila! A work of art. I have deceived myself yet again. Brilliant! ( You and I both strongly suspect that melcyan is just delaying his pain but let’s just allow him the joy of his delusion for a moment)

Sometimes we peg away totally unaware of what lies in the future. My youngest son has just knocked at the door. He tells me that there is not enough room in the rubbish bin. He is emptying rubbish out of the flat. I told him to pile his rubbish up in the front yard and I will take care of it.

What has just happened??? A miracle??? My son is cleaning up without me asking him too. What is going on? I think I can hear Twilight Zone music in the background. He has been hearing hours of bumps, scratches and moving noises from me working in the utility room. He knows his brother will be moving in with him soon. Has the penny dropped for him that his life also needs to change for the better?

My partner is back here on Saturday. She loves all four of my children and she will not begrudge me making an extra effort for any of them. I think I have reached that point in life where I have run out of excuses. My beautiful dog died one week before Christmas 2018. Five days a week I now live in my house by myself. No children or dog in the main part of the house any more. Any mess I see now is all mine! 

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#2019-03-07 10:59:28 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Melcyan, I do not wish the following to seem like criticism, but more as suggestions posed in the form of questions as to how to possibly resolve your clutter crisis:

1. Have you ever heard of a garage sale?

2. Have you ever heard of The Salvation Army?

3. Are there any other charities in your location that collect stuff disguised as clutter to be passed on to the needy?

Another question regarding your second son who reminds me a lot of my daughter ( a truly wonderful woman but a true clutter queen):

4. Since your son had just made the giant leap of cleaning up the space you are lending him without being asked, wouldn't that have been a great time to suggest he figure out his own way of resolving the question of what to do with the excess clutter? Perhaps suggesting a garage sale or a suitable charity for any of the clutter that might have value to others would have been a good hint to him.

Just saying...

#2019-03-07 14:58:15 by melcyan @melcyan



1. Have you ever heard of a garage sale? Yes

2. Have you ever heard of The Salvation Army? Yes

3. Are there any other charities in your location that collect stuff disguised as clutter to be passed on to the needy? Yes


Doh!!!!!!!! facepalm!!!!! Clutter problem solved! John, you almost saved me. As Agent Maxwell Smart would say holding his thumb and forefinger the smallest of distances apart, “Missed it by that much!”


Regarding your comment on my youngest son cleaning up, I will give my response on that tomorrow.

#2019-03-07 20:47:58 by oldghost @oldghost

Shoe boxes, full of China train tickets, the shoes long ago discarded. How did I manage that when some were unbelievably comfy and consequently loved! Kinky man that I am, most of the maps and brochures and tickets now reside in One drive folders as images, and the shoe boxes will soon disappear.  Every second Tuesday is Yellow bin collection when old paper magazines books can go.  Japanese library, Computer books, Dotnet, VB, Oracle, Maths, Gore Vidal, John Fowles, John le Carre, time to go!  Only my Chinese textbooks (being somehow sacred) remain ...

#2019-03-07 23:43:41 by newbeginning @newbeginning

If you are moving "clutter" from one room to another it would seem these belongings needs to go as you call it "clutter". It also sounds from your words your cluttering issue is serious. Are you boardering on being a hoader? I say these things are I recently had to go through my house and make alot of hard decisions, chuck out, donate or keep. When you find things you totally forgot you had ie the bunny, that can be a warning sign. 90% of what we have we dont truly need, even though we convince ourselves we do. When I had to go thoriugh all my worldy goods I was absolutely shocked as to how bad I had gotten. I did not know that it was causing my own family and guests anxiety when visiting. I found it was causing me anxiety as well but I just ignored the situation until my hand was forced.

I agree with John in regards to charitible donations of this "clutter". 

Good Luck!


#2019-03-08 14:35:45 by melcyan @melcyan


My youngest son is very untidy. Most of his problems are rubbish not disposed of properly. He does not need to use a charity because he has nothing of value that is unused. He just needs to use the rubbish bin more frequently. This was the reason for me not accepting his excuse that the bins were full. I told him he could put all his rubbish in bags on the front lawn and I would take care of getting rid of the rubbish bags.

#2019-03-08 14:38:37 by melcyan @melcyan


Good to see that you have got your clutter under control.

#2019-03-08 14:59:56 by melcyan @melcyan


You seem to have a better understanding of my problem that @JohnAbbot and @oldghost. However, I need to let you know that clutter and hoarding go hand in hand. Most people who have a serious problem with clutter are also hoarders. My hoarding is not at the extreme end of the spectrum.


My hoarding is not bad enough to stop me from being successful. It is not bad enough to stop me from successfully entertaining at home. However, it is bad enough to completely stop my partner from ever inviting her Chinese friends and relatives to my place.


Despite all this, I still think I am making real progress, even if it is slow. My lounge has been clutter free for over a month and every moment I spend in that room pushes me in a healthy direction.  Getting ready for my second son moving back home is slowing me down. However, by the end of next week, I hope to have my main bedroom completely decluttered.

#2019-03-08 20:21:39 by melcyan @melcyan

@newbeginning From the reading that I have just done in the last hour, my earlier comment that most clutterers are hoarders is incorrect.  I am inside the boundaries of a clutterer and outside the boundaries of a hoarder. I have incorrectly described myself as a hoarder in the past. I just don't meet the clinical description of a hoarder.


 I would definitely not qualify as a candidate for the British tv series on hoarding. I am nowhere near bad enough. However, I would be a good candidate for Marie Kondo’s tv series on decluttering.




Many people live with a fair amount of mess, but the home is safe to move around in; they can straighten up enough to feel at ease having guests. Rooms are used the way they're meant to (no paper piles in the bathtub).“ This describes clutter rather than hoarding and it describes my situation.


I can function at a high level in the workplace or in social settings. I do large scale entertaining at home at least 3 or 4 times a year. I manage money well. My house is fully functional apart from 3 storage areas. These characteristics are not present in a typical hoarder.


When I moved clutter from the utility room (that needs to be made available to my son ) to another room I was under time pressure. I put obvious rubbish straight into the rubbish bin but if it needed too much thought I just moved it without discarding so that the space that I needed empty became empty in the shortest time possible.


I have clearly recognized that I have a 50-year problem with clutter that I need to address now. I am currently taking steps to fix this problem. I really appreciate your "Good Luck!" wish. Thank you!

#2019-03-11 12:44:46 by oldghost @oldghost

time to cull the forgotten CDs and DVDs too.  Oh how I recall discarding the long-play discs and later bitterly regretting it - 1000 plus of them mostly classical and flamenco guitar including some now which would be true collector pieces.  My mother too left rack upon rack of them, more than 60 metres which I sold in a garage sale in boxes by the metre,  All opera! OMG how many Kiri te Kanawa and Joan Sutherland and Jussi Bjoerling records were recorded, she must have had the lot! 

#2019-03-12 13:43:32 by melcyan @melcyan

@oldghost  The culling of CD's and DVD's can wait a little longer. It was only last week that I tossed out hundreds of cassette tapes. Better late than never.

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