Say No To The Dress

The People's Friend Special - - REAL LIFE -

LOR­RAINE didn’t make New Year res­o­lu­tions any more. Too many di­ets and ex­er­cise regimes failed to flour­ish. Too lit­tle mo­ti­va­tion and, if she was feel­ing sorry for her­self, too lit­tle sup­port.

This year, though, she was de­ter­mined to do a mas­sive de­clut­ter.

She’d heard it was sup­posed to be lib­er­at­ing, get­ting rid of piles of old stuff and be­ing freed up to en­joy the be­long­ings you wanted to hang on to.

“The less I have, the less I have to look after,” she said to her­self.

She went to sleep on New Year’s Eve dream­ing of a min­i­mal­ist wardrobe, a pared-down make-up tray and a cut­lery drawer that opened smoothly be­cause it wasn’t full of mis­matched knives and forks and ev­ery con­ceiv­able shape and size of spoon.

The next morn­ing, she was fired up and rar­ing to go.

She be­gan in the bed­room.

Swish­ing open her slid­ing wardrobe, she started grab­bing clothes from the hang­ers.

“I’m never go­ing to be a size ten again,” she an­nounced cheer­fully, pil­ing up skirts, trousers, tops and a cou­ple of long cardi­gans on the bed. “I might as well pass these on to the char­ity shop.”

Out came all the shoe boxes. There were tee­ter­ing heels that gave her a headache, satin things she’d worn once to a wed­ding and a pair of grey­ing ten­nis shoes.

“Out you go!” Lor­raine sang as the card­board boxes for char­ity and the black bin bags for the rub­bish dump grew fuller.

As for make-up, why was she sav­ing three old dried-up mascaras, and did any woman re­ally need 18 dif­fer­ent lip­sticks? She re­duced them to two at a stroke.

“This is great!” She beamed at her re­flec­tion in the mir­rored doors.

“Should have done it years ago.”

She de­cided to sling ev­ery­thing in the boot of Jake’s car – her son was a good lad and would help her drop ev­ery­thing off to­mor­row.

Out went all the lit­tle toi­letry minia­tures she’d gath­ered up and never used from ho­tels and B&Bs over the years.

Into the com­post bin went the out-of-date prunes and lentils and the gluten­free spaghetti bought by mis­take from the back of the larder.

“It’s amaz­ing what I’m find­ing,” she said when Jan­ice, her friend, rang to see if she wanted to go for a walk. “All sizes of bin­lin­ers, none of which fit any of my bins. A raft of clean­ing prod­ucts un­der the sink. I bet just one good one would do the same job.”

“Sounds like you’re re­ally go­ing for it,” Jan­ice said. “What does Ray­mond think?”

“It’s New Year’s Day, which means Ray­mond is eat­ing sweets and watch­ing ‘Zulu’. He couldn’t care less.”

“Well, good luck with it, and let me know how you get on. I need some­thing to keep me busy and away from the bis­cuit tin.”

“New year, new you?” “New waist­line would be good, at least.”

****

In the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon, Ray­mond ap­peared from the liv­in­groom to find Lor­raine on her hands and knees in the kitchen, her head in the cup­board un­der the counter.

“Oh, there you are. Are we not hav­ing a New Year roast din­ner, then?”

Lor­raine jumped and hit her head on the in­side of the cup­board.

“Ow! No, Ray­mond, we are not hav­ing a roast. Just this once, I’m tak­ing a day off from cook­ing and do­ing some­thing that I want to do.”

“Which is what, ex­actly?” “I am de­clut­ter­ing!”

“Oh. House­work.” “Wrong,” she said. “In fact, it’s the op­po­site of house­work. I am re­duc­ing our be­long­ings so that we don’t have so much to main­tain. So we can cher­ish the things we choose to keep and live more sim­ply.”

“Right.” Ray­mond snapped a ba­nana off the bunch. “Looks like house­work.”

Lor­raine was de­ter­mined not to be de­flected and, once Ray­mond sloped back to the front room, she at­tacked the house with re­newed vigour.

Tins of shoe pol­ish went fly­ing from the cup­board un­der the stairs, and a bis­cuit tin of golf balls Jake had col­lected as a lit­tle boy on a visit to St An­drews was ear-marked for the char­ity shop.

Lor­raine won­dered if hers was the only house to re­tain two va­ri­eties of vac­uum-cleaner bag for mod­els they hadn’t owned this cen­tury.

She then junked some odd shoe laces, used birth­day-cake can­dles, ends of balls of wool, Jake’s dried-up poster paints from his school­days and two de­funct tele­phone di­rec­to­ries.

They said de­clut­ter­ing was good for you, so Lor­raine gave it a whirl . . .

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