Mother's column – saying goodby to my junk


Christian Life

Neline, CNE.news

Photo RD

I have been majorly behind with my household after the lockdowns. The children have been at home for weeks when the weather was not nice enough to play outside. Every day they had more hours to make a bigger mess. And I had fewer hours to do housework without being disturbed.

During my student life, I would just take a whole day off when my room was a mess. In no time, everything would be sorted out. But now, I have not just one room but a whole house to clean. And children, who open new drawers behind my back and happily start to play with the treasures I dug up from the depths of their bedrooms - and which I had just sorted out in three orderly piles: throw away, tidy up in this room, tidy up elsewhere in the house.

Neline op de fiets.jpeg

Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (9), Abel (7), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (1).

I know: we just have too much stuff. It is the ballast of luxury. And yes, I know the theory of decluttering. You should get rid of all the things that does not "spark joy" and does not make you feel happy deep down. The same applies to items you never use at this stage of life, for that matter.

But for sparks of joy, I am a little too down-to-earth. And I enjoy it too much when Martha picks the books of my childhood from the shelf again after so many years and devours them.

So I sit in the midst of my junk. And while my hands tidy up, my head is already writing a column about clutter. I barely resist the temptation to grab my laptop to start working out all those thoughts. I can already feel in my bones that this will be far more than 400 words and that I will be deleting sentences for quite some time. The familiar problem again: too much of a good thing, trouble throwing it away.

Get over with it, I tell myself. And so I run through the house with piles of clothes and obscure toy parts, I fill the scrap paper bin to the brim with old crafts, and after a few weeks, I even get the garage in order. Satisfied, I watch Jan as he leaves for the thrift store with a car full of boxes. I survey the house: not sterile, probably far too full to the gurus' liking, but still tidy. And then I suddenly feel it, deep inside: a spark of joy!



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