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'Blue Flame'

Updated: May 10, 2020

17th August, 2018

So I've been pondering recently on something called a 'blue flame' (as defined by Jen Fulwiler). It's the idea that, inside us all, is a passion that gives us real energy when we follow it. One of mine is writing, hence the blog. And editing. However, I think I've realised over the last week that another one of my 'blue flames' is decluttering. That might sound bizarre and I can understand why.

But clutter has become an inescapable part of my life since my baby became a toddler and attracted even more stuff, like a magnet (since typing that last sentence I've just decluttered a wasp into the compost bucket. Most satisfying). And I'm determined that the decluttering marathon will not stop yet and I will even meet the finish line one day. I think most parents will understand what I mean. There are only so many electronic, noisy bears anyone can take.

What has taken me by surprise, though, is that I actually really enjoy the process of putting things into a plastic bag, putting that bag into the car (thank you for that tip, Fly Lady) and just dropping it off at the charity shop, any charity shop. 'Goodbye, extra toys'. It used to bother me and cause a bit of angst when I dwelt on whether I not I was following the right process for the decluttathon. I read 'Spark Joy' (a sequel to 'The Magic Art of Tidying') and there were certain 'rules' in there. Then I read Fly Lady (you can find her on, I think) and she takes an entirely different approach. That got me in a bit of a mental tangle for a while and stopped me from actually getting on with the process.

Then I discovered that the end result is actually not that important. Because decluttering is almost a hobby for me. I just enjoy it. I love getting rid of stuff. It's almost (not entirely) inconsequential whether I do it effectively, or ever completely, or not. It gives me a buzz to set my timer for 9 minutes (don't ask me why 9; it just works with kids) and see how many things I can throw into a bag.

And this morning I had the choice as to whether I would bother taking that bag to the charity shop or not. We were all in the car after a morning at Bruntwood Park and everyone was asleep (apart from me). The road ahead into Heald Green was chokka with traffic (temporary lights, nightmare) and the weather was miserable - just to paint the scene. I could have turned right and come straight home and enjoyed the blissful silence inside while both were asleep in the car. But something urged me on to that charity shop to drop off The Bag. And as I drove away from the shop - back into heavy traffic - I looked down at the empty space where the bag had been, in the front on the passenger side - and felt happy. I think I even smiled.

So call me crazy,  but....yep. It's one of my 'blue flames.'

And if it is one of yours, then you can check out Chappell Oates Organizing (American) on Instagram. Or, if you want something really strict, then try 'Spark Joy'. I can't remember the author but she is Japanese and so is really used to condensing clients' stuff into 'pods' (small houses) and she will have you, if you co-operate, folding your clothes beautifully, like you've never folded them before.


Grace's phrase for yesterday: 'Are you happy, Mummy? Me: (a bit disconcerted) 'Erm...sometimes!'

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