New approach

Daily household chores can be a pain. With ME it can be a killer. Hovering the tiniest room in my flat may mean I need to rest for half an hour afterwards.
Add to that the fact that the chores never seem to end…every week that same floor has to be hovered, the bed is hoping for new sheets. You get the picture.

During my rehabilitation at the beginning of this year, I discussed a lot of these chores with my occupational therapist. We looked at the way I did things and how we could make it less tiring and painful.
It made me think. I know the chores are tough and tiring, especially in my situation, but approaching it like that won’t make it any easier. Nor does getting angry with myself when I’m too tired to even hold the vacuum cleaner.
Slowly I’m finding a routine that works. I started by dividing my house in days. My living room is Monday, my bedroom Wednesday for example. The weekends I’m off duty. My flat has 5 rooms – and in this case I count the kitchen as a room and the bathroom, too. It only takes 5 days a week.

Now, onto the cleaning. I actually don’t call it cleaning or household chores anymore. On Monday I pay attention to my living room.
You heard it correctly, I pay attention. It sounds awfully Mindful, I do realise. It goes like this: instead of thinking “Christ, I have to clean this whole room…fuming!” I look around the room of the day and think “What in this room needs my attention?”. Hovering? Clearing up? Or maybe some styling? Dusting even? (the latter being my worst nightmare).
Today, Tuesday, it’s my study’s turn. Study is the wrong word. It holds a desk and my piano, but is mainly used as a shed in which my laundry hangs to dry, too. It’s a difficult room. Looking around this difficult room, I noticed a lot of things needed my attention. So I did some little bits of everything. Clearing out – sometimes all of a sudden things are good for the recycle shop – and reorganising and after that I was ready for some hovering. All this in under 20 minutes. Instead of procrastinating, I went for it and it cost me less energy than those times I looked at it as chores. Okay, true, I needed to lie down for 15 minutes afterwards. But all in all: Winner!
Guys and gals, this approach works for me. Like magic.

I scan because I can

Ladies and Gentlemen, I FOUND IT!!!

Yes, I did! Today, October 16th 2014 at 15.32 I found it. The aricle on minimalism I mentioned in Minimalism for the material soul. It was hidden underneath a big pile that I had named ‘to scan’. A pile I totally forgot about. Out of sight… But I found it again and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Yesterday I started finalising the third post in my Minimalism for the material soul category. Today I found it the article.

Oh, what a glorious moment! I understand it makes your day as much as it made mine.


I’ll continue with the post now.

Months ago my friend Marge and I did a series of SkypeSpringCleaning sessions. It went like this: we both sat down with our piles of clutter. Marge on the London-side and me on the Amsterdam-side of Skype. We would show each other the clothes, articles and clutter we’d collected over time and advice each other on the Go / No Go of the showed piece. At a certain point I sighed (or exclaimed. I can’t be sure, it’s a while ago): “Oh, my poor soul! It doesn’t know where to store all these interesting articles I have so carefully collected!” To which Saving Marge replied: “Why don’t you just scan them?”

Yes indeed, why didn’t I? It was a good old fashioned Hallelujah-moment.

Minimalisme bijlage NRC 11

[ Look, it’s a piece of that scheme for beginning minimalists I mentioned in Minimalism for the material soul! ]

From that moment I started scanning as if life itself depended on it. It’s a godsend, some people might say. I just think that until that moment I always underrated the invention of the scanner. On my lovely old printer it is quite a hassle you see. It needs all my patience – tricky one for me! – but boy oh boy…don’t I love it! I collect a scan-pile and once a week I sit down to scan it all away. It is simply ideal for me. And for all you out there that love to keep articles, letters and what more, but not the physicality of it. I even scanned over 50 old cards (payment, club cards, library passes) I collected since I was 6! Which I always kept in a drawer for ‘a future project’ but so far that project never announced itself. Now they’re still awaiting this project but in all their digitality.

Cheer you up in the Barbie Club.

[ I can’t let the physical version of this gem of a club card go. Yes, I was a member of the Barbie Club. And still proud of it! ]

Today, at 15.34, I scanned the appendix on Minimalism. It’s safe, on my laptop. The paper version is to be recycled and gone for good. Slow-minimalism. That’s me letting go.


[ Blij met niks. Het rijke leven van de minimalist was the title of the LUX-section that set my minimalism-research in motion. Part of and published by the Dutch paper NRC, October 19th, 2013. ]