Published on February 12th, 2014 | by Ann Rickard


Clutter-Free Bench Tops

I’m a bit like Eddie from Absolutely Fabulous at the moment.

Come to think of it, I’m like her all the time when it comes to a penchant for popping a champagne cork, but let’s not go there.

I’m like Eddie in that I want clean surfaces, darling, clean surfaces.

You might not remember the particular Ab Fab episode I’m talking about, but from memory it was when one of Eddie’s chums (love saying chums, so British) visited her.

“I keep pointing to knick-knacks and saying in a determined voice: “clutter, it has to go”.”

The chum used to live in an immaculate house with an all-white decor and a minimalist approach that was so, well…minimal, it practically wasn’t there.

Anyway, it turned out the chum had had a baby since the two last met and she was no longer minimalist. Far from it.

She arrived with a surplus of baby equipment and a plethora of bubby accessories (haven’t we all done that?) and dumped the lot on Eddie’s clean surfaces. This happens to my surfaces every time my family and their children visit.

The moment they come through the door, I say a sad farewell to my surfaces.

There is not a centimetre of bench top, dining table or bookshelf beneath their tonne of stuff.

But seeing as I have no family visitors at the moment my surfaces are reasonably evident.

It’s just that they are on the verge of being…dread the word…cluttered.

If you live in a place for a long time – in other words if you are a “mature” person who hasn’t moved house in decades – you will have collected a lot of knick-knacks.

Take a look around your living room now and see if I’m not right.

There the knicks sit, knacking dustily away, unnoticed by you any more.

Some of them, especially those you have had for a very long time and which probably have never been moved from their original spot, will have an unmistakable whiff of “musty old people” about them.

I feel this way now as I’ve recently visited a couple of new homes where everything sparkles, surfaces are empty, and nothing is fusty.

This has put me in a de-clutter mood so ferocious you’d think I’d just had a visit from the television crew of The Hoarder Next Door.

“Clutter” is the word du jour at our house.

I keep pointing to knick-knacks and saying in a determined voice: “clutter, it has to go”.

As you might gather, this has caused significant consternation to my other half, especially when I wagged my finger towards a garish gilded trophy he’d been given many years ago for being good at something (I can’t remember what, neither can he.)

Out it went.

Out have gone dozens of glass candle holders, wooden candle holders, pottery candle holders.

Out have gone pots, vases, fragrance burners, incense holders and statues of anything resembling dolphins.

There were almost tears when I pointed an angry finger at a Venetian glass bowl.

Cries of ‘no, not that, I love that,’ from him didn’t cut it with me.

Instead, I said in my sternest de-clutter voice: ‘be careful or I might point my finger at you next.”

(And the bowl was not really Venetian glass; I bought at Woolworths.)

So now that the house is beautifully bare and I’m dust, must and fust free, it is time for a garage sale.

And isn’t that another story for another time?


About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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