Clutterville Central:My Domestic Space Dilemma

image of vintage dresser cluttered with china, odds and ends.

Since starting my new part-time job at IKEA I am enjoying a resurgence of energy and activity. I love the work, the creative atmosphere and our lovely team. I’m also studying Marketing at Belfast Met and setting up a small enterprise to combine life and health coaching with business support for sole traders and SMEs.

So, as you may guess, the home front is suffering. In complete contrast to the beautiful environment I work in and help to maintain, my own domestic daily routines have gone haywire and mindful domesticity has temporarily taken its leave.

The laundry gets done but rarely put away. Food shopping happens and meals are made, even though the fridge and cupboards are now pretty disorganised.

I’m sliding too on all the little extras: DIY and decor projects hang suspended in no-man’s-land; de-cluttering on a routine basis is now a pipe dream; windows need shining and bedrooms need sprucing but I simply cannot find the time to start and finish a project on the same day, week or even month. In short, the house is a mess.

On top of that there’s been a hiatus on the writing, blogging, crafting, walking and regular exercise fronts. They are now haphazard chance happenings. In short,

>> I need help! <<

What to do? Everyone is willing to chip in, in spite of the multiple demands on time and energy they too face daily. The challenge is to create an organising and cleaning system and keep it going – a tall order indeed, since we all work and study.

My current muse is tidying guru Marie Kondo, ‘whose method of lovingly connecting with belongings that spark joy and bidding a fond but firm farewell to the rest, is popular in Japan and is now catching on elsewhere.’ [The Guardian, Life and Style Supplement, 27th Nov. 2014].

I bought the book last year, started the ‘Kon Marie’ system and it was all going well until I got caught up in job applications and lost the tidying plot somewhere along the way.

So do I engage some outside help for a big spring clean (or to be more precise a big ‘pre-Christmas’ clean) and for routine monthly or weekly maintenance? This seems sensible and I believe would be money well spent. We could then all share the basic daily tasks and keep our own stuff regulated while outside help takes care of big cleaning. Big questions, though. Is it affordable? Is it justifiable?

>> What to do? Would it work? <<

Your experiences and suggestions would be most welcome!

Thanks and Toodle-oo

‘til next time.



Another Maestro Passes, Songs Never Die.

Encountering Suzanne

One day a few decades ago while living photo of Leonard Cohen on album cover in the staff residence of Purdysburn Hospital where I trained, a guitar-backed voice drifted along the corridor and filled the atmosphere of my little box room with such a haunting power that I literally stood still to listen. It was my first encounter with Leonard Cohen singing Suzanne.

My friend Edyth had just bought an LP of this master of lyrics and beautiful melancholic melody and once my obligatory cassette tape copy was manufactured, Leonard Cohen became my ‘go to’ artist for many years to come.

To date there is much commentary around Cohen’s prophetic words and their poignancy for the conditions of contemporary humanity but my purpose here is to pay tribute to an artist who enriched my life and helped strengthen my spirit, and to declare both sadness that his life has ended as well as joy that his songs will live forever. Like David Bowie, another Maestro lost this year, his work is woven into my Self in a multitude of ways. Yet professing this devotion often brought forth responses that were characteristically stereotyped comments along the lines of darkness, gloom, foreboding and nihilism. Not for me, though. I have always found Leonard Cohen’s songs enchanting and uplifting. They always bring me joy.

Warm Words

Laura Barton’s obituary for Cohen on The Guardian’s music blog takes the same view. To describe him as a ‘miserabilist’ is ‘to miss entirely the warmth of his words’, which, she elaborates, ‘run at the same temperature as blood.’ What animates Leonard Cohen’s offering is the joy beyond pain, the lesson in the challenge, the solution within the problem, the beauty within the chaos. As Barton reminds us, he echoes the wisdom of Rumi in his song Anthem 

 ‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’.

So to the songs that stick with me most:

  • The Partisan
  • Famous Blue Raincoat
  • Suzanne
  • Hallelujah
  • So Long Marianne
  • The Sisters of Mercy
  • Lady Midnight
  • Who By Fire
  • Dance Me to the End of Love
  • Hey, that’s no way to say Goodbye

Tibetan Book of the Dead Narration

Some time ago I found a documentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead perfectly enriched by Leonard Cohen’s voice as the narrator, so this is what I’m watching now as  my memorial to another Maestro gone from the world. Check it out, it’s a profound exploration of life meaning and enrichment of the human spirit through meditative practice and Buddhist teachings. There is an empathy and wisdom in Cohen’s voice that makes this film a celebration of life in the midst of physical death. I wish him well on his journey and thank him for the songs.


Songs Never Die


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