Tuesday, 20 July 2010

How a chocolate pudding changed my life...

Decluttering Diary: some time later.

I had one of those moments last week. Actually I'd go as far as to say it was an epiphany. And it was down to my sister-in-law Lovely L.

There we were after a splendid supper in her new gaff. We'd scoffed well, roast lamb with rosemary followed by a couple of those gooey Gu puddings. You know, the ones that come in individual glass ramekins... Lovely L and I loaded the dishwasher and I put the dishes in, without thinking really. Look, in my house I keep them because they ought to be jolly useful and ramekin is such a fine word.

Then when the dishwasher was unloaded Lovely L took the dishes out and PUT THEM IN THE RECYCLING BIN. She didn't hesitate, consider their usefulness, just decisively dumped them in the bin. I almost cried out.

Then I realised, that's partly why her sun-dappled home is so easy to be in. It's not cluttered. The cupboards contain what the family needs and no more. Nothing tumbles out at you and you can find exactly what you want.

And it's the same throughout the house. Surfaces are largely clear, skirting boards are visible and there's a sense of space.

A place for everything and everything in its place: if it isn't beautiful, useful or otherwise amazing, it's got to go.

All the way home I was itching to get started. The mug and glasses cupboard was my first target.

Among the discarded items - 10 glass ramekins and a Chinese teapot that was a wedding gift on the occasion of my first marriage 18 years ago and of no sentimental value whatsoever. It has never been used.


  1. This is why I'm so bad at de-cluttering, I look at your teapot and think "that's so cute, she can't chuck that out!" if we lived nearer I'd be on my way now to rescue it.

    How many ramekins did you have then? I'll see if I can out ramekin you ;)

  2. Oooh, I just saw, ten ramekins... I'll report back in a minute.

  3. But I bought you that teapot! Naaah, only kidding.
    And I have at least half a dozen of the said ramekins too, along with at least 100 glasses of varying types, most never used.
    I did once suggest decluttering the glass shelves but S still lives in a world where we might throw wild drinking parties and resisted.
    He's much worse for clutter than me, anyway. The mantelpiece in our bedroom is covered in his "objets trouves" from the riverbank. I call it his man-pile and it IS sacred, at least according to him.

  4. Haha! Have just discovered a ramekin shelf I never knew existed!

  5. 14 glass ramekins here! Just counted. I think Gu are now putting some of their puds in paper cases now thank god!

    You must pop over to Laura who also has a ramekin fetish today


  6. Jo, I'll keep the teapot for you if you like. Or post it.

    Deb, I think that's the problem we can't accept that we can no longer be arsed to have wild parties or huge houses full of people. Your husband's mantlepiece has to be worth a bit of study though. I know the type of stuff he finds!

    Trish, thanks I too have had a potato ricer moment today.

  7. The great ramekin divide!

    I am thinking about unpacking our banana box full of ramekins after our move and recycling some of them!

  8. Ellen, he at least didn't try to keep the dead woman's ashes he found on the banks of the Kelvin.
    Having that on display in my bedroom might just have been a deal-breaker. xxx

  9. I have four ramekins because thats how many we need. If we need anymore then I will borrow them from my family... although I do need to get rid of some mugs. And some childrens cups. Oh no you've got me started again!

  10. Oh dear, boy 3 looks like he thinks you might be going to recycle him!! But that's got everyone going! Me, I've just done the fridges - yes more than one!!! and binned lard dated 2008, and other very dead things!! Mxx

  11. go Ellen....let the declutterment commence!
    I'm off o unpack boxes which went in the loft in the last house and have remained untouched for four and a half years.
    PS: We need a name for the karma of recylcing glass ramekins....ramekarma?
    super sister

  12. Ellen, stop being a bad influence!

    I see that you are genetically pre-deposed to cluttery, so let yourself of the hook.

    It must be wonderful to be like Lovely L and not even have to think about whether something is useful or beautiful. I can't imagine not dithering for ages about whether I needed those ramekins and ending up shoving them in the cupboard. Just in case, like.

  13. wow!! I don't know if I could be so brave, but I do need to declutter, also that 'wide eyed' picture is just frickin' hilarious and gorgeous!

    trouble is we inherited MILs crockery and DH won't get rid of the bits I hate, sadly he would get rid of some of them, but they are the bits I like!

    I want to throw out the old and start again!! with things I CHOSE ....

  14. Laura, how are you going with the ramekin recycle?

    Deb, I don't think we have any remains of dead people... only that it smells like it sometimes.

    Mummy, four ramekins is very strict indeed.

    Mum - lard 2008, oh no. How will T cope?

    SS, Ramekarma is causing strange flow of objects around the house and, so far, precious few out of the door. Still, I think I'm on a roll.

    Jo, that's it though. If you dither, you don't need it.

    Tattooed Mummy, thanks. My suggestion - a close encounter between a hard floor and the offending china.


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