< Poems by Joe Kelly >

Having a sort-out

Dealing with my clutter. Clearing out that crowded old kitchen drawer with its many gizmos and artefacts, gathering many other items in boxes from throughout the flat ready for the sort out. 

I have purchased "the really useful box" that Steve demonstrated with its neat compartments to place bits and pieces in order. Putting similar objects into compartments, rationalising the clutter. It’s very satisfying finding a home for that lost itemgoodness knows what it’s called. 

The objects seem to tell a story, they are the miscellany of my life: the pedometer I never understood, the radiator key that bleeds the radiator system.  There are the screws, large and small; the cup hooks, pristine and dishevelled; rawl plugs brown and red, flymo blades for that lawn mower I got rid of last year. The tape measure and the toothpicks, the cork with a coin inserted within to recall a happy moment that I can remember. Those two gas meter box keys, not forgetting the many tubes of superglue bought from the pound shop.

Off to one side I put the useful but not required items, which later I’ll take down to the charity shop. They might do some good for someone in need. Some artefacts end in the recycling bin to be re-used in a new existence.

Other items I can’t put a name to, but at one time they played some part in my life. The pleasant outcome is that now I will be able to find small items when I need them. That cluttered old kitchen drawer now is used for large items like the can opener and the scissors, making cooking an easier task. The various boxes are now empty, stacked inside one another ready to be re-used.

I feel this sort out is choosing order instead of disorder, clarity instead of dis-clarity. For me luckily this process is straightforward, but for others it is not. Many of my friends struggle with hoarding, loads of clutter is making their lives difficult. It’s not easy to understand what the problem is all about: what seems to be a simple domestic situation to one person is deeply complex to another.

They say that in a crisis, you hang on to everything, as you never know what will turn out to be useful, so perhaps this is a kind of hidden crisis. For others maybe the collecting urge has reached too far.  One friend fills his domain with friendly objects to fill his space and bring comfort, so space itself seems to be in short supply. 

People say it’s not about the objects, it’s about what they represent, the hidden meaning that each object inspires. A collection of memories and sentiments that is worth hanging on to, worth retaining. So I’d like to pray for my friends, who are struggling with this difficulty. I pray that God will help people who are struggling with this difficulty to gain control to choose order instead of disorder. Gain control of their space and how they organise it. Find love through your grace.

Patrick Joe Kelly, all rights reserved. Contact Joe at art21crpd@gmail.com.