Operation Declutter

Giving away the stack of old newspapers to the raddiwala was the easiest choice.

The idea sprouted when our car could not be parked in the garage beyond half its length. After a few more weeks of further denial, it became a plan of action when the maid got hit by an avalanche of pots and pans as she attempted to open an overhead cupboard in the kitchen for spring cleaning.

“We can’t carry on like this,” I declared. “We have got to get rid of the old junk.” “You’re right ,” said the ardhangini in rare immediate agreement.

“So, why don’t you get rid of your old sarees and hit the pause button on buying new ones?” I suggested. The armistice was nearly broken.

“Perhaps,” intoned the Lady of the House (LOH) icily, “we could generate more space if you cleared out all the musty old books you have stored for decades in the shelves of the computer room.”

Not wanting Operation Declutter to flounder in the beginning itself, I hedged, “Okay, okay, let us make a start with the garage and kitchen, shall we?” Being neutral territories, the Better Half graciously concurred.

But deciding what should be scrapped proved to be tricky. Giving away the stack of old newspapers to the corner raddiwala was the easiest choice. But getting  rid of the two plastic garden chairs was dicey. What if we suddenly had more guests for a party than the drawing room furniture could accommodate?

And, yes, the lawn mower was hardly able to cut grass any more but replacing it was expensive. All it needed was a new set of blades. I know, I know, I have been planning to do that for the past year but I am sure to get to it in the next week.

All the above was explained in great detail to the House Commandant who remained stone-faced and shrugged in the end when a whole day’s garage clean-up permitted the car to enter three-fourths of its length.

But I had my revenge in the kitchen. “What in the world are you doing with these aluminium dekchis ?” I exclaimed. “Didn’t they come with your trousseau four decades ago ?” “One can make good pilau in them,” answered the LOH lamely.

“And what is this weird contraption occupying so much shelf space ?“ “It’s an ice cream maker gifted by my aunt  for our wedding.”

“Have you ever used it?” “No.” “So we can say goodbye to it ?” “No.”
“Why?” “It’s a family heirloom. Besides, my aunt might want to see it when she comes to visit.”

In sum total , the kitchen cupboards are still packed tight after Operation Declutter and the maid demands that I open them when she has to do her spring cleaning. Thank god, that comes only once a year.

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