The Catharsis of Tidying Up

There comes a day in every gadget owner’s life, when a latest version of an app declares your precious thing obsolete. Kindle recently proved incompatible with my iPad. I panicked at the thought of losing my book collections and not to mention random notes as well lists of all sorts (I’m a list freak) collected overtime that serve as inspiration for new writing. But I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized I could simple transfer all the stuff from the old iPad to the new one.

Nonetheless, in the midst of tidying up these notes, I came across a list of names I’d written down years ago. A list of my own Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Galadriel and all creatives I regard as friends and acquaintances I could reach out to for support. A handful of these names still pop up in my inbox, after all these years. These individuals continue to help me become a better version of myself and grow as a writer. That’s really something to cherish. And to quote Tolu Agbelusi, if I ever said I made it this far alone, I lied.

note: It is after all the month of love, and one of the ways I love myself is to be constantly aware of the company I keep. This piece was partly inspired by 12 Types of People You Meet as a Writer. I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. Hi Khaya – my first time here, I think? I loved the way I could readily relate to this and also the bright positive human spirit that was so clearly in evidence here – between the lines… I shall be back for more, for sure…

  2. Hi Scott, thank you for popping by. Welcome and stay! I’m happy you were able read in between the lines and that you could relate, you’ve made my day. Much appreciated. I hope to get acquainted with your blog too!

  3. I relate. I’m still waiting (dreading) the plug being pulled on my blog (writer’s filing cabinet) that I’ve been keeping since 2005. I know it will happen and I brace myself as I do while acknowledging my own death will actually come in some not so far off day.

  4. Hi Colleen, I hear your concern. I imagine having a plug pulled on one’s blog is no joke. I hope you have a backup for your writer’s filing cabinet. <3

  5. I am glad things worked out in the end. And to make things even better, you found a dormant treasure (that’s what I tell myself when I find something I wrote years ago). Also, I totally agree with closing thought.

  6. These dormant treasures are a joy to find. They always remind me of how far I’ve come, and still to go. Good to “see” you Maga, I hope you’re keeping well!

  7. Precious story of tidying up! I think I shall take Galadriel (how could I have forgotten her?) on future writing expeditions. Thank you!

  8. I can SO relate! My phone is old (5c old) and so many apps have quit working. I don’t remember to back photos or writings either. I like the physical best, but that isn’t always practical.

  9. My phone has begun to act glitchy and even though I don’t really go anywhere, I’m irked at the thought that the day I have to replace it and transfer all the things I need over is closer than I thought.

    And yes, thank goodness for the fellow creatives that inspire us both directly and indirectly. They keep my fingers dancing across the keyboard.

  10. Tidying up doesn’t really work for me, I’ve decided. It won’t stay done. Or I find old letters or books or cards or other interesting stuff and reread it all, then it’s time to go back to what I was doing, having untidied up everything.

  11. That would scare me too! So far my Kindle and iPad will sync. I enjoyed reading about the 12 types of people at the link, and like you I’m very glad of the supporters in my writing life. Tidying up? Well, it’s getting so I can’t put it off much longer. (When the table is piled so high with books and papers that I don’t want to invite anyone over….)

  12. I am in the middle of transferring data from an old computer on its last legs to a new one–I panicked when my old one looked like it would die before I got everything off-so very relatable

  13. An old friend and I were chatting about this sort of thing recently, the bits and pieces one leaves behind when they die. Cleaning and purging are done with this in mind, to leave the smallest footprint possible. Some things are still of use as a connection to the past, to see where I have been, and how they led to here, and where I may go.

  14. Well, I hope we wouldn’t have to replace our beloved gadgets. But the sad truth is that products nowadays are designed to break (planned obsolescence) and especially after the warranty has expired. It’s unavoidable. 🙁 And the inspiration from fellow creatives can never be underestimated!

  15. LOL! 😀 There’s that too, I agree. But the joy of rereading makes tidying up from time to time all the better, me thinks.

  16. I smiled at the image of books and papers piled up to a point of not wanting to invite anyone over, I’m guilty of that at times. Luckily with the pandemic, no need to worry much and even about people dropping by unannounced.:) I’m also glad you enjoyed reading about different types of people… I find the article funny but true.

  17. Transferring data over can be scary. All the best with setting up your new computer. And I appreciate you stopping by, thank you!

  18. Oh, absolutely the physical way of writing or keeping notes is always the best. But as you say, it’s not always practical. Please do make reminders to back up your work, you can’t afford to lose your photos and writings!

  19. You mention something important, Lavinia. This is a different kind of tidying up; the bits and pieces we’ll leave behind when we die need to be orderly too so that they make sense to anyone interested in exploring our works, when we are long gone. I always have this in mind too, and I try as much as possible to let go of drafts I’m not likely to revisit or pursue in the future…it can be difficult though. But yes, things that connects to the past serve as a reminder of how far one has come and still to go. They are a treasure of memories and lesson learned. Thank you, I appreciate you reading!

  20. It is a wonderful thing when in the process of imagining losing your work you come across those people who have been with you during the process of creating. I have had the scary thought and actuality of losing what I’ve written. It’s crushing.

  21. We never realize how dependent we are one something (especially tech) until it’s threatened. I know I have lost countless documents, outlines, and notes, and it is just heartbreaking every time. I’m so glad you found something positive in the experience instead.

  22. Khaya, as so many have said, I too can relate to the terror of losing all on your old iPad. You know you can transfer everything, you know it should work but the doubt is always there … will it really work?Yeah! Glad all went well and you became reacquainted with sources of creativity! As for lists – how do people manage without any?!😀😀

    Wishing you a wonderful and creative month, my friend. xx

  23. Oh yes, the dependency on tech is way too scary to even contemplate. But losing documents and outlines, especially must be really heartbreaking. Better be vigilant with your back-ups!

  24. It seems it’s a common fear, losing all the important stuff we store on our gadgets. As for lists, say no more! 😀

    And thanks for the wonderful wishes. The same kind words back at you!xx

  25. Thank you, Khaya for this lovely post. Annika tweeted it. It’s wonderful to connect again with you. How is Finland these days? I can finally say we were there after singing in Prague. Helsinki was beautiful. I imagine you have more snow than we do. Be well. “__”

  26. Good thing you still had your lists and books. I hope things are going well even with the app issues.

  27. Hi MaryAnn, thanks to you too for stopping by. It’s always lovely to hear from you, and I can’t thank Annika enough for sharing my posts. I’m glad you enjoy reading my musings. How is Finland these days? Finland is fabulous and freezing. 🙂 This February proves to be the coldest and with more snow (about 39 cm deep at the moment) than we’ve experienced in our city in recent years.

    I hope you’re enjoying the season too, and wish you a lovely Valentine’s Day in advance! We call it a Friend’s Day (Ystävänpäivä) here, and celebrate the gift of friendships. <3

  28. Things are going well, thanks Curtis. I’m focusing more on writing than reading at present, and just enjoying the beautiful winter weather as well.

  29. Khaya, that you for the wonderful comment and the update on Finland. We don’t have quite that much snow yet but enough. We do have the freezing temperatures below zero with awful wind chills. We just bundle up when we go outside. Happy Valentine’s Day, Friend’s Day (Ystävänpäivä) Friendships are truly great in life. Be well. 🙂 🙂

  30. Glad to hear it! I’ve been writing some reviews for my film review blog and two of them popped up today for my Black History Month project there. Winter has had it’s ups and downs with the snow and polar vortex going on. It’s cool that you’re writing again though.

  31. My fear, nay dread, is my blog just vanishing, losing all contents. Hmm. I better think of how to back up all my stuff. 🙂

Do leave a trace!