So, it struck me recently that I’ve spent an awful lot of my life packing my things into boxes and moving them places. Even though, we’ve lived in the same place for nearly a decade, this still keeps happening.
You see, we’re having a sort out. Not just any old sort out, but a massive home overhaul. This is due to turning our loft space into bedrooms and having to face the reality of the small village we’ve managed to put up there, piece by piece over the years. I’ve been a bit too well-trained by my grandma’s post-rationing need to hang onto everything in case it comes in, and my OH, well let’s just say he’s not one for throwing things away, either.
We have accumulated five spare wardrobes, four beds, four prams, two cots, too many toys to list (but they fill one of the wardrobes), three car seats, two tables and roughly nine sets of shelving, a large amount of old computers or bits of them anyway, a friend’s printer which I’m assuming they’ve forgotten lending us, a huge fan, boxes of cables and lots of cutting edge technology from previous decades such as old video players, tape recorders one of those CD players that you could load 25 CDs into, a ball-bearing clock and a machine that plays something called a mini-disc. How very useful. That’s before we get onto The Hi-Fi. A multi-decked towering item, circa 1989, standing almost a metre high with a record player, duel cassette deck, CD deck and a no expenses spared dashboard of graphic equalisers. It also has two speakers each a similar size to The Hi-Fi, standing proudly beside it. To be clear, this isn’t mine.
There’s also a spare clothing rail, and boxes and boxes of stuff. Boxes with more boxes in, boxes of bits and bobs, boxes of ‘desperately important’ memorabilia, that neither of us can throw away. Too many happy memories and proof there was once days without the school run, nappy changing, tantrum placating, sleep and potty training, laundry, food shopping and cooking. Ok, i suppose I’ve always done the last three things on that list, but it never took up so much time looking after just me.
During the building work, we managed to fill a storage unit the size of a small garage with all these treasures and are now having to empty said storage unit – and fast, before it bankrupts us and we have to sell one of the children. It’s an expensive business having too much stuff.
For years, each time another item was made redundant, it went into the loft, for when it ‘came in’, or we had time to fix it. I have too many well-intentioned ideas for the thrifty re-use of items, but with three small children, work and a house in constant chaos, it’s possible that most of it will disintegrate before I get round to making these wonderful new pieces of furniture, that I’ve created in my mind. The dust was so thick on some stuff, it took sometime to work out what it once had been. Now, we just have to face facts – it’s all got to go.
Would it be very wrong to invite people round, sneak off with their car keys and shove a load of stuff in their boot when they weren’t looking? Drop a few items into the bags of unsuspecting visitors that have come on foot? Yes, it probably would be. I suppose. But…tempting.
Or, perhaps the next time a party candidate comes knocking on the door for our vote, I’ll just say ‘yes’ i’ll vote for you, just take this wardrobe away. Oh, you’re UKIP – sorry this is all foreign imports entering the country via IKEA. Next!
And so, at the end of a bank holiday weekend spent entirely at home sorting through our impressive collection of important junk, we are nearly there. We still have a loft space, although greatly reduced in size and so we’ve had to be ruthless, yet it’s funny the things that get kept. There’s a few boxes full of files from my degree, that I can’t bear to part with – when am I ever going to need to know what i thought of Pinter at the age of 21? It doesn’t matter, it’s staying. Also, a bag of cheese cloth skirts (don’t ask, but they were so important that I’ve kept them in a box in the loft for 15 years and still haven’t thrown them away) and finally, my beloved old DMs. They are staying with me for the long-haul.
There’s actually a bit of space left – we’ve obviously thrown too much away…hmmm, maybe I should go back through it all and see what else i need to keep.