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De-Cluttering

September 19, 2011

I have various friends (you know who you are) that yelp with glee at the prospect of de-cluttering. In their houses, de-cluttering means getting rid of last season’s out of fashion clothes … in my world it is a whole different experience. They all long to gallop up the stairs of my tiny house with bin bags and joyfully throw out all my old clothes, old objects and long forgotten stuff …

I, like my mother, believe in saving things; incase they come in handy, for when they come back into fashion, because they are of sentimental importance and plain old just cos … also when I do finally have enough money to move into a bigger house they will all be lovingly put in walk in wardrobes or hung on the wall or displayed in cabinets …

Friends come to the house and look around and say, silly things like, “now you have an iPod you won’t need all those cds’ and ”if you buy a kindle you can get rid of those books.” Most have never been near ‘the spare room’ … when I spare I mean full, packed to the brim with stuff, impenetrable room. That same room that at some point in the next 4 months that will house The Spaniard … have a mobile, a cradle, a few wooden toys and so on … HA well that’s the day-dream!!

Well… it’s going to be a mammoth task to get from chaos to calm … and that task started in earnest today!

The trouble with de-cluttering is that everything you pick up causes you to reflect, to smile wistfully, to grimace or just to pause and wonder… it takes ages!! I know we have to move stuff into the attic (de-cluttering avoidance), and may even give some things away to friends, charity shops and so on .. but it isn’t a pleasurable task, even if the end result will be a feeling of satisfaction.

I hope I have a friend I know for over 80 years

Now … reflect on that and consider the fact that as I type, mother aged nearly 85 is sitting downstairs with a childhood friend of hers who is 84 reminiscing about how they squabbled over who collected the most shrapnel after the bombing raids on London during the second world war. They lived on the same street, they first met when they were about 2, and when they were 12 would tussle in the rubble for splendid souvenirs; bits of bombs, enemy air craft and so on. Many of these early treasures have long since vanished from Mummy’s collection of ‘stuff’ having lived all over the world, but John, a marvellous and eternal bachelor has kept everything. He is en route to London to give a collection of his father’s old smoking equipment to one of the Worshipful Companies, his log book of accounts from his time in Nigeria in the 50s is now in the Bodlean Library in Oxford … all valued and all admired by someone.

So there – if he had ever de-cluttered (in manner of those irritating TV programmes) he would not be giving his god-children amazing old first edition books and bestowing wonderful heritage on the world. If Mummy had ever de-cluttered all sorts of areas of her life would never be known to us or our children.

The Spaniard may have to live in a bottom draw in a room full of Namibian giraffes, Malagasy bags that look like houses, Iranian dishes, photos of its mother in various bad outfits in the 70s, a lovely piece of drift wood from the beach in Brancaster and so on and so forth … but it will grow up knowing and finding out about my life which hopefully will help from some tiny piece of its life.

I worry about children growing up in pristine homes with no sense of family history, no books, no old pictures … IKEA furniture, this years sofa cushion colours and no battered old records to look through … how will they value the past? or am I burdening The Spaniard with mine? I guess keeping that balance will be what’s important.

And maybe doing the hoovering and dusting once a year isn’t such a bad idea!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 19, 2011 11:52 pm

    If you are short of clutter you are welcome to some of mine. I am the worlds worst hoarder, but everyone comes to me if they want something… jam jars, pink paint, scarecrow scarves, you name it, I have it.
    Dusting? what’s that?

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