I’m exhausted. Our messy cottage had turned into a series of piles with a warren of little passages that led to the bathroom, bedrooms and kitchen. So many things had been lost. The avalanches were a daily hazard. It was depressing and somewhat akin to a bijou cottage version of Miss Havisham’s house in Dicken’s Great Expectations.
Something had to be done. And when my friend Jean offered to help, I jumped at the chance and wondered whether the friendship would survive such a choppy and shark infested sea.
Jean’s mantra is
“Put things away. Discard anything that you do not need.”
Mine is normally
“Keep and leave everything out as you might need them tomorrow and at least you know vaguely where they are.”
But has changed to
“Put things away, Jean’s watching.”
And I keep on slipping even though I’m focussing on the heart of the matter. Our house is getting sorted and I’m clearing out the dross that’s holding us back. Jean has cleared the larder and the fridge so there is loads of empty space to fill. Broad smiles from me. Although I’ll fight to keep Babar – he’s the sort of silent friend that everyone needs when everything goes wrong. If that toy elephant could talk… his visit would have been fleeting.
Somehow if you are working with a friend on the sorting/grading/chucking (giving to charity shops) stakes some sensible sense of reason does eventually creep in – we’ve just completed day four. It’s embarrassing to admit that you do actually want to keep everything. Even the wildflowers that you pressed 50 years ago and now are just so thin and incidental that they barely exist. Jean is kind and tactful but she beams whenever I say chuck.
So I’m finally shredding or giving away lots and lots of stuff. Highlights include the 1968 Puffin diary, the last 40 years of bank statements, the cards from boarding school sent by people that I’ve long forgotten, the vast bag of socks with holes, the outfits that I imagined that I looked great in 20 years ago, strange things that I can’t exactly identify (vegetables or wildlife that have been salted away by the Min Pins?), books, free CDs, and so much more.
But I’m keeping Monopoly and Babar and lots of “essentials” just in case. If they can be ‘put away’ they are staying. From now on I will be a closet hoarder. Whey Hey!
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