Monday, 16 November 2009

Throwing away the past


It was Friday 13th - I had decided to take a day off work which was just as well for it turned out to be a hellish day. Why? Why should the 13th falling on a Friday be considered unlucky? From whence has such a superstition arisen? (I 'Googled' it later; enough details to form a whole post on its own). It has never caused me a problem before, though I usually mentally cross my fingers, just in case!

Anyway, this particular Friday, just gone, was certainly different. For a start I announced that I would spend three days 'throwing out the past', starting with the contents of the chest of drawers that holds  my clothes. Drawers stuffed so full I can never find the shirt I want or the trousers (pants). This is because I will not throw things away, will not discard.

At this point, R. decides that throwing out is a GOOD IDEA and opts for the boiler room, which houses two central-heating boilers: one enormous - you can just squeeze past it -  in which we recycle wood obtained for next to nothing from the junk yard, the other an oil-fired back-up. The room is so small there is hardly room to move but nevertheless it is also full of junk. Well not actually junk, but all manner of useful forgotten properties.

a load of wood like this can be obtained for a fiver

Row no. 1 - R. is throwing 'my' stuff into the skip! How dare he decide what I want or don't want. It's raining and I berate him; 'my stiff' is getting wet! So he dumps everything else onto the hall floor all covered in boiler ash, where we are sure to fall over it. Another sorting job, as if one was not enough. Most of it IS junk; I retrieve what isn't - a heater, empty egg boxes in which to sell my surplus hens' eggs, a log basket in which I could / will store onions, one walking boot (where is the other?); the rest is binned or put out for recycling (wellies that leak, bin them;  a mountain of old newspapers).

I go back upstairs to sort clothes. 'Sorting' in our household usually means looking at things, then re-arranging and stashing away somewhere else. Why is it so hard to discard the past? I steel myself this time. I will no longer keep thread-bare T-shirts just because thy are comfortable, or trousers size 10 that haven't fitted for years, or shoes that pinch my arthritic toes. I finish with a pile on the floor for the recycling / charity shop, and a pile on the bed which I divide into 'best' (hardly ever worn), 'everyday' and 'garden/building' - the largest pile and distinctly scruffy.

Now I have to sort the hanging rail on the upper landing - dresses, coats and jackets I will never wear again but so hard to say goodbye to; it feels as if I am throwing my life away.

The jacket doesn't fit now, but I made it and can't decide what to do with it  - though I do still use snippets of left-over fabric; can't bear to part with fabric either!

Row no 2 - I can't recall what that was about. I made scones for R's tea; he sat reading whilst I journaled (I have begun a new fabric book and ideas are bursting forth). Peace returned, for who could argue over cream tea by the fireside? By the end of the weekend, the recycling bin was full, clothes are now neatly folded and put away, and the car waits with a load of stuff to take to the charity shop. I have dusted and washed and cleaned and am BORED STIFF. (Oh, and the next Friday 13th will be in August 2010 and May 2011, then on three occasions in 2012). 

Though I say it myself, the scones, cream and home-made strawberry jam were good. Books in the background were positioned to hide more 'to-be-sorted' clutter. It's never-ending - result of living in one place for so long (40 years) and hoarding.

16 comments:

  1. I too have an old indian hippy dress (with bells on) - I spotted one of yours on the bulging clothes rail - which I will never discard. But I can recommend moving to a tiny cottage with no storage space as a forced de-clutter; since moving to ours, seven years ago, we have managed to off load about a third of what we had. (Mostly, it has to be said, things that other people have given us for one reason or another). But, your bad Friday has provided me with entertainment, so thank you!

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  2. The jacket is gorgeous and would sell easily I would have thought, on somewhere like MISI or FOLKSY. (Although why not wear it still?)I know what you mean about the feelings you get when you throw things away, things that have been a part of your life for ages. A mix, at the end, of feeling virtuous and sad. I had a gorgeous highwayman style coat, maxi length, purple crepe, loads of little buttons down the front, two capes on the shoulder. I bought it when I was 17 and loved it so much.By the time I was thirty I knew I wouldn't fit it again, yet I still hung on to it for another ten years before finally giving it away. Now I wish I had kept it for my granddaughter really....

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  3. BONJOUR
    HE BIEN MOI JE VIENS DE COUVRIR VOTRE BLOG ET JE DOIS DIRE QUEL BEAU BLOG ALORS A PARTIR DE MAINTENANT JE VAIS VOUS SUIVRE DANS VOS POST ET VOUS DIRE QUE J AIME VOS REFLEXIONS VOTRE ECRITURE
    MERCI ET BIEN SUR A BIENTOT
    MARIE CLAUDE
    marie.sulpice@wanadoo.fr
    P.S. DESOLEE D ECRIRE EN FRANCAIS MAIS MON ANGLAIS EST VRAIMENT TRES TRES LIMITE

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  4. I think we all find it hard to part with things but we have to once in a while or we'd run out of space... just think of all the people you'll make happy when they find your lovely garments in the charity shop... and console yourself that you now have room for sonmething new... but then if you're like me you'd rather have the old :)

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  5. We "sort" the same way. I pull things out, adjust on a hanger, put them back into the closet in a different arrangement. And then do it all again, when I am "determined" to de-clutter.

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  6. I have been doing the "clean out " for months it seems. You are right about collecting after being in one house for so long. I've also had to stop bringing "stuff" back into the house to clutter it back up!

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  7. I have a number of suits i have not been able to fit into your almost twenty years, yet I have a hard time parting with them. It is not only there quality or the fact that they are designer suits, but maybe because it was a part of my life that will never return.

    I guess it is now time to part and let go . . .

    Wishing you a wonderful start to this week,
    Egmont

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  8. I have to harden my heart and have another big turn-out of "stuff" too - not so much clothes, although I still have stuff I kid myself I will lose weight and wear again (hah!) but more books, and bits of china, and "useful" things, and that's before we even THINK about my husband's sheds . . . He is worse than me - at least I CAN chuck stuff out. Quite often though, I have a clear-out and find it all brought back in the house because it is "useful".

    And the most annoying thing, if I DO actually chuck this stuff, knowing I will probably never need it again, 2 months down the line (or less), what do I need? Yup - the stuff I chucked . . .

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  9. I have a tendency to hoard curtains. Why I don't know. They never look right when you move into somewhere new! I have been brave and sent them all to the charity shop.

    Love your blog ... :0)

    Shirl x

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  10. I'm getting better at throwing things out. Before it used to be impossible for me, but now about once or twice a year I'll go through my room with a big trash bag and toss the contents of entire drawers into it.

    It's also much easier for me to part with clothes than it was before, but there are certain things I do keep for sentimental reasons, like a sweater I received as a Christmas present when I was fourteen that has many happy memories associated with it.

    A coat you made probably falls into the keep category.

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  11. Is it the time of year or what that we seem to want to de-clutter. As for me it will have to come in bits and pieces.

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  12. Hello...I've popped over from KJ's blog. You've inspired me!I've been thinking of cleaning closets for awhile now. But I procrastinate for the very examples you give...how can I throw out clothing which has so much history?

    But the time has come. Thank you!

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  13. This was an excellent read - had me in "stitches" - pun definitely intended!

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  14. Ah synchronicity! I am in the midst of a sort out and every word resonates. And I am another whose husband really struggles with throwing away, you should see his workshop.

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  15. You're very good - I hate throwing things out even if they are going to charity - I get far too attached to things. (and Congrats! on your articles being published).

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  16. Ann,
    Congratulations on your recent publishing successes, wonderful!
    Love this posting, you are so witty. It is so difficult for me to part with things too. But you look like you are making a dent in it...
    Delorse

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