It wasn’t until I had to move house and started to pack my stuff away that I realised just how many things I have accumulated over a relatively short period of time. And just how many of those things really are meaningless bits of junk.
I like a clean, clear look to the spaces in my house. Light colours, everything in its place, minimal ornaments and trinkets – but I also seem to be a collector of books, handbags, clothes, random objects d’art that catch my eye and kitchen tools that I am likely never to use (melon baller, anyone?) I also have reams and reams of papers – old letters and cards, bills, school reports, bank statements, boxes of early drafts of stories and a box of scripts I’ve worked with – you name it, I seem to have kept it. So while my external spaces are clean and clear, my cupboards are an entirely different story.
They’re a little like that joke in the cartoons, you know the one, when the guy opens the closet doors, there’s a moment’s hesitation when he thinks everything is okay… and then a thousand bits of ephemera come falling down on him? I have cupboards with stuff balanced in them so that won’t happen to me.
I have cupboards with things shoved in the spaces between other things.
I have cupboards with things thrown to the very back of the top shelf, where they will stay until the next time we decide to move house.
A question for you: If I’m making the effort to throw the thing to the back of the top shelf of the cupboard, why on earth am I not throwing it in the garbage? I’m quite obviously never going to use it. It’ll probably end up at the back of the next cupboard as well.
Interestingly, I think I actually CAN answer that question. In a couple of hundred years time, when historians are searching for information on how people lived a couple of hundred years ago, they are unlikely to find many faded photographs, or handwritten letters, or even bills of purchase. Our history is being written on electronic media. I suppose one day, when I’m long dead, I’d love for someone to delve through my stuff and be amazed over how we lived in the year 2017. The things we did, how much things cost, what we held to be most important. I hold on to my stuff to provide my own historical record.
Is that a little bit crazy? Probably. It’s likely that when I finally do meet my maker, someone else will consider all my stuff to be just plain old junk, and consign it to the rubbish heap with all the other ephemera. Or perhaps I’ll write it into my will that everything is to be boxed up and stored for a hundred years… how cool would that be? An underground bunker – temperature controlled, of course, so everything deteriorates as slowly as possible, where all of my treasures are bound up for my distant relatives to find in a hundred, or, no! Two hundred years time.
Yep. Sounds like a plan.