Monday, June 27, 2005

The Death of the Hoarder

The Death of the Hoarder

After two days of concerted cleaning and unpacking (ok, one afternoon of concerted cleaning/binning and a day and a half of one-eye-on-the-tennis cleaning/unpacking) I have discovered numerous things. That it pains me to donate perfectly good shoes to charity shops just because of the nagging feeling in my head that I should keep them, because there's nothing wrong with them even though I know that I will never wear them again. In the case of my black knee boots because though they now fasten they also dig into my legs and I have to face it that I am never going to be thinner than I am at this point of my life, however many jaffa cakes I turn down. That I keep lots of crap for no clear reason [drama society minutes and play accounts from three years ago, anyone?]. That the most recurrent things in the bottom of old handbags were (in order): train tickets, tissues and empty packs of tablets. Excluding all of the copper, however, I did make one pound. And found several pens, which, in my world, is almost better than the money.

But, because I know I have to be tough on myself or there is no way that all of my belongings are going to fit back in here, I have to hold my hoarding instinct firmly and reach for the bin bag. Such was my grasp on this instinct I even momentarily considered selling some of my books. Because if I'm honest I am never again going to look at the pile of critical theory textbooks. Looking at their condition I doubt whether I looked at them when I was supposed to. But that would be a step too far. If I've learnt, under certain circumstances, to part with shoes this lesson has not been heeded in relation to books, even dubiously named textbooks. So I'm keeping them. Everyone needs a bit of Barthes every now and then, after all.

At some point in the next week or so, when I finished wading through the rest of my belongings I have to sort through my clothes. And, as someone who once happily proclaimed aged 21 that I was wearing a dress that I'd bought when I was 17 and who is currently wearing a pair of wedges I bought circa the Spice Girls being cool, this is something of an issue. What if I donate something to a charity shop which I will desperately want in a years time? Fashion is circular. One day I will even be able to wear my poncho again. Probably not for the next decade in the case of that one such was the prevalence of that item in stores around the country and on the back of Mrs Beckham but one day. And I look forward to that day. Who knows when I'll need other items of clothing? It's going to be painful I suspect.

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