As an environmentalist from a family of hoarders my natural instinct is to never throw anything away, just in case you could use it to make or fix something in the future. But lately I’ve been feeling suffocated by my possessions. I guess it all started when I went to India and spent six months living out of my backpack. The experiences on my journey more than made up for the possessions I had left behind, and soon I found that I didn’t miss anything at all. By the time I came back to the UK in February I was looking forward to a taking hot shower and sleeping on a decent mattress but I found myself fairly indifferent to all the ‘stuff’.
Since then I have worked in two different cities and moved house twice, and this stuff remains a pain in the arse. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, as I had to borrow my ex-landlady’s van to transport things to my new place, if I could just put everything in my backpack and walk?
And that was just my stuff in Leamington. I have a whole other set of stuff still at my parents house in Gloucestershire. This is what I set out to tackle this holiday.
It was pretty overwhelming. This (see above) was all the stuff I had been living perfectly well without these past two months, and yet now I see it I don’t want to throw it away. I like all of these clothes, books, and I might do something one day with the craft supplies.
However, I unearthed some things that I hadn’t seen for years and had assumed that I’d already thrown away. Needless to say, boyband posters from my pre-teen years went straight into the recycling bin.
Previous attempts at reorganisation had only resulted in clutter being hidden in pretty bowls and boxes. While I can’t admit to have gotten rid of this entirely, there is now less clutter grouped into fewer pretty containers.
I don’t have a lot of trouble getting rid of stuff if it’s going to the charity shop; if it’s going to be used by somebody else and raised a good cause some money in the process. But it’s what to do with all of the junk that isn’t good enough for that. I can’t quite bring myself to throw plastic tat to landfill – surely it’s doing less harm in my pretty box than in the ground?
In the end I didn’t do too badly. Four bags full of things went to the charity shop and some did go to the bin. When a friend came round to visit on Christmas Eve I sent her away with some paints, a jumper, a skirt and an unopened jar of hot chocolate. The rest will have to wait for another day. I’m back up to Leamington in a few days where I can forget about it, but I’m going to try and throw away a bag each time I come and visit my parents.