Monday, 19 September 2011

Grasping the nettle - The Autumn clear-out

For several months (well, getting on for two years) the house has been gradually descending into a state of dishevelment worthy of any student population. We had burglaries recently in our area and had to face facts: How would we know if we'd been burgled? The place finally looked like it had been through a spin dryer and furniture had landed haphazardly in each room. A mess. Don't get me wrong, we've still cleaned the bits that show, we're not total tramps. However, the main issue I identified after looking through an interiors magazine, was the lack of a "cohesive look" - who am I kidding, that was the main issue, but the fact remains that we've still got furniture we both brought to the relationship five years ago, which doesn't necessarily go together, but we both felt precious enough about our own pieces to avoid actually throwing anything out.

In a similar vein, we have an endless battle with stuff coming through the letter box. Relentless sheets of paper build up behind the door on a weekly basis - advertisements for local businesses including take-away menus for places I don't even know never mind would be tempted to order from. We bought a letter rack to deal with this, that's been stuffed full for months and now things build up on the floor in the hall, on top of shelves, anywhere we can squirrel it away to avoid dealing with it. This means that meaningful post which might need something doing with it, gets lost amidst the strewn batches of paper dross.

Therefore, this weekend we decided to try to give the place a fresh look, mainly to avoid living in a flea market come junk shop for the rest of our days. Usually, I would only clear stuff out to avoid doing something else more pressing and dull, such as postgraduate study - nothing like it for ensuring you've got clean paintwork throughout the house I find. However, this weekend we resolved to clear out for the sake of it, be firm, ruthless. If it's not required, throw it out! I use the term "we" loosely, it all sounds easy in principle but if you're married to a total hoarder it makes things twice as difficult. We once did a carboot sale and as I was selling things up one end of the table, my partner was buying stuff back at the other end...Subsequently, this weekend I had to endure sad eyes enquiring pitifully whether a screwdriver thing for getting staples out of the wall might one day "come in useful?" Well, it hasn't in the past five years, so I'm guessing not. I found it later in the airing cupboard.

Nevertheless, after much planning, sorting and shifting of stuff, we've ended up with a pile to go to the charity shop, the recycling bins are all full and we've got a stack of rubbish to go (things we've carried around from place to place for years, but are no use to man nor beast...) I've even filed away my bank statements. It feels great! Now, I'm not being smug, as noted above it's taken me some time to grasp this nettle but it actually wasn't as bad as I thought. It's started me thinking about all those things I put off, then when I finally do them they're usually not such an ordeal and leave me feeling that I might be a capable, organised person after all.

So I've been spurred on in all directions - I've done a stack of laundry, got a casserole simmering in the slow-cooker, booked my car in for a service and found all the relevant bits of paperwork for that (to avoid the usual frenzied, grumpy search the morning I'm due to take the car). I would have cut the lawn, but I was saved by rain starting. Ah well, there's still the ironing, and I need to find a dentist...

I'm sure I'll collapse into a slovenly heap some point soon, but until then I shall be a calm and efficient person in my nice tidy house...Is that ANOTHER FREE PAPER?!!

1 comment:

  1. I love it! Such a matter-of-fact and entertaining account of "autumn cleaning"; and to boot I could have sworn you were talking about Michael and I! Need to take a leaf out of your book. Check out my blog (yes I have finally started one!!), and let me know what you think!See you at the office :-)