I send the Youngest of the Darling Daughters a photo of the two top cupboards in my wardrobe in all their splendid emptiness. Then I send her another photo of the former contents of said cupboards, sprawled all over my
bed and the bedroom floor. Why is it that, where decluttering is concerned, everything gets a whole lot worse before there is any apparent improvement? I really, really need to know.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters advises, by return, that I form three piles - (I) to keep; (ii) to send to the tip and (iii) to take to the charity shop. She also suggests that I should stagger this task over the course of a couple of weeks. Which
is fair enough but obviously I do have to sleep in my bed at night and at the moment that would seem to be impossible unless I am prepared to share my space with several large photo frames, my Eternal Beau tea set (only kept for company), my wedding hats,
three large files of family history research dating back to 1997, an old Sony Walkman, an ancient TENS machine (relic of a Painful Past), and a few shoe boxes containing treasures which I haven’t yet ventured to sort. I decide to go out into the garden
to plant a few more spring bulbs. Unlike my clutter, bulbs can be easily hidden and will live to bloom again. The same can’t be said for my wedding hats, for example, which are looking a trifle battered.
It was the Youngest of the Darling Daughters’ idea that I should sort out my storage. She is convinced that I have far more storage in my house than I think I have - my problem is that I am not using it effectively.
She doesn’t exactly say this, you understand, being far too kind - but there is a certain “you know it makes sense” behind her message.
am therefore trying to think through what purpose I should put each cleared cupboard to, now it is empty of “stuff”. That is, instead of my usual habit of just finding somewhere, anywhere, to stow my memory boxes (one each year since around 2000),
my spare knitting wool (I could establish a wool shop but I guess there’s not much call for the remnants from my many knitting projects) and numerous photograph albums dating back to 1966. That is, I am sure you will agree, A Fair Bit of Clutter.
The trouble is, amongst the clutter are certain objects which carry memories - some happy, some amusing, some poignant. Can I really bring myself to dispose of them, just
because they are battered, broken or of no earthly use to anybody?
The Sony Walkman, for instance. Mr B and I bought it for his father when he was in a hospice
at the very end of his life. We inserted a CD of his favourite music - by an Irish Group called The Fureys and Davy Arthur. One of the lovely nurses at the hospice told us that on one occasion they all rushed to his bedside because it sounded as if he was
in severe pain - only to find that he was warbling, tunelessly but happily, along to “Oh, how we danced on the night that we wed...” Such a precious memory of the darkest of times.
Talking weddings - that wedding headgear reminds me of the fact that we had three family weddings in less than six months, two of them within a week of each other just fifteen years ago. You know what I am about to say, why
have one family wedding when you could have three? There are only two, not three, wedding hats in my wardrobe because the Middle of the Darling Daughters organised her wedding in a little over a week which left me somewhat challenged on the Mother of the Bride
Front. Fortunately a very dear friend loaned me her complete outfit from her own daughter’s wedding, including shoes and the most enormous hat. I gave it all back afterwards (still glowing with pride at the astonishment on my daughter’s face when
she saw me in all my Borrowed Glory); I wonder where my friend has stored that ginormous hat? Must have lots of storage in her house...
I have relocated the Eternal
Beau tea set in one of the kitchen cupboards which is probably where it should have been all along. I have had to squeeze the gravy boat, three assorted serving bowls and two casserole dishes onto another shelf to make room but - being blessed with the Usher
Gene which, among other things, enables its possessor to find space in the smallest of cupboards - I managed it. I have also re-homed all the games from the top cupboard into another cupboard, nearer ground level, in the room where the grandchildren sleep
when they come to visit. This means that I won’t have to get out the step ladder to fetch down the games when the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys remind me that we always have to play “two games before breakfast.” I can’t remember when
I came up with that idea but it wasn’t me at my most sensible.
My cupboards may be empty - but the memories are all safely stored away...