Sunday 3 October 2010

We have far too much stuff

Have just started my autumn holiday, a week off only six weeks after term started. In the olden days, this holiday was necessary so the children could help out with the harvest - now I suspect most of them play computer games and do very little useful.

I was wanting to spend the week being extremely lazy, catching up on my reading, going to the cinema a couple of times, finishing off my overdue correction work. However, my husband pointed out that our flat is unbearably cluttered, and we really, really need to deal with it before we get buried under all our stuff. As much as I prefer to live in denial of the fact that we are pretty much friends only to the pig and the rat when it comes to tidiness, and manage to overlook the issue that even when we have tidied and cleaned, most of the surfaces, corners and shelves in our flat are crowded with far too much stuff - I had to admit he was right.

So while he went off to play a Lovecraft board game with our friends (I really do not like board games, or any games that require more than me alone on a PC or games console), I plugged my Ipod into the stereo and got to work. OK, I got to work after several hours of aimless web surfing, having dinner, watching the latest episode of Castle and some reading. But once I got started, I really did get a lot done. As well as the 7 big standard bookshelves, we have a corner bookshelf, which has been mainly used to store all sorts of crap that doesn't fit anywhere else. The top shelf has been used to store various pictures, but the rest was really stuffed to the brim with books, magazines, old coursebooks, plastic bags etc.

The husband, who in the past year has got really into his cocktail making, not unreasonably requested that I clear out some space in the corner bookshelf, so he can store his wine and cocktail glasses somewhere other than in front of our books or cds, where they are currently spread out. Several hours later, our flat looks even more like a tip than it usually does, because it always gets messier before it gets better when one undertakes large cleaning projects such as these. In the process of clearing our corner shelf, and bits of the comics shelf, I have found many many things - and a whole load of rubbish.

Things I have found include:
Dune by Frank Herbert, which I thought I'd donated to charity ages ago. Now I'm giving it to the school library
8 notepads, pretty much unused
5 notepads, filled to a varying degree with work and/or old course notes
5 notebooks of varying quality, all unused (I have FAR too many unused notebooks)
3 shopping list pads
3 ring binders full of useless old lecture notes or course literature
6 printed volumes of old course texts
8 of husband's old Norwegian course books
2 course books I borrowed off a friend more than 5 years ago
6 pedagogy textbooks that I should probably take with me to work
A pair of fancy candle holders I got as a work Christmas present years ago
Piles and piles and piles of old course or work handouts
6 plastic files
4 old wedding magazines
15 paperback romances, translated into Norwegian, all going to charity
3 English language romances, also going to charity
My big box of colouring pencils
3 sets of knitting needles, 2 of which belong to my Mum
2 knitting pattern brochures
5 books belonging to my Dad
14 books belonging to my Mum
5 books I borrowed from a friend years ago and had completely forgotten I had
1 dress pattern for a medieval style dress
1 address book
2 old diaries, the oldest ended in 2001
3 audio books
A pack of forgotten duty free boiled sweets - still good!
2 large rolls of gift-wrap ribbon
1 Norwegian flag
A set of fancy stationary - don't think I've written anything non-electronic that wasn't a postcard in years
Many, many old postcards and Christmas cards
A complete 2007 Far Side Off the Wall calendar
Various self-help and diet books that don't work and need to get thrown out

As I was about to finish this blog post, the husband returned from his evening out, and he's very happy about the progress I've made. So that's good. And it does feel good to have a bit more space on the shelves. Not really looking forward to tackling the rest of the flat, though.

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