Bags to Boot

You know what’s been bothering me the last few days? On Saturday I bought a new pair of brown ankle boots.  No, it’s not that that’s bothering me.  Only two or three years ago I bought a brown bag, Jasper Conran from Debenhams.  Somewhere along the line of dejunking, I’ve given it away to the charity shop.  That’s what’s bothering me.  

Now I have boots and no bag.  What is a girl to do?

Buy another one, would be the sensible solution.  Except I’m not sure I have spare money for a bag this month, especially when I’ve spent money on boots (among other things).

It really chafes me that I had a perfectly good bag and got rid of it. Aha!  Maybe that’s it!  It wasn’t perfectly good, maybe the faux leather had started wearing off and I thought I’d get rid of it as it was starting to look a bit shit.  

Maybe, but I can’t remember.  

Hoarding possessions is linked to depression and anxiety.  People don’t want to get rid of physical stuff because it means they have to part with something inside of them too.  

I have made great progress the last few years.  You would not believe how many bags, boxes and crates have gone to the charity shops of Lincoln and London.  Of those hundreds of books, clothes, bags and other bric-a-brac, only a few have I thought that I wish I’d kept.  But those few eat into me with regret, poisoning my mind against further donations.

Like so much of my mental baggage though, there is only one thing to be done.  Let it go. 

More bags can be bought.  More fish in the sea.  

On this bright, sunny day, letting go seems like such an easy concept.  If I had time right now I’d go into  Debenhams and buy another bag.  Part with my money and not think about the fact that I’m buying something I had but gave away on a whim.  I don’t have time though, so a new bag will have to wait.  

Physical possessions, while important, are not the be all and end all.  I know that I did the right thing getting rid of the Jasper bag.  Because the last few years I have been sinking in stuff, and would have suffocated under the weight of it had I not seriously dejunked. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to live in a shack with the most minimal of possessions.  But as my room becomes tidier, so does my mind.  As I see a path through the clutter in my house, my mind will visualise the path I am to take.  There is no charity shop in my mind, but perhaps I should build one.  Except it won’t be a shop that sells on; just takes donations and keeps them safe.  So that when I’m ready, I can look back at those memories in a way that doesn’t hurt so much. 


Why do I only tidy up when someone is coming round?!

So yesterday I found out that a plumber would be coming to service the gas in my house-share, a legal obligation for tenanted properties.  Due to my being on air last night with The American Dream Team, it was gone 9pm when I left a message for the plumber to call me to arrange to come round, although I was aware it could be today.  At around 8:15am, I received a call from said plumber, saying someone would be round in about an hour or so.  I promptly went back to sleep, for after all, I am a Lady of Leisure and what on earth was I doing up at 8:15am on a lazy day (although every day is a lazy day when you’re a Lady of Leisure).

Cue a quarter past nine: doorbell rings (which plays an extremely annoying song which will get stuck in your head for a million years,.  Next time I’m feeling mischievous I’ll put it on the blog to torture my followers [note to self: but maybe not til I have loads more followers]).  I go to the door, expecting an old guy.  What I get are two young plumbers, well, one is around my age (still young :p) and the other is more fresh-faced, just out of school I imagine.  I invite them in (hoping that they’re not vampires) and show them into the kitchen so they can make a start on the boiler.  After making them cups of tea (everyone knows it’s etiquette when you have workmen in your house, although I forgot to offer them a biscuit), I tell them I “just have to move a few things around in my bedroom so they can get to the fire in there.”

It took me the hour they spent doing the boiler and the cooker to move most of the crap out of my room and into my housemate’s room upstairs (thank you housemate).  After an hour I had finally shifted enough stuff out so that the bed could be moved out of the way of the fireplace and the five boxes of books I have stacked next to the bookshelf could be moved…off the air vent in the floor (yes, I know!! I’ll slap my own wrist).

They are busy servicing the fire in there now, the front room which if this house were a normal house and not a house-share, would be the living room.  Me and The Bish are sat in the back room, which is our living room.  The fireplace is blocked up, but it’s light and airy and the sun shines through because it’s south-facing, unlike my room, which gets no sun, the one red wall makes it very dark and has a pub carpet.

I am, of course, embarrassed about having young men in my bedroom and seeing the amount of clutter I have in there.  I tried to make a sheepish apology to them for the mess, although I’m sure it’s nothing they haven’t seen before.

I try to tell myself, you can’t help it.  You moved a whole house into one room!  Which is almost true, although most of the furniture in the common areas of the house is mine too.  But the fact is, I have always been a clutter-bunny, it runs in the family.  The fact is, I just have too much stuff.

To be fair to myself, most of the crap in my room is in boxes/bags, ready to go to the Car Boot Sale, when the weather isn’t a) too rainy b) too hot.  But it’s been that way for many months now.

I do feel that all the clutter is weighing me down.  I have an unimaginable number of second-hand books, most bought within the last few years, which stems from an obsession to surround myself with material things.  I used to buy DVDs by the tens, especially when they started to sell at car boot sales for just £1. Now I have a zillion of them.  I know that if I stacked up all the ones I’ve never watched, next to all the ones I have, then I would probably have equal piles, with a pile in the middle for films I have already seen, but wanted to buy on DVD.  It’s like some kind of status symbol I guess, look how cool I am, I own THIS film!  This year I did decide to sort through my DVD collection and made an outstanding effort to get rid of those that I will never watch, will never watch again, or that I have watched, but feel I can let go of now.  I now have just one bookcase full of DVDs, and another full of TV box sets, which I can’t bring myself to get rid of just yet.

<Interestingly, I just heard someone call my name.  I stood up, called “yes?” only to find the young plumber was calling his plumber friend, also called Jody (I’m guessing that’s how he spells it).>

Hopefully I’ll be able to get a car boot sale done soon, maybe even this weekend.  With a bit of luck I’ll be able to get rid of a fair amount of it, as well as making some money to keep me in the Lady of Leisure lifestyle I’m becoming re-accustomed to.  Whether I will just get rid of what’s left, take it straight to a charity shop/tip afterwards I’m not sure.  The need in me to get money back for things I bought years or even just months ago is strong.  It’s like, I need to get something back.  This is my life, it can’t mean nothing.

What I should do, of course, is just let it go.  Let go of my clutter, which I don’t have to be a psychologist to know represents baggage from the past.  Let go of all the things that weigh me down, tie me down, like an anchor that holds a great ship in port.  I know next year I will leave this place.  It will make it easier on myself to start preparing for that now.

I guess the only thing left to say, is where is Dawna Walter* when you need her?!



*Dawna Walter starred in a British TV Show first broadcast in 2002, called The life laundry.  I have her book, how to de-junk your life, written with her co-presenter Mark Franks.  I think it’s time to re-read it…