Make do and Mend or Have Back Ups?

While it is still January and as I realise that there is much to do in the house, sorting and getting rid of stuff. I feel that it is time to clear out things which no longer serve me.

Like the broken things I have not repaired. The clothing which has been mended over and again, if only I could not feel guilt over it. I don’t even know why I do.  But you know finally just chuck it out. If only it were that easy to do so but with a hoarders mentality I always consider the what if. I read an interesting article about things which held us back recently, it was a bit of an eye opener for me and I began to think that I really should. But I feel that I would have regrets if I cleared out all those useful things, or didn’t try to repair them. I have an issue with useful things unnecessarily ending up in landfill. It grieves me. No I mean that I really object!  What about the people who have nothing. Would they want them, well no probably not, people don’t seem to want old stuff these days, except for me. Could I make them better and they go on to eternity or at least a while longer.

I have just realised that I have five hairdryers for goodness sake. That’s just madness! Of course I can explain. One stays in the house in Scotland. One is a travel one (does that even count?) One I had at my partners, then I was bought one for Christmas as a gift one year and then another one was bought when the one I took on holiday packed up. Lately I’ve been getting that thing that happens from time to time when you are really fed up, it really helps the situation when you have somewhere to go and are drying your hair and suddenly the hairdryer packs up. So you haul out the reserve hairdryer and then within minutes so does that. I actually got the third one out the other day. Placed them side by side and said “Now let that be a warning to you!” Which is when I also took this photo strangely the second one has been going strong ever since. Bizarre but true. 

Meanwhile as everyone tells me so have too much stuff and of course they are right I look around trying to decide what things I will get rid of. It is inevitable that there will still too much for such a small place but I will never live in anything even near to a minimalist home.  At least I can say that I don’t need to go and buy very much as it’s probably all around here somewhere.  The replacements for this or that, purchased at a time when I had more disposable income.  This behaviour did not develop through greed.  It was borne out of necessity, when you are living in two, or more different places. You tend to make sure that you have the essentials where you are staying.

It is not just me though… My partner used to say if you find something you like, “Buy Two” he had this rule when he went shopping too. So you can imagine that he has amassed quite a bit too over the years.  Hmm and he wonders why the loft is groaning.

But as I try and accept changes which come my wayas I prepared a meal the other night I thought, I need a new knife for cutting the vegetables. I have been using the same knives in the kitchen for years and years, some of them I inherited when I moved out of the family home and have been sharpened and sharpened. I think I still have broken ones in the drawer, whilst the new ones languish in their packaging and cases and as I was thinking  out loud the other day as I got out the new hairdryer, what are you saving it for anyway?

Stop saving it for Best,  We have one life, Live it. 

The Daily Post – Replacement

I’d Lost My Marbles!

This is not a metaphor, but it’s not necessarily what you’d think either.

I have not been writing much lately. Instead I have been quietly storing away to memory hoping that I will remember it and write it later. I have not even written notes to jog the memory, so I hope that I don’t forget. My partner told me I “had far more important things to do” as he does from time to time when he wants me to stop what I’m doing and do something different. We had storage which needed to be emptied out on a deadline and with it memories of the past, so many moments lost in that room for years and years. Many people  have wondered why I keep stuff, I am sentimental and it started out as a habit. Those who know me have often asked. I used to collect the things that people did not want, or maybe I just found them interesting. I have furniture and things handed down to me by other family members.  I’d also kept all the books which I had as a child, some I had made as projects at school. I did not throw them away, wanting to share their wonders with children of mine some day, or ones I’d been lucky to look after in the early years, waiting for my time to come as a mother. I kept the books and as time went by I stored them away.

When I had to move out of my large flat and had no where to go, many of my belongings went into a storage facility and when I had filled that up, we talked a neighbour into lending us their storeroom, in the basement where I used to live.

And there it has stayed… For several years now, it’s amazing how time flies isn’t it?

For the past three years getting into the building has been impossible. Prior to which we used to go in there get things out and store other stuff, but basically things were left there. Many of them have been quietly rotting away, ravaged by time and flood water. I hoped that some at least could be salvaged before it was too late.

The anticipation of finding things again after all this time, was mounting in my mind.  My partner was dreading the whole process but did it with me. All my toot, as he referred to had to be moved.

So should we have cleared it all out and disposed of it all years ago?  I have to say that there have been times over the past fortnight when we both felt that we should have done, it was a horrible job to do, it was smelly and damp which got right on your chest and everywhere else.   We pulled muscles in the process but it is done and now we are sorting through, having moved what remained.

But there was some good news, there were things that I thought were long gone.  I had assumed that they had been taken when the storage facility moved my belongings leaving them out in a corridor for passers by to walk off with. From the numerous burglaries in the basement, or lost when I could not remember which place they had been put in. I thought I may have got confused and donated the wrong bags to charity shops. I had doubted that I had many of these items still, whilst others I would fondly look forward to finding again.

Unfortunately,  I lost most of my childrens’ books, all of my photograph albums from when I was growing up. During the clearance I picked up a box of books which were stored at floor level, hoping to keep them. They had obviously been placed there hurriedly. It looked fine from the top but as I moved it, the bottom fell out of it and water, so much water.  I took it towards the bin and as I put the box in there, I realised that it held the photos and the children’s books. The photo’s destroyed and the colours running from the pages in multi coloured rivers. These were my first photos from when as a teenager I had saved my pocket money to buy my first camera and develop the film.  I also found my art folder from my school days, the work was damp and mouldy and something I thought was there for years, is not. These were the low points but in the midst of it all, I found other things.

Among them was a bag which had been preserved containing the blue dress I bought when my Nan died and was wearing the first day that I met my partner.  I found the favourite dress which I had when I was 18 and wore on many a night out and other new/old dresses which I had not yet worn.  I found childhood collections, Love letters, letters and cards from friends. So many things, prized sentimental possessions from many years ago and after all these years I found my marbles!

My marble collection was won when I moved to this Southern town, new to the last year at Junior school. I was worried about settling in and making friends having been bullied at my previous school, there was a craze in the new school and I would learn how to play, then win a collection of marbles. I spent my meagre pocket money on marbles from the local toy shop and played every break time.  I won most of the marbles in this container that year.  I thought that the pasta jar (another of the things which had been stored away) was the perfect place in which to store them, on the kitchen windowsill where the light can bounce through them and I can enjoy them again.

Although I am a self-confessed hoarder and it will take me a while to get through it all. I will be working on my clutter and I have realised it is quite exhilarating to throw things out which are broken, or damaged and finding new homes for things which are no longer needed. As I enjoy finding other items from our past, no doubt there will be other things which put a smile on my face.

As I spoke to my oldest friend and also my mother after we had finished. I wondered out loud whether I would finally stop dreaming of the flat I’d had years earlier. Dreaming that I still lived there and that other people had taken over the place and my life along with it, holding parties that I did not want, with people I did not invite. That happened a lot. Mum told me that chapter is now over, now that things have gone from there I can finally stop living in the basement and be free at last. It seemed to mark the turning point, as I have been going through things with fervour throwing out decayed pieces of the past as I look towards the future. Maybe that is my metaphor and meanwhile, the strange dreams seem to have stopped.

 

The Daily Post – Anticipation

One Mans’ Waste is another Mans’ Treasure

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One Man’s waste is another man’s treasure. So they say….
I am the first to admit, I hate waste. I was brought up in a home where we did not have much to spare, what little we did have was often passed on or found. As a consequence, My parents and grandparents we great at recycling, (and hoarding) so I guess that it became second nature to me to have second hand furniture, clothing and to learn how to give things a new lease of life, or just enjoy them when someone else had finished with them. Also to hang onto things, often until way past their usefulness has probably passed. When I grew up, it wasn’t known as recycling, that only became a popular phrase, as I was growing up, the phrase was learning how to just “make do and mend.” It instilled a certain level of practicality in us children, where we looked at how things were made and how they could be repaired or even turned into something completely new. So much of that seems lost now.

I am in turmoil. You see whilst walking the dog earlier, I came across a house which had been cleared. We walked past it yesterday too, or was it the day before. It looked interesting, the house had been sold and as a consequence emptied. Totally emptied! The front garden was now piled high with the belongings that someone had once held so dear. You see, to someone like me, there might be gold there! Some wonderful preloved thing, just waiting to be found. It is difficult for me to comprehend, how someone can just clear out and dump someones possessions all out in the garden. No Skip. Just loaded up so that they can barely get down the pathway, what on earth does that solve? The house is sold, clearly they didn’t want it but surely you would get a house clearance in, or donate to a charity instead, after all there are plenty of them around.

Lots of people would make use of these things. A washing machine, fridge, cooker, the odd nick-nack. I wish I had a truck and a spare pair of hands sometimes. Oh and a lock up.
Unfortunately we live in a wasteful society now, where everything is considered disposable, without thought or consequence. I find this difficult to deal with and try to find another option: re-use, recycle, re-purpose or donate. My other half thinks that I gather “unnecessary toot” wonders what I would do with it, but it just requires a little creative thought. I can see the potential in most things, this is both a blessing and a curse at times.

There are still poor people in the world, at times I am one of them. Those who don’t have much, are missing something in their home and cannot afford to go and buy it. Cannot afford the latest things for their children and yet still want to encourage, nurture and let them think outside the box. That someone might be grateful to sit on an old chair, with a new cushion, or repainted in a pretty colour.

They might want a suitable table where their child can paint pictures, draw or read a book in a quiet corner. That desk and chair might just be welcome.
Perhaps if I could get that truck, lock up and spare pair of hands, then I would have a curiosity shop, full of such things to inspire a new generation, that dumping stuff for the local youths to smash up and litter all over the roads, really is not the way forward. To needlessly destroy things of beauty that were once a cherished part of someone’s family home. Sometimes passed from generation to generation. Sometimes they are not worth anything at all, in monetary terms, but have huge sentimentality to others.

As I sit in my house, surrounded by items of furniture, either bought or collected through the years, mismatched it tells a story, or several. Some inherited, some replaced but all has it’s use and place within the home. New is not always better, it holds no story to tell. It’s life has only just begun, but does it have any staying power, will it endure? I would rather take steadfast old than crumbly new any day. They don’t make it like they used to.

I regret that I did not rescue a piece of furniture from the roadside a couple of years ago. It was robust, solid wood and well crafted. Made to Last and had done so since just after WWII a 1940‘s post war oak cupboard. It had been disposed of for days, I tried to think of a way of getting it home, since I could not lift it alone and my partner had damaged himself (as he often does) so was unable to assist me. Over a period of several weeks, the rain got to it, which split the wood. Someone poured something over it and the varnish began to peel. The drawers were removed and smashed upon the floor. Paint was then thrown all over it.
A few weeks later and the top was also pulled off and slung across the road, broken and beyond repair it was then stacked by a tree for the dustmen to take away. The furniture that had once stood proudly and polished, cared for in someone’s home. Gone forever… Such a waste. Things around here so often are, it causes great sadness.