I have a house that I'm the first to admit is too big for me, since I became family-free. That means lots of rooms to keep things in, or, if you like, to use as discreet storage for one person's streamlined belongings. I have a house aspiration that involves key words like calm, serene, light-filled, uncluttered, with soul, style, and deep deep comfort. In reality, only my sitting room is kept tidy. Elsewhere I have heaps of papers, cluttered surfaces, crowded cupboards, mountains of shoes and ironing, a generous layer of cat hair as the unifying element throughout, and, as this is a sunny house, well-defined pet-nose marks on the rattly old windows. I also have tidy friends who are wonderful homemakers; they cajole, tut, organise, encourage, and probably despair; I simply cannot stay tidy or throw out/recycle/freecycle enough stuff to make a lasting difference, and I have two (two!) Rooms of Shame as a result. I despair sometimes too.
So why am I talking about this now? It's all because of that DIY Will form. The idea of leaving everything I own to the Lovely Son, with instructions to disperse some of it to others, has had the unwanted effect of reminding me (and the LS) that this may be a lifelong task for him. I still haven't managed to let go of all of my own mother's belongings, almost five years on; what hope then for my cupboards, filled with strange and wonderful jumbles of items which are not quite awful or useless enough to go in the bin, and aren't quite wonderful enough to be given away? That feather quilt, which needs a tiny tear repaired before it can be cleaned and maybe put on eBay; those poems that friends wrote for my 40th birthday; the paint; the salvaged wrapping paper; the boxes and boxes of photos to be gone through and selected for scanning; the collar-tags of long-deceased but much-loved cats..... And of course all those hugely dull papers, forms, certificates, policies, statements, that sap the spirit and overflowed the filing cabinet long ago. Just thinking about tackling it all makes me quail. I have time now, which could be used to good effect here, but really, time isn't the issue, it's me.
But there's something else too, while we are talking about dismal and depressing things: those energy-saving light bulbs. Whoever invented them should be exhibited in the town square and pelted with Prozac bottles. The Lovely Son refers to them as Suicide Bulbs; energy-sapping rather than saving, they have created an ambience that harks back to gaslight, even at 100W equivalent. Who in their right mind would want to spend an evening clearing heaps in the Rooms of Shame under lighting that Dr Crippen would have felt at home with? Lovely Son, it's all yours.