Tuesday 19 May 2009

Clutter, cupboards, cats and keys

Wally the Painter, who is Millie's personal guru, returns on Thursday to decorate the kitchen. Heavy-heartedly, I am preparing the way, starting by emptying the old dresser that stands against one wall. It has a cupboard beneath and shelves with glazed doors above, and when full, is very heavy. The glass in one of the doors is cracked, and for some time now I've been talking about taking the door to a restorer to have it repaired. Now's my chance, I guess.

Inside the cupboard is the shameful evidence that for some people, such as me, who have inherited the untidy gene, clearing one's clutter doesn't always work as intended. I was
once given a book on the subject for Christmas by a determined friend, and in a fit of enthusiasm had sorted (i.e. dismantled) my sitting room bookshelves by Boxing Day evening. But it's the follow-through that defeats me every time.

So, inside the cupboard half of the dresser are storage boxes, holding what was once neatly organised clutter. The trouble has always been that once I put things away in a box, no matter how tidily and logically, I forget it exists, and voila! another cupboard is filled up for ever with stuff I will never look at again.
I did try to reform, but failed to follow through with the regular discipline of reviewing and discarding unused items - well, I ask you, who has the time to do that? Or the interest, or the energy, or the sheer obsessive madness to keep it up, year after year? (Oh, you do? Sorry....)

So these boxes are now standing in the sitting room, along with the newly-washed china and assorted bric a brac that adorned the shelves. The dresser stands empty, its shelves lined with a Laura Ashley wallpaper that had been a decorating mistake that I recognised in time, and that must be at least 25 years old. Millie has hopped in and out of it, and has left her trademark, a small nose print, on each pane of glass.

I found some money in a teacup. About 40 Australian dollars and a small Czech note. Nothing exciting like the time I found £100 neatly tucked away to leave for Sandra as an emergency fund while I was in Oz but had clearly forgotten about and then duplicated for her; now that was good clutter to clear! I found a pair of silver earrings that have waited for 20 years or so to be repaired, and will never be so now, due to becoming outdated - uh-oh, shameful memory just emerging of small son growing out of a shirt while it languished in the ironing basket - and to my pierced ears rebelling against any attempt to poke metal through them ever again.

I found two spare sets of house keys, so I can now free myself of the lingering resentment towards the Lovely Son who for years has maintained that he hasn't
lost his set, he just hasn't found them yet. But there is also a mysterious heap of other keys, held together by a large paper clip; these keys don't seem to belong to any door in this house, and have been kept because, well, you know....throw them out and then you'll find out within days that they contained the one that your neighbour entrusted to your care years ago, and that without it, and the neighbour gone off trekking in Peru, her house sitter had to spend the night huddled on her doorstep with a starving cat yowling on the other side of the keyless front door, and all because you didn't put the spare key where it should have gone, namely in the clutter-busting box marked Keys - Other. Best be careful and keep that bunch of keys.

Things migrate to the nether regions of this dresser; it collects dust and fluffballs underneath, towards the back, where the excessively lengthy hifi wires are pooled, and Margery never reaches with her hoover. I have no doubt that cat toys lurk there, hairy and unrecognisable, and other long-lost items too. I once took a photo of Kevin in his youth, with the dresser behind him, and on getting the developed prints back, saw where my missing slipper had gone. I also have a horrid suspicion that there might even be an unpainted patch of wall behind it, but this might be a guilty fabrication of an habitually-shamed conscience; I'll find out soon enough, when the drawers are taken out and the dresser becomes light enough for a team of strong men and a pair of dray horses to move.

And when it's all over, and the room is fresh and newly-painted? Where will all that stuff go? Guess.


Susan said...

What a lovely old cabinet it is. Ah the things ... I know so well although I have come such a very long way with my own clutter issues. I now live, thankfully, in a fairly sparse home.

BumbleVee said...

oooh.... you could have a lovely jumble sale...or just offer up some of the relics to folks who might think them treasures. Even have them pay postage and you'll mail them... somebody would probably love some of your outdated goodies these days. It seems it's all a frantic search for "vintage" things in some craft areas...

rogern said...

Very intrigued by the bunch of keys. Take a photo, post it, someone might recognise their's.

Related Posts with Thumbnails