October 22, 2012 by benmblackman
My wife is a hoarder. We discussed this once. I say discussed, more like I tried to hold an informal intervention and she went a bit mad. They don’t like it if you suggest they need to throw some things away you see. That’s why they’re hoarders.
Since then we’ve just continued to buy more and more stuff and throw nothing away. Yes, we’ve added two floor to ceiling book cases, a large outdoor storage container and a garden shed to our ‘solutions’ but in terms of impact, this has been like sticking a plaster on the hole in the ozone layer.
It was bad enough when there was just the two of us but now there are three (and considering the third was a baby – I can’t tell you how much stuff that entailed – and is now a small child – I can’t tell you how many toys that requires) it’s even worse. Added to the cat and three hens something had to give.
Two becoming three meant we lost the ‘spare room’ (read: dumping room). Because it is now her bedroom and with only a single bed we have lost one of our prize storage areas (‘underneath the spare bed.’) Her measly single child sized bed is useless for our hiding purposes. It has two built in drawers but they are not nearly sufficient for the amounts of bedding we require to keep a small child in acceptable levels of cleanliness (what with all the dribble; snot; spillages; puke; and – hopefully we’re past this now – wee wee).
Our other ‘spare room’ (the box room) is adequately named because for the last 3 months it has been, literally, full of boxes: Christmas decorations (obviously in October); 2 camp beds; tent; enough unhung art for Hartbeat to run the gallery section of the show several times over; 2 lap-top computers; a printer; bedding; cd player; a scary amount of unopened mail dating back to January 2012 (some of those bounced bills now make a bit more sense); cricket bat; sledge; 43 books; 27 cd’s; 2 jumpers; 1 cardigan; 2 pairs of jeans (1 pair not even ours); half an exercise bike; 2.5 floor fans; 11 socks; 7 shoes. I could go on, there was more. I probably should have spent some more time clearing it rather than counting it but I was intrigued.
Something had to give. After agreeing with my wife that ‘something’ involved more than just one pair of jeans (not even ours) and one sock (to round the total to an even ten, albeit, still unmatching) we agreed we would have a clear out. Again.
I don’t really give my wife a fair press in my blogs (a point she is beginning to note with more frequency) so I will fess up. She is a hoarder. We are serial clearers.
Yesterday, for the 700,000,013th time in the last six years we ‘had a clear out.’
We are incredibly good at the stage that involves getting everything out of all spare rooms, cupboards, underneath’s of bed areas, and other places she’s hidden stuff. We are getting even better at the bit where we organise all of this into piles for: keep; charity shop; eBay; rubbish dump. But we ‘must try harder’ regarding the most important phase of any ‘clear out.’ The bit where you actually clear it. By this stage, two hours in, still in our pajamas, no breakfast eaten, we were flagging. Survive the jungle for a week? Bear Grylls should try getting through one of our clear outs unscathed! Dust from the items pulled from cubbyholes rarely accessed rendered our throats so dry we could barely talk to argue anymore by this stage.
So we did what all sensible people would do in such situations. We closed all the doors upstairs (where we had ‘cleared’) and went downstairs instead to eat bacon sandwiches, drink strong espresso coffee and orange juice and pretend we were a civilised, grown up family. Refueled, we pushed on and actually cleared a great deal. One of our best ever. The kid even gave us both a sticker for ‘tidying up your toys. Well done.’
By 6.30pm we were smugly eating roast dinner in our tidy and organised house (4 rubbish dumped bags lighter; 2 charity shop bags better off in mind and soul; a spare room we can now re-enter). This is fantastic news because we now have room to redistribute the stuff we clear out from the cupboard under the stairs (next weeks project).
And so, the circle of (unorganised) life continues.