STUFF and nonesense

As the summer comes, it’s so much more tempting to be outdoors than inside, but we are currently working on a project that requires spending quite a lot of time in the house… changing the use of some of our living space. I started working in the living room when I was here on my own because it didn’t cause any disturbance and it saved me heating more than one room. Now Mr Snail-of-happiness is at home all the time, it seems silly for me to work there, for us to have a shared office (that I don’t work in because I want solitude) and for him to have a separate workshop/studio. So, the decision is that I will have a small room to work in, the living room will no longer host any work and he will have the big room to do what he likes in, but where the main computer will remain.

All this means that lots of ‘STUFF’ needs to be moved around… and once you start moving STUFF’ you realise how much of it you’ve got. My assessment is that I definitely have too much STUFF. OK, I’ve had lots of years to accumulate it, but I do seem incredibly reluctant to throw it away. I can understand this if something has the potential to be useful, but why oh why had I kept my annual job evaluation sheets from when I was a civil servant over 10 years ago? What was I thinking? Did I envisage a time when I would be applying for another job and someone would say ‘Well, yes we like your cv and your gazillion qualifications plus the glowing references, but could you provide documentary evidence of the courses that your boss suggested you might like to go on in 2001?’ Somehow I have a feeling it’s never going to happen. And so, the old job evaluation sheets are destined for the compost heap.

But it’s not just paperwork I collect… I have also had to dispose of a huge number of padded envelopes. I don’t mean a couple of dozen, I mean several hundred of the things. They were on the top shelf of a large cupboard. Even as I was throwing them away I kept wondering whether I might , some day, regret this rash decision. But I am being strict with myself… drawers are being emptied and the contents evaluated. Supposedly I’m only keeping things that I need. Even with this approach I’ve still got loads of STUFF.

Perhaps my biggest downfall is books… I love them and find them very difficult to part with. Slowly I am weaning myself off buying paperbacks – a Kindle has helped and downloading audiobooks (great way to access books when you’ve spent your whole day editing and the last thing you want to do in the evening is read) – but non fiction books still find their way into the house in abundance. This means that I am in the process of transferring hundreds of books from the shelves in one room to the shelves in a different room. Look on the bright side, though… it’s great exercise.

I’m not sure whether it is good or bad, but Mr S-o-h is also a squirrel (favourite items to collect: electronic equipment). I guess we couldn’t live with each other if one of us was a hoarder and one a minimalist, but our collective collecting has resulted in a house full of STUFF.

So, the time has come to provide myself with a less cluttered space in which to work and I’m hoping that this will encourage my creativity. It will still be like working in a library and I will still have loads of teaching materials to find a home for, but perhaps if I can start with a tidier room I will have a tidier mind and be less likely to commence the collection of extraneous STUFF again… maybe…

… now where did I put that bin bag full of bubble wrap…?

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  1. Will knit for wool | The Snail of Happiness

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