04 February 2012
We hired a skip into which we tipped broken bricks, concrete rubble, miles of vine, off-cuts from old projects, ancient dog bedding and other assorted detritus. I'm fairly sure that no one would have scavenged in our skip and found a treasure. Not like our friend who found a Featherstone chair in someone's hard rubbish. It's not often that I work up a sweat from physical labour, and it was a hot day of weeding and cutting and shovelling and carrying.
There is a relief in getting rid of things that have accumulated. I visit some blogs just to look at those clean, sparse spaces in which other people manage to live.
Tonight, as I type, I am hemmed in by a small pile of books we bought at the school fete for next to nothing but for whom we have no shelves; a cluster of photos; the Yellow Pages, not yet returned to its shelf; a nest of cords and wires; an ipad recharging; a community of Lego; a bundle of tax documents; a pile of medical stuff waiting to be filed somewhere; a model of a Karmann Ghia; a bulging pencil case that ought not be on my desk; sheets of piano music; a box of tissues sitting on the Norton Anthology of Poetry, Fourth Edition; an old issue of Art World; the ipad cover I knitted; a short stack of CDs that have something to do with software; a landline phone; a pink and a green texta; an empty tea cup; a piece of half eaten (not by me) cheese; an empty cufflink case; a broken geode; a rusty screw (really a rusty screw, not a cocktail) and a tape measure. This is not unusual.
I took the photo above of the shelf at my kitchen window, just exactly how it was. How some of these things ended up there, I do not know. On it's own, isolated in this photo, it looks alright, almost deliberate. But it is just one of many shelves and benches on which gather collections of things. It is not restful - partly because it represents work I need to get done (return the sunscreen to the bathroom cupboard, dispose of the candy cane in some way, find a place for the ostrich feather) - and partly because such clutter, when found in every corner and on every surface, is just too visually frenetic for my tired brain.
I am not a meticulous person. I find it difficult to maintain systems unless they are extremely easy and convenient to use. I will never consistently file things chronologically or alphabetically, but I can stretch to generally putting one sort of document in one area and another sort in another area. My linen cupboard invariably and inexorably descends into a mess of fitted and flat sheets of all sizes, randomly stacked to fit, despite periodic attempts to keep like with like.
I know I am never going to live in spartan surrounds, however much I sometimes long to. It is not my natural inclination and, with four little folk around, not possible anyway. But surely there must be an achievable compromise between the impossible ideal, and the cluttered reality.
Does anyone have a wonderful idea, a fabulous system, an easy and convenient method of stopping crap from breeding in all the little corners of their house? I'd love to hear it.
Posted by Julie