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Room for the life - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Room for the life
A couple of weeks ago addedentry's mum and sister visited, and kindly used their car to take a load of wood and nasty disassembled broken furniture to the tip for us. Last week we gave our spare bookcase (still flatpacked, we miscalculated) to i_ludicrous, and also managed to lend him a big plastic space-consuming baby-entertaining device (their baby is already out and entertainable, whereas we won't be needing bouncy-chair-things for a good while yet) which addedentry's sister gave us.

On Friday we got rid of a big wooden standard lamp (which came with the house), a big black fake-leather armchair (ditto), and a small formerly-white wooden chair (many years ago I'd tried to strip the paint off with some thought of getting it back to a 'natural' wood look, but got fed up halfway through, so it just looked 'distressed', & not in a trendy shabby-chic way) -- the nice chaps from Emmaus came and took them all away.

Today we earmarked another stack of books for going to the Great Library in the Sky (mostly waifs and strays from Oxfam, & many too tatty for anything except recycling), and rehomed my old iron with jinty, who was also going to take my old toaster to a fix-it shop she knows but -- ahem -- fortunately thought to ask us first "You've tried changing the fuse, haven't you?" No, I hadn't, because, er, a small parasite is stealing my brain? OK, maybe I am just an idiot. Anyway, one swift fuse-change later, the toaster sprung into glowing life with a reassuring smell of burning toast-crumbs; so hopefully it'll be good for another 40 years now, which means we can rehome the spare not-quite-working toaster.

Of course, there's still a big heap of things in the "stuff to get rid of" pile, miscellaneous things that I don't want to throw away (or rather recycle) because they are still useable and potentially useful, but they're not good enough to sell (or to expect charity shops to sell) and they're too small and faffy to freecycle (and freecycle is a pain in the neck anyway if you're not at home all the time). I don't get the impression that normal people (you know, people who aren't from the internet) have "stuff to get rid of" piles around their house. Maybe they're wise enough not to acquire stuff they don't need in the first place. Or maybe when they stop wanting to keep it they just chuck it all in landfill and forget about it.

I gather I'm supposed to be 'nesting' at the moment, and to me that concept always seems to imply bringing things into the house, getting nice furniture and stuff; whereas actually I'm constantly trying to get rid of things. Of course, it's all making more space to live in, and I'll be much happier with the clutter out of the way, so it's certainly making our 'nest' nicer; but sometimes it does feel as though I'm just always whittling away and trying to reduce myself to nothing. I know I am not my possessions, but sometimes it still feels like going round turning all the lights out until I can softly and suddenly vanish away. You know?

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jinty From: jinty Date: November 28th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Good decluttering, there!

I have some toothbrush heads that are non-returnable cos I opened the packet before realizing they totally don't fit my elec toothbrush (excuse - it was a new toothbrush and I wasn't sure what sort of replacement heads it took). Far too good to chuck, not sure about freecycling them. There's also a camera strap and a couple of other things on the to-get-rid-of pile; I often have one of those.
ewx From: ewx Date: November 28th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)


I can't remember the last time I had a fuse go (and I have tried changing fuses on failed electrical objects on occasion, so it's not just that I'm not checking).

I have a books to get rid of pile lying around the house.

jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: November 29th, 2010 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)
As I understand the current phrase in vogue is, YER DOIN' IT RITE. Hurrah for more space! At another level, think about the self-storage industry and the money you are saving by not requiring it.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: November 29th, 2010 08:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I have seen few nests which, in fact, contain extraneous materiel. They seem, each to its species and resources to hand, models of economy and wisdom. So getting rid of Stuff is Good Nesting in my book. But as I get rid, I also wonder about how much I'm ditching my life. I can't yet ditch my pink and silver Patagonia fleece: it's from when I was 23, 24, when I used to go cross-country skiing on mountain trails by moonlight after a full day at work, and ran 10k races at lower altitudes just because, well, I could, and going down the mountain gave me a competitive advantage even though I have short legs.
It's threadbare, almost, but it still has a hanger.

Those baby-chair thingies are widely dis-advocated by various folk interested in posture and development; bad for baby hips and lower girdle strength, too encompassing a set of physical constraints. A small playpen is grand; even an inflatable ring, like a little paddling pool with a cover, does a great job.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 29th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not all clothes are kept as clothes, some are kept as souvenirs. I have similarly sentimental things that I can't bear to throw even though they're unwearable; trying to keep it to a minimum though (I currently have 3 suitcases full of things I don't really wear but can't bear to get rid of, so I am clearly failing at keeping-to-a-minimum, but I do whittle them occasionally).

Interesting about the baby-chair thingies -- thank you! We have actually also been offered a playpen by brother-in-law, though goodness knows where it'll go... at this rate the baby's stuff will take up the whole house, & addedentry and I will have to move into the shed! :-}
barnacle From: barnacle Date: November 29th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not all clothes are kept as clothes, some are kept as souvenirs

My Death to the Pixies T-shirt my ex handed down to me some twelve years ago is still kicking around in a drawer somewhere, along with at least three other T-shirts that are utterly unwearable.

I think nesting is sometimes also about brightening the nest, not just augmenting it; the clutter often gets you down so your instinct to reduce it is understandable in the circumstances. You're feathering it, all right; but using feathers of purest space.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 29th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
feathers of purest space

I want some of what you're on.

Badgers don't make nests, anyway. But they are quite tidy (blah blah actually a very clean animal) in their setts, rolling up all the bedding and all that.

I should probably send some of my old tshirts to Saved, even if it is a bit gifty-wifty and upcycley, if you know what I mean... (Not the Suede or Kingmaker ones, though, no way, they are FOR KEEPS.)
julietk From: julietk Date: November 29th, 2010 09:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Or maybe when they stop wanting to keep it they just chuck it all in landfill and forget about it.

Judging by the stuff I see thrown out by my neighbours, it is in at least a significant quantity of cases this. (I often have to resist rescuing things that are eminently fixable, because I have enough stuff to get rid of myself without burdening myself with other people's belongings that I don't need... but it saddens me.) Another potential answer: people acquire stuff they don't need and then just hang onto it. The huge market in self-storage might support this interpretation.

sometimes it does feel as though I'm just always whittling away and trying to reduce myself to nothing

Curiously, I tend to feel almost exactly the opposite about decluttering: that by getting rid of the *stuff* I have more space for myself to expand into. It's the possessions (to an extent) that feel like they're squashing me into nothing.

I got more militant about this after the time I spent in Aus, where I really didn't have very much stuff at all for 10 months, & I mostly didn't miss it. Unfortunately, the awareness that, for example, I got by *just fine* with 8 tops & a couple each of skirts/pairs of trousers does not translate directly into an ability to make any serious dent in the slightly larger than that (cough) quantity of clothing (or of anything else) that I currently possess. (8 tops was admittedly slightly too few; I was pretty bored of them by the time I got back.)

On the subject of recycling: you (or anyone reading) don't by any chance know of any recycling solution for VHS tapes? Charity shop doesn't want 'em, Freecycle doesn't want 'em, council doesn't take them, & I'm loathe to put them all in landfill :/
lnr From: lnr Date: November 29th, 2010 10:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I've got a handful of VHS tapes left, and just looked on Amazon yesterday for DVDs to replace them. Given many of the DVDs only cost 3 quid new it's hard to see how there's any value at all in old VHS version :(

One or two of them weren't available on DVD and were still real money new on VHS, so might be worth something. Perhaps you could check with yours and sell the decent ones?
j4 From: j4 Date: November 29th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

VHS tapes

Some of the charity shops round here do take VHS tapes, but they sell them for e.g. 50p each, & I am sure it can't really be economical to stick price labels on them, take up shelf room with them, etc.

There seem to be a few places that will recycle them (e.g. tapesuk.co.uk) but I suspect you will end up paying for the service.

I have seen various suggestions for 'upcycling' them into tables (lap table, coffee table) or crocheting the tape into bags etc etc but these do seem a bit silly, they're just turning unrecycleable tat into different unrecycleable tat.

(I confess I did throw a boxful of home-recorded videos away a while back, after failing to freecycle them and deciding we didn't need a tacky plastic coffee-table made of VHS tapes. I think sometimes we have to admit that these things are sunk costs, i.e. the waste has already happened when the thing was made.)
julietk From: julietk Date: November 29th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: VHS tapes

Yeah, I think I'm going to have to get a quote for recycling (we do have enough on this occasion for it maybe to be worth doing that) & then weigh that against the sunk cost thing. (I hadn't thought about it in those terms before; thank you.)
atreic From: atreic Date: November 29th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know I am not my possessions, but sometimes it still feels like going round turning all the lights out until I can softly and suddenly vanish away. You know?

Yeah, I know. *hugs*

But we are pruning, so there will be room to grow in the spring.
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