Sunday, 29 September 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: Clean House

Is there “junk” in your life? What kind? How do you get rid of it? 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us JUNK.

Nera and Tabby in the garden cupboard

I grew up with junk and the motto “It might come in handy” but it never did. My felines are quite happy in our garden cupboard sitting on the official plastic bags ready for the rubbish disposal. Actually this is the only place where we have junk at the moment, and even that is in the throes of renewal. I have already cleared away the first shelf of earthenware pots, but I have time for the rest. I also threw away a bag of berry plant fertiliser and vegetable patch fertiliser. I gave up with the farming ideas when my back gave up with bending. I even found a pot of stuff to make your hydrangias turn blue.

To begin at the beginning, mum and dad did not have a lot when they got married. Dad had arrived home from the war, had to find a job, and they moved into the top floor of an East end slum house with three rooms, my grandfather living downstairs in his three rooms. Then I arrived and space got very narrow. Eventually as I grew older I was moved out of my parents’ bedroom into my own room, so we lived in the kitchen. At least the cooker was out on the stairwell on a platform. The whole place was a junk store. Some of the furniture had untility marks on it, originating from war time where furniture was a rare article. Luckily we had no problem with throwing anything away, as we did not have very much. Most of it was a bargain bought “down the lane”.

If we do same fast steps forward we arrive in so-called modern times. I now live in an organised country called Switzerland and believe me Swiss households do not have junk, at least the average Swiss citizen would not admit to it. We are now organised.

The rubbish collection is once a week and it has to be packed in the special plastic bags bought from the local council. They cost a small fortune. They had so many cases of theft in the local supermarket of these bags that you can now only buy them over the counter and not from the shelves.

According to the local rules, moving house is to be made at the end of March and September for a nice neat organisation. You cannot have people moving just when they feel like it. To avoid the stress of moving out, cleaning up everything, repairing stuff and moving in all on the same day, it is a good idea to move out perhaps a month before. No problem: you just have to pay two rents for a month, the old place and the new. If it is your own place, then you make your own arrangements. We Swiss are organised.

Over the past 45 years of married life we collected a lot of stuff we really did not need. We moved a couple of times until we bought our own place, but there is a mysterious ghostly apparition which seems to pile things up in a cellar which you no longer need. One day I decided to begin an exorcism, although a real exorcism would have been easy: just do a few chants, spread some chicken blood, or any blood really, all organised from the local butcher; if it were only so easy. I spared the organising of the blood, did it all by myself with Mr. Swiss, and am now the proud possessor of a junk-free home (except for the garden cupboard). We even have a phrase for the mess “Bethnal Green conditions” which was the place where I grew up.

I now have a motto “live as if you would move once a month” and it more or less works. Just a quick observing check in the cellar and hobby room to see if you really need what is there. Ok, I do have six bookshelves in the hobby room, but I am not going to throw them, I might want to read them again. Today we have Kindle so that problem is avoided. We have a second TV in the hobby room, but no TV connection. It still works and who knows? It might come in handy. I am still looking for the original Picasso painting I had, but cannot remember where I put it. Or did I throw it out at the last big rubbish collection?
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1 comment:

  1. I'm very minimal. I tend to live with 'what I need, or use'.