As I've blogged before, I have a hopeless case of terminal hoarditis. A consequence of which, is that your living space diminishes in size as you fill it with gubbins. It often has its plus sides of course - but there does reach a point where you can't bear your own squalor and something has to give.
Starting with our pre-Christmas tidy, we got the bug to address some problem areas within the house that were very long overdue - we realised that we have things stored that are never going to be needed and we could simply put the space they occupy to better use - like clothes my son grew out of several years ago. My husband used to manage a hi fi store and this resulted in him being pretty committed to keeping the boxes etc. for electric goods and the like, in case they needed to be returned - or you later sold it - 'as bought' or boxed condition certainly commands a higher price.
A worthy practice for anyone to adopt, but when you realise that you have the boxes, leads and instructions to goods that themselves are no longer in use, you need to draw the line. So we've had a blitz on clearing out cupboards and ridding ourselves of some of this clutter and making more storage space available.
The desk I use for packing was one area to get my attention whilst I still felt inclined. The space available to me for working was getting progressively smaller and when looking at it, it was clear many things being stored on there would be better elsewhere, so I set about sorting through the massive piles of papers I had in trays - you know the things you keep - too good, or potentially important, to throw away, but not sure where to file them. A task I have avoided for an indecently lengthy time.
I still have two boxes awaiting my attention - most of which will see shredder action - but I did find some treasures. I also found things that I'd put aside to deal with another day and it was a rather bittersweet process. Difficult letters both received and sent, newspaper cuttings of friends obituaries and photographs of people no longer in your life, for a variety of reasons.
But there were pluses too - photographs of family and days out you'd not thought about for a while and made you smile to remember, a wedge of Airmail stickers that I felt sure I had but couldn't find and a favourite set square I'd wanted several times and couldn't locate.
One of the treasures that made me smile the widest was some photographs of a boxer puppy - thinking back, I think this must be Hadleigh - who turned into a massive dog with a head the size of a breeze block - rather larger than their current female boxer Chelsea. I think the photographs must be well over 20 years old - but I'd certainly forgotten how cute he was, with his oversize paws and rather too much skin.
I remember the day this one was taken, the week my parents brought him home from the breeders - I was married by then and we went over to visit the first weekend he was home - and we all grovelled on the floor to play with him - and when he was totally tuckered out, he flopped onto a cushion and flaked out completely to recharge his batteries.
Who knew that I actually had a nice polished wood desk, buried beneath the detritus of too many years. I shan't leave it as long next time - even though there were some nice surprises and happy memories.