Ok, so I have a lot of stuff. A LOT of stuff.
In recent weeks I’ve been taking stock of the things I have. The reason for this is that I’m faced with moving house to somewhere smaller. Not that I want to move but the government in their wisdom has deemed that I should only get two thirds of my rend paid, leaving me to find an extra £300 per month of my own. Now considering that I only get roughly £70 a week benefit the numbers don’t add up.
It has also led me to think about selling some things off. I have loads of books, collected over loads of years. I could easily get shot of a ‘couple’ of those. And there there are my clothes. I’ve got two wardrobes full of clothes and they are bursting at the seams. In recent days there has been a leaflet through the door saying that you can sell your clothes for cash. So I duly trotted up the stairs this afternoon and began sorting through my things. Ten minutes later I came down the same stairs and began typing this out.
It’s not that they are just things. It’s that they are MY things. I’ve spent too long going without, even when I had a full time job money was always a struggle and whatever I bought was either a carefully considered item or something on sale and many times reduced. In fact looking around my house the things that I bought new could be counted on one hand; a sofa, my bed, some bookshelves, the tv cabinet. Only when I took Early Release from the Civil Service was I able to pay off my debts and buy what I term luxury items, my laptop, the large TV and my stereo.
My errant Ex took nearly everything with him when he moved out a lifetime ago. From the washing machine to the microwave to the TV and video and the dinning table and bookshevles. Both the lawnmower and the strimmer and all the gardening equipment. I was left with a sofa, wardrobe and bed, because they were given to us by my brother and then the garden furniture that he “forgot” to take. I also got left the fridge because it was too big to fit into his house. So coming from that to having nice things around me again, things that I struggled and bought has made me want to cling on to them. In the houses I’ve seen so far much of what I’ve got won’t fit. How can I go back to having nothing? How is that possibly fair? What does the government want me to do?
I’m sitting here looking around my living and dining room and see my wonderful things. My dinning table and chairs is a 1970’s set of furniture, a table with a brown formica top, a long bench and two chairs. My neighbour gave it to me because she was downsizing her things. After a couple of weeks a friend and I went to Dunelm and bought new fabric before we reupholstered it. It was the first time I’d ever taken on something like that. Over the years I’ve collected cushions to go with it. I’m proud of how it looks. There is a deep shine to the table and the wood of the seats and bench have glowed with the care and attention I’ve lavished on it over the years. I always hoover the seat pad and this week I washed all the cushions to freshen it all up.
I couldn’t bear to part with it even though it’s a ‘thing’. An inanimate object. It’s MY inanimate object. It’s something I’ve given time too, taken care off, lavished with love. It represents my comeback from the blows that aforementioned Ex did, which were not just about the furniture he took but the emotional stuff too. Everything I’ve accumulated since those days I’ve bought new or second hand over the years and represent something important to me, a gaining back of my independence, a recovery from the emotional turmoil that sudden tearing away of the familiar caused, the wrench to see things I thought of “ours” being carried out of the house by the man I once trusted.
And so onward, to the decorative items I’ve collected over the years. Things that remind me of paces I’ve been and good times. Things that were given to me. Charity shop finds and small pretty things. My collection of candle holders, created because I love to fill the room with the soft glow of flickering candle light. The pretty glass vases because they give the room interesting shapes and add colour and hue. These are just things, but they are my things and when you’ve lost everything once it makes you clutch a bit tighter to the things you’ve got left.
So is my hoarding emotional? Do I cling on to things because they fulfil an emotional void in my life? I’m sure some will read this and say yes but when I see all my things gathered around me I just smile because it’s pretty. 🙂