Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Domestic demons

I once had a second-hand fridge/freezer that become my own personal demon. The freezer constantly froze up and in time it I simply stopped using it. It got to the stage where I was scared to open it and face the ice ogre inside.

The frozen food so lovingly selected at Marks & Sparks was trapped in a state of suspended animation. And, as I was on the second floor of an old Victorian house with wooden floors, I couldn’t defrost for fear of flooding the loopy old dear downstairs (Rita - she of the ochre-stained net curtains and flower pot hats).

In the end, I had to chuck the entire thing away, ice monster and entrapped frozen peas intact. And now, many years later, I suspect it may have taken flesh and still be lurking somewhere around a Brighton landfill (strange things do tend to happen south of the Downs, you know).

My ice ogre was a classic example of the domestic demons we all try to ignore. Those chores you keep putting off until eventually, there is no turning back – it’s just too late to put it right.

Our spare room has similar potential, despite my periodic attempts to sort it out once and for all.

I am not by nature a tidy person. But I do try. And I have made some progress over the years. In the past couple of months, our home has become noticeably more organised thanks to repeated visits to IKEA and hours deciphering incomprehensible flat pack instructions. And now, I can proudly announce that after only ten years in our apartment, some of the better photos taken on my stomps around the neighbourhood now grace our walls - and we EVEN have flowers in our balcony planters instead of random crap.

Unfortunately, the spare room has remained stubbornly immune to this fresh wave of household efficiency sweeping through our lives. It has long been a general dumping ground and it seems it has gotten used to that role in life. It was originally intended as an office with a large desk, our PC and a wall’s worth of bookcases. But, it evolved in an entirely different way. The computer committed a cyber version of hari-kiri a couple of years back when replaced by a handy laptop, and it is waiting - in a sulk - to be taken for recycling. The desk, bookcases and every spare inch of floor have gradually filled up with teetering piles of old suitcases, newspapers, tools, carrier bags and all manner of things unknown and unmentionable.

It got to the stage where just a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye as I passed on my way to the loo sent me into a panic, so I kept closing the door (hoping that if I ignored it long enough, it would go away). At one stage, I had even forgotten what the floor looked like.

My Beloved Other Half is classic Pack Rat. He cannot bring himself to throw away the Sunday papers until he has gone through every single ad supplement and flyer, and rubber bands, bits of string, old paper bags, paper clips and probably even ancient Greek chewing gum all head for the spare room for possible future use. Hence the clutter.

Now, thanks to a recent flurry of activity, can now see the floor again - or at least part of it. And there’s a lot more of it than I remembered.

Getting rid of clutter in your home is recommended by feng shui, as it symbolises the clutter in your mind and/or life blocking the flow of clear thought and positive energy. Or something like that. I have to admit, getting rid of it DID feel good, but I suspect than is more due to a smug feeling of achievement than anything on a higher astral plane.

But we are not out of the woods yet. The next stage involves going through everything in or on the desk and bookcases, chucking out what is surplus to requirements and arranging what we keep nicely and neatly. And keeping it that way.

I'll let you know some time in 2012 if we ever get there...

1 comment:

  1. I have a cupboard in the kitchen which contains: two large bags of plastic bottles, one bag of glass jam jars, one of TetraPaks and one of plastic containers. There's also the cat's toys, a bag of washing that was damaged when the fridge fell on it in storage, a Christmas tree, three tins of paint, the hoover, the cat box, various painting accessories (rollers, dust sheets etc), a broom and a mop. It sounds organised.

    It isn't.

    It's piled in there in a style so haphazard and so architecturally unsound that opening the door is an exercise in faith.

    I try not to open the door too often!