For a few months now, my dad has been emptying the house cellar and garage, and in the process, handing back to my brother and I a copious number of boxes filled with our old junk.
Now, I have a reasonably large flat for a person living alone, but a quite tiny cellar. When I moved in, I shoved a whole bunch of furniture and binders and boxes and ski boots into my dark 1m by 2m cellar. During the last five years, I’ve added more stuff (some balancing feat, I should have taken photographs!) but barely removed anything.
So, you can imagine that the prospect of finding the space for all the stuff that was still at my dad’s was not a very pleasant prospect.
However, my regular visits to my dad’s place have left me increasingly envious, particularly as I witnessed the extra space he was gaining and the transformations in the house.
Wednesday night, I came back home from the house with a really bad itch to start emptying my cellar and just throw away heaps of junk that had been in there for years. Unfortunately, 11pm is not the right time to start doing this kind of thing, particularly in Switzerland, and particularly in a building occupied by old ladies (not only, but there are a few of them and they like their peace and quiet — I do too, for that matter).
On Thursday, I unexpectedly found myself with a free morning I hadn’t planned with. Great! I started by taking all my electronic junk (old motherboards, sound cards dated 1999, partly-working CD/cassette player, dead DVD player…) to La Bonne Combine, a local association which gather spare parts and broken stuff, fix what can be fixed to sell it, and recycle the rest. That suddenly freed a huge amount of space in my living-room book-case.
Then I moved on to the cellar. More stuff for La Bonne Combine. A pile of things for Salvation Army. Furniture for Salvation Army. Things for the bin, like old broken compasses, rubbers, tubes of glue and my collection of fountain-pen cartridge beads, all dating something like 20 years back. Gone.
The feeling is great. I have an almost empty cellar. I’m going to put together a set of shelves that have been sleeping in it for five years to have some usable space in there. There are still things to process, of course: heaps of binders with maths classes from 1989, old memorabilia to sort through, all my university stuff, my teaching things, clothes (oh God, clothes!), and boxes of Oh-My-Got-What-Am-I-Going-To-Do-With-This living under my now too-big desk.
I’m starting to feel like reorganising my office/living-room too, see. Maybe after nearly seven years here it’s time I really settled down, finished moving in, got rid of the boxes, and decorated the flat.
Throwing stuff out sure feels good, and it seems like I’ve reached a point when I’m capable of doing it. Certainly, quite certainly, there are things of the past I’m ready to let go of now.