Moving tales #4

Where did I go wrong? We have so many possessions! With the odd exception for things not yet invented 25 years ago, I don’t believe there was anything I wanted for back then.

Which makes me wonder why we ended up with more than twice the belongings of the early years. We still don’t actually have that much furniture, and a lot of what we do have is inherited, or re-used/upcycled, or maybe from that large furniture shop we all know.

It was a lot harder shopping at IKEA before 1987. Not only do we have a vintage IKEA kitchen; it was imported all the way from Småland, with personal service (yes, indeed) from Jean. (He was probably named for the creep in Miss Julie.)

There was no freegle then, so we advertised everything we wanted to get rid of in Loot. The old kitchen ended up in four new homes (and all I can – still – think of is the man who had not even provided his poor wife with a cupboard in which to keep her pots and pans, for 35 years, while she gave birth to and fed five children), and I seem to recall the living room carpet went to warm the feet of the vicar in a draughty hillside vicarage. No money for anything new.

We even brought with us the furniture left behind by the vendors of our previous house, and most of it lived here for a good many years. We no longer have the Resident IT Consultant’s student pad bed; the one with the loose slats. But we have hung on to the armchairs he bought secondhand in Oxford. When he was teething, Son found the armrests perfect for some quiet gnawing. That, and the third kitchen drawer.

The Grandmother’s (and Grandfather’s) sofa and armchair, bought when they were newlyweds are here. They arrived by train, all by themselves. Favourite Aunt’s sofa and armchair also live with us. My desk is from my first – real – flat (and let me tell you, that was a long time ago), and has been joined by an identical one formerly belonging to the Retired Children’s Librarian. Vintage IKEA.

I could go on. Won’t, though.

But the main problem is not the furniture. It’s what’s stored in cupboards and on shelves. Just because you can put something away, doesn’t mean you should.

I’m stupid enough to believe that in the next place I won’t.

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6 responses to “Moving tales #4

  1. It’s only when we move that we realize that we are all hoarders in the making. Good luck.

  2. I completely sympathise with you, Ann. We have moved six times in the last eight years (five of which were during a two year period). Each time, we rid ourselves of hoarded junk. And yet, my too small new house is still rammed with inherited furniture I hate but couldn’t say no to; crammed with photos, nick nacks and second hand china. The garage is stacked to the rafters with the overspill. But you know, you can’t get rid of it because you never know when that really ugly vase that a neighbour gave you might come in handy.

  3. Oh Marnie, I was going to ask you over to see if you could relieve me of a few items…
    I wouldn’t hang on to things I hate. If I can’t say no, I take and then dispose of. Problem is I love what I have. ‘Luckily’ my problem knee now means I can’t/daren’t sit in certain armchairs, so they can more easily be pruned.

    Seana, when we’ve installed ourselves in our next, perfect, minimal, uncluttered new existence I shall insist on you coming over to admire it. And I hope that’s more of a real invitation than it sounds like, even as you tell yourself that we will never discard quite that successfully.

    • My cunning plan, Ann, is to thin the things I dislike and reclutter my home with things I actively like or need. Hoarding is not something you can stop by going cold turkey.

  4. Everybody has a tale to tell, haven’t they! It’s really hard to de-clutter. We moved from a four-bedroom (well, two bedrooms and two box-rooms) terraced house with little storage, where we brought up three kids, to a large Welsh farmhouse with — four bedrooms and no kids. We’ve added another room which doubles as a guest bedroom. And there are only two of us.

    Oh, and did I mention the large loft? The mobile home? The former cattle shed/barn? The summer house we’re building? We keep saying we’re ‘adding value’ to the house, ready for the time we have to move, but we all know that’s a feeble excuse. And where has all that extra clutter come from? Where’s is going to go?

  5. I’m worried now. What happened to the two children?

    I used to look enviously at neighbour’s loft conversion, until I realised that an extra floor with an extra bathroom meant even more cleaning. Very off-putting.

    The Resident IT Consultant told me only yesterday that we definitely must have a small garden (as opposed to an even larger one than currently).

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