As I mentioned in my previous blog post we moved house recently. This means I’ve spent a lot of time over the last fortnight unpacking.
I hate unpacking.
Part of the problem is Wolf and I are ‘let’s keep this just in case’ kind of people. Not quite hoarders, I don’t think, but certainly getting there.
Before moving to this house we lived with my parents for almost two years (it was never meant to be that long but…housing market…need I say more?) and a lot of our stuff was packed away in their garage for that entire time.
Unpacking a mix of stuff I used regularly and things I haven’t seen for two years made me realise some things.
- We own a lot of envelopes.
Like, way more envelopes than normal people would ever have use for. In fact, if anyone reading this ever needs an envelope: don’t go and buy a pack because I have more than enough to go round. I imagine the problem here is that we’ve never had a place for envelopes because we don’t use them often enough. So, every time we need an envelope we buy a new pack of envelopes. That adds up considerably over the years.
- We own a lot of books.
Okay, so this probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows us but we have a lot of Goram books. I knew we had quite a lot of books but every other box is full of books. I’m trying to unpack boxes and it’s just: ‘Books, envelopes, books, clay models I made in primary school, books, more envelopes, more books!’ And, as I found out trying to carry home the recommended reading list from my first year of doing and English Literature degree (before I bought everything online), books are heavy.
Wolf – who had to carry all the boxes of books upstairs – thinks we should buy books for the Kindle from now on. Which, I have to say, I’m totally on board with (after all, it’s much easier to actually read books on the Kindle and not try to awkwardly keep a book open if you’re eating whilst reading etc.)…as long as we also buy all the physical books, too, so I can leaf through them to find a quote I’m after and look at them admiringly on their shelves and smell them and…what do you mean that defeats the entire point?
- ‘Paperwork’ can mean almost anything.
Quite a few boxes have ‘paperwork’ written on the side as part of the contents (you know: Hair straighteners, Envelopes, Paperwork). It seems to be quite a vague term, though, and one I’ve used to cover anything from bank statements and letters about pet insurance to instructions for a toaster that broke three years ago or a plan for an essay on whether Mary Wollstonecraft’s novels can be viewed as works in their own right or merely as extensions of her work as a whole from my final year at Uni.
I don’t think there are enough sections in the filing cabinet to file away all the ‘paperwork’ I need to sort through. When I set up all the sections in it I didn’t think to include ‘unidentifiable drawings of trains by Tyger’ or ’12 years of ‘Give Blood’ letters’ or ‘used envelopes with phone numbers written on them from when I was on the phone and needed a scrap of paper’ dividers.
- I keep a lot of things for ‘sentimental’ reasons…and then forget.
In many ways I’m not a very sentimental person. I don’t really keep cards (though, I appreciate the thought)…or send them myself. actually. I’m not good at remembering anniversaries of good or bad occasions. I don’t write heartfelt messages to people as my status updates on Facebook.
Having sorted through many boxes of my own junk, though, I’ve realised I have a tendency to keep bizarre objects for sentimental reasons, which might not be so bad but I can’t even remember the sentimentality behind some of the objects.
I know the piece of ‘gold’ coloured plastic came from a bumble bee ring and it broke when I was with my cousin once so we each took a bit of it as some bizarre ironic parody of a friendship bracelet. I doubt he still has his half as a 30 year old man…I think I’ll chuck it.
However, I’m not so sure why the green, plastic lollipop stick has sentimental value…though I know it did at one point. I guess I’ll chuck it, too. I also can’t remember what’s important about the three rusty washers on a piece of string but I know there was a reason I kept them…chuck, I know.
- I can’t not alphabetise.
I am messy and disorganised in many ways. However, I secretly love to arrange and sort things. Like egg boxes. I love the cartons of 15 because it doesn’t matter how many eggs are left in the box, you can always arrange them so they form a symmetrical pattern. And I do. Every time. Regardless of whether the previous person to have eggs left them in chaos.
I’m like a reverse Monica (Friends references are still hip, right?). Rather than having an immaculate home with one horrifically messy cupboard, I’m generally messy but with a few little areas of order and satisfying neatness. Before we moved to my parents’ I had all our books, CDs and DVDs arranged and alphabetised.
Actually, I *ahem*…also…umm…alphabetised our herbs and spices…but I admit that might have been taking it too far.
We have too many of all the things mentioned above (except herbs and spices) and our shelves are overflowing somewhat so I thought I when unpacking all the DVDs, at least, instead of lining them up neatly in alphabetical order, I’d just stack them like my mum does and so save space. But I couldn’t bring myself to stack them any old way. How would we ever find a DVD?? I can’t do it. I can’t live in a world where it’s okay to have Die Hard on top of Shaun of the Dead or Amelie under The Rocky Horror Picture Show (unless you have a very, very small DVD collection consisting of just those two DVDs…which would be an odd choice). So, even with them stacked I alphabetised them. I couldn’t not.
So, there you go. Unpacking hasn’t been entirely bad; I’ve gleaned these deep and meaningful things about myself as a person in the process. Like…I have too many envelopes. Really deep and meaningful.