Stuff is just stuff…


Bearing in mind that since the late nineteen-fifties I’ve moved from the Northern to the Southern Hemispheres and back four times so far, I’ve learnt how not to become attached to stuff. Especially the kind you can always replace at your new destination.


Unlike myself, most people aspire to owning their own homes raising a family and acquiring life’s bric-a-brac along the way. Look in most garages, garden sheds and in the loft and you will be confronted with a pyromaniacs dream. Unwanted sofas, that sneaked photo of prim and proper aunt Maud when she wasn’t looking, showing her Edwardian style knickers tucked into the back of her cotton summer dress at the beach, failed do-it-yourself projects, dust laden cobwebs, wasp or hornet nests, pieces of string and dozens of labelled boxes, all sharing the same space as wiring, exposed here or there thanks to mice gnawing on the insulation, plumbing, rusty broken gardening tools, broken bicycles that needed to be fixed or thrown away twenty years ago, and that absolutely indispensable pile of spares from your first motorcar before you were married, long since disposed of at the scrap yard. We all do it, we’re loath to give or throw away anything either for its sentimental value, or simply because it may be needed again in the future.

Yeh right, pull the other one. It’s got bells on it!

When you move house – many do so at least eight times in their lifetime, instead of being merciless by throwing the stored lifetimes detritus into a skip or getting rid of it at a junk shop or car boot sale, we take it with us to our next abode. Why hang on to the stuff? I’ll tell you why, because of familiarity and fond memories! Childhood memories of happier days, family holidays, ideas that were brilliant at the time, embarrassing gifts given by friends and family for birthdays and Christmas, and impulse buying, all contribute to the obligatory pile of junk that doubles the weight of your home on the fragile surface of our planet.

Each time you move you tell yourself that you’re going to have a good clearout and what happens, you end up having heated arguments over what can be classed as junk and what can’t. In the end to preserve your marriage and your sanity, the whole shooting match winds up in the moving truck stacked around your precious items, on its way to its new home.

Why put yourself through all that agony? What possible good can come from shifting rubbish and a potential fire hazard from one house to another?

Go on, be brave. Pick up that pair of brightly coloured, lovingly hand knitted bed socks of differing sizes from grandma, and throw them away! There that didn’t hurt too much did it? I’m watching you, don’t you dare try and retrieve them out of the garbage bag, put them back at once!

Of course if you really want to stand out from the crowd you can always do what I’ve always done and leave half of what you own behind each time you move on, but then again I’m much braver than you are. When I move, I don’t move to another part of the county or country, I move to another country entirely!

Now I wonder where I put my nineteen-seventies voice activated tape recorder; I saw it five years ago. Ah there it is, in that box marked ‘might come in handy someday’…



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