2005-04-04

Burning my past

We're having building work done, starting tomorrow: the conversion of some shed-type things at the back of the house into a childrens living room. The planning has been going on for ages; its something of a shock for it to finally start, and so soon. And so I've spent today trying to clear the outhouse where we kept four bikes, various garden tools, endless plant pots and reams of vague junk that might be useful one day. And then the inhouse room I used as a carpentry "workshop", with even more immemorial pots, tins, cartons and boxes full of "useful" things. Some of them I've sorted carefully and put into the loft (to throw away next year, ha ha), others into the shed I built at the bottom of the garden, lots of junk wood onto a big bonfire, some given away to a friend with a real fire; and for some stuff I've bitten the bullet and binned it. For example, a pile of various electrical cables I pulled from a skip at the back of the CAD centre 5 years ago... oh dear.

The obvious motto, of course, is don't accumulate junk. But its soooooo tempting. Most of the broken-but-fixable things I binned have a history and I can remember it; I find it hard to sever ties with the past. The pencil box I made in woodwork at school, that lost its lid years ago. Gone. A tin of screws and nuts and stuff I inherited from my grandfather. Gone.

I got more ruthless as I went along, of course: being time-limited is the only way, or I would still be agonising over things. But will I learn this lesson and start applying it to the piles of stuff still in the house...?

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