After weeks in lockdown I was on a mission. With our entire living floor now covered with Harvey’s train tracks, electric cars and an inflatable mattress, we had admitted defeat in terms of attempting any more Joe Wicks workouts. Missing our daily walks and jogs in nearby Bushy Park, I made the decision to install a treadmill. On reflection, I realise it was a desperate bid to cling on to whatever remained of my sanity which, admittedly, at that point, wasn’t much.
Clearly everyone in the UK had the same idea as there wasn’t a treadmill to be found for love nor money. But, just when I had given up all hope, I received a text alert. There was a reasonably priced treadmill back in stock and it had my name on it. Eureka! Two days later it was delivered by a couple of strapping guys who ordinarily would have set the whole thing up for us. However, with social distancing regulations firmly in place, and our frantic hand written warnings not to approach our front door, it was left to my poor husband to single handedly drag the entire treadmill, together with packaging, from our front door to back.
Meanwhile, I hung out of an upstairs window yelling annoying instructions and safety alerts which he pretended not to hear. Besides almost breaking his back, Charlie looked pretty fed up, and I knew why. This latest delivery was just more hard evidence that our decluttering plans and downsizing dreams had once again been put on hold. In fact rather than getting rid of “stuff” as he had hoped, we were now clearly moving more stuff in.
Being a fan of the Gandhi school of interior design, my husband was understandably looking somewhat defeated. Any hopes he might have been harbouring of dying with less than ten possessions were not looking hopeful at this point. In my defence, virtually none of the “overflow” belongs to me. My kids officially moved out years ago but unfortunately their things have not. Our cupboards are full of their possessions, all of which are apparently “far too precious to throw away” but not precious enough to make the cut into their own homes. Open a wardrobe door and you will be knocked out by a set of golf clubs or a wedding gown depending on which room you are in. Then of course there’s my grandson’s baby equipment. All carefully stashed into every remaining square inch of our once spacious home, awaiting baby number two. You will not believe the amount of equipment supposedly required to properly care for a newborn these days.
The truth was, we had reached a point where it seemed our storage situation couldn’t possibly get any worse… but then it did. When my mum moved in, she mentioned she’d like to bring a “few bits and bobs” which turned out to be chests of drawers, bedside tables, arm chairs, framed family photos dating back to the forties and last but by no means least, dad in his urn. At one point last year there had been a three month window when I managed to turn my children’s former play room-cum-teenage TV room into a rather lovely second lounge/writing room for Charlie. That particular space is now jammed with Harvey’s “equipment”. Tool Benches, Little Tike cars, Ball Pits and so on… you get the picture. He is three. I can only imagine what lies ahead. All of his recent birthday gifts which couldn’t fit into my daughter’s house (90 per cent of them) have been permanently housed here, including some potentially hip-breaking bath toys.
With my treadmill now added to the mix, Charlie finally admitted defeat and transferred to our fourth bedroom, in an attempt to find some peace. It’s small but functional, that was of course until the kids moved in again. Now, he and his laptop are somewhat awkwardly wedged into position by a stack of storage boxes jammed with possessions belonging to other people! He really does have the patience of a saint.
At one point there was talk of Catherine installing her Peloton bike. I could see beads of sweat forming on my husband’s forehead at the thought, so suggested it would be far too heavy to move and should stay put. You have to draw the line somewhere. There’s no doubt about it… our three story home is jammed to the rafters!
Screwing the last bolt into my treadmill, Charlie sighed, “we just need to stop bringing stuff into the house.” Naturally I agreed and assured him that this was “it” in terms of “stuff” but then we heard a knock on the door and Catherine said, “That will be my Amazon delivery.”
In all honesty, my husband is not alone in his need to declutter. Along with my sixtieth birthday came an overwhelming desire to create some space. Not just in our home but in my mind and heart too. It actually reached a point where I was watching Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank every week just in case someone had invented a decluttering device. Actually, thinking about it ….. I wonder if they sell them on Amazon? Hmmm….
This is sixty - the real story!
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