The weather has just begun to warm up, the daffodils and forsythia have just about flowered (although they seem very late this year) and I have just begun a spring clear out. This is a prelude to the spring clean. And for which, there is a reason.
For years, hubby and I moved about every six months. We got to live in some really interesting houses. I’ll always have very fond memories of the one from which I could walk to the shops, cinema and theatre. It was early Victorian and had initials scratched onto the old glass in an upper floor window. I loved that house, even though it was freezing cold and everything you wanted was at least three floors away!
I never used to gather clutter!
The upshot of having to move so often was a) I became an expert packer and unpacker, b) the garage was always full of flattened packing boxes in case of another move, c) I was on intimate terms with a local removals firm. They’ve since moved to far bigger premises and have smart new vans, which I swear were financed solely on the profits made from us! Most importantly, d) we never gathered any clutter. We didn’t even have one of those ‘messy drawers’ where everything you don’t know where else to put ends up.
Dear Reader, we are now facing another house move but this time it’s the first for fifteen years. Can you imagine the stuff we’ve accumulated? What’s worse, the current house is quite roomy, which means we’ve never felt under pressure to throw stuff out. For that, read too lazy.
So, when feeling in the mood – you have to be in the mood for a good de-clutter, don’t you – I’ve been tackling rooms a bit at a time.
SEVEN bottles of unopened perfume!
Today, I’ve been sorting a few drawers in the bedroom. I’ve discovered, amongst other things, seven bottles of perfume. Seven! All unopened. All unwanted presents. Maybe people can’t think what to buy me? Or worse, maybe I’m really smelly?
Along with the dilemma of what to do with all this stuff – throwing it out, giving to charity or reselling always seems so easy when you see them do it on the telly – there’s the horror of just how much an excessive society we live in. I really don’t need all this stuff!
So I am determined to spring clean and sell some items
Even so, I was quite happy toodling along in my spring de-clutter and feeling quite smug when hubby dropped the bombshell; we have to downsize.
This is fine except, along with all the cluttery stuff in drawers and cupboards, we have to decide what furniture we want to keep. That’s okay too, I can cope with selling my lovely oak dining table and I was never all that fond of the huge squashy sofas we bought thinking they looked comfortable.
The real deal-breaker is - I can’t get rid of my books!
One other obsession which comes with moving house, along with throwing out everything which doesn’t move (hubby and the dogs have been looking decidedly nervous) is an addiction to property websites. With half an eye on the television (unless it’s Poldark – for some reason, that gets my full attention!) I scroll through Rightmove, Zoopla and the like, searching for that elusive, perfect home. There are two things I’ve noticed: a) the house you really want is the one you can’t afford, and b) no one seems to have any books or bookshelves in their home.
A house HAS to have books - agree?
Okay, along with the butcher’s block and the butler sink, there might be a Jamie Oliver cookbook lurking in the kitchen but that’s about it. Have the vendors (getting into the estate agent lingo now, look) tidied everything away? Or worse, were there no books to hide in the first place?
I know a lot of you are now shouting at me, saying folk have e-readers and iPads so there’s no need for actual books. They only make the place untidy and gather dust anyway.
I beg to disagree. How can I de-clutter the battered copy of Hamlet I studied for two whole years, complete with notes written by my eighteen-year-old self? The art book given to me by a boyfriend? My beloved Palgrave’s Golden Treasury? My Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable? All those paperbacks I keep meaning to get round to reading? What do I do with the tatty copy of The Girl’s Own Paper Annual dated 1890, which once belonged to my great-grandmother?
All these books represent memories. Some happy, some poignant but all treasured
Don’t get me wrong, I love my e-reader and find it very convenient but I love books more. For me, a house only becomes a home with a wall or two full of books. Real ones, with pages and a musty smell and everything. So, when I spotted a new house to the market, in the town we’d like to live in, I jumped for joy. Even better, the sitting room had a whole wall full of wonderful bookshelves. And – they contained books! I could happily live in a house once lived in by another book lover.
My perfect new home. Then I scrolled down and saw the price. Well, they say there’s always a compromise when buying a house ...
When not moving house, Georgia Hill writes rom-coms and historical fiction. Find her at: