Regular readers will know I live in a sprawling Victorian rectory designed by Edmund Blacket, architect of Sydney University, St Andrew’s Cathedral, and our local church St Mark’s, Darling Point (among many other impressively beautiful public buildings in Sydney).
It’s a comfortable, enveloping house that comes alive when it’s filled with people, and we’ve tried to do this as much as possible over the last eleven years.
With dinner parties, afternoon teas, garden parties, handcraft groups, Bible study groups, Marriage Preparation courses and various other church functions our home has seen a steady stream of visitors over the years, from the Governor of New South Wales to our own children and grandchildren.
With so much space, we haven’t just filled the house with people. Oh no. Of course I had to fill those cupboards, didn’t I? And there’s always been room to fit more furniture in all those spare corners.
With the departure of my darling man, the steady de-cluttering I had started in preparation for retirement one day in the future has suddenly ramped up several notches, and I find myself in serious downsizing mode.
I’ll keep it real and tell you I’m all over the place like a March fly. I have no plan of attack, and while I’m cleaning out a cupboard in one room I’m all the while stressing about the cupboard in another room that needs my attention. Progress is slow, but with the help of my family and the ToDo app on my iPhone I’m gradually becoming more focused, and a little more ruthless in banishing the clutter.
This week was the first Council clean-up in our area for the year, a great chance to get rid of unwanted furniture, broken electrical goods and other useless items that I’ve kept ‘just in case’. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who has these.
What was I thinking keeping two (!!!) pairs of barely used wooden crutches for nine years, for goodness sake.
While we were still bringing out our rubbish the scavengers wasted no time moving in beside us, sifting through and setting aside their ‘treasures’ with a complete lack of embarrassment.
This was the rubbish pile today, collection day, once it had been picked through and rained on for two days. What a mess!
My broken wooden bath mat must have had some mysterious allure because it had gone, as had a soggy piece of carpet, a deflated wading pool, a well-used artificial Christmas tree and other equally useless pieces of debris.
In their place had appeared a white cupboard sporting a fluoro orange painted front (a decorating experiment gone horribly wrong) and a green leather desk top.
And what kind of people, in their frenzy to pick through my rubbish, had no qualms about scattering it far and wide across the verge?
Personally I’m on the lookout for two one-legged men. Those crutches were nowhere to be seen today.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of recycling and have been known to (surreptitiously) pick up the odd item from someone’s pile over the years, usually putting it out on mine a few years later! It just hugely amuses me how unembarrassed these folk can be. The only part I truly dislike is the resulting mess. Fortunately the council men take it in their stride and have never refused to take it all, leaving the verge pristine again .