Saturday, 10 February 2007


I'm still moving furniture and boxes around the house for our ever-impending move upstairs. Today I've devoted the entire day to box-moving and box-sorting, and it takes a very long time.

First I get the boxes out of the bedroom cupboard and look at them, arrayed like visible blocks of years, stacked up on the floor. I choose one box. It's heavy-duty cardboard, squat, and covered in dust. Gingerly, I open the flaps. There's the first layer. A Christmas card from 1992 with a twee picture of a cottage draped in snow. I'm not throwing it away. It has my mother's handwriting in, and she's dead. I put it to one side on the bed, in the 'keep' pile. I don't know why I'm keeping it, either.

In the next layer down there's a round wicker basket, holding tangled knick knacks of fake gold and silver jewellery that I liked to think looked pretty fashionable in 1984. The basket dates from 1972. Ang gave it me for a birthday present. It had a make-your-own-bracelet kit inside. I don't know what happened to the lid.

I poke about some of the jewellery with a finger. I could never wear any of this stuff. Three items go immediately in the 'throw away' pile; a single earring, a fuse, and a nail. Then out of the basket I take two bracelets and a bizarre beaded necklace with wooden spikes along it and make a new pile: the 'dressing up' pile. One silver and blue necklace in the basket makes me think of pretty girls and a suntanned slender neck, so I put it in the 'ebay' pile. Along with a silver necklace bought by a boyfriend, long gone, who probably now has 2.4 children and lives in Surrey with a fragrant wife. Then I take that one out of the 'ebay' pile and put it in the 'keep' pile, along with a silver necklace from my 18th birthday. The clasp's broken, and one day I'll get it mended.

Next into the 'keep' pile goes a pair of earrings I wore once, to the opera with Dig, before we were married and these things were possible. As does a huge gold-effect bracelet with knobbly bits on that I bought at a craft fair, and a beautiful necklace given by a friend. I don't wear it much because it's too beautiful. Last in the 'keep' pile is a rosebud locket, given to me when I was aged 8, and a bridesmaid. I've saved it so long now, it seems a shame to throw it away, although no-one but an eight-year old could wear it.

Once accumulated, all the jumble of 'keep' items go back in the wicker basket without a lid. There doesn't seem to much in the 'dressing up', 'ebay', or 'throw away' pile, so I promise myself I'll come back and reconsider the contents of the wicker basket, at some later date.

The next layer down is easier. There's a jam jar with a masonary nail in it. That goes immediately in the 'keep' pile. And I take out the nail from the 'throw away' pile and put that in the jam jar too. Along with the fuse. I'm always looking for nails, and a jam jar seems a very sensible place to keep them. Then there's a silk hat, shaped like a cat, bought as a souvenir from China, and Squirrel's first ballet shoes. Both have to go into the 'keep' pile.

At the bottom of the box there's some curtain hooks. These might come in handy, so I leave them there. And on top of them I place the jam jar with the nails and the fuse, the cat hat souvenir from China, Squirrel's first ballet shoes, the wicker basket without a lid holding the tangle of jewellery and, finally, the Christmas card. Then I close the flaps again. As I'm doing it, I'm thinking 'I must sort out these boxes so everything's in the right place.' Then, just for now, I put the squat box back in the cupboard as the place I've designated to keep sorted-out boxes.

Then I have a count-up. It's taken forty-five minutes to sort out that box and I have another six to go. This box-sorting takes a long time.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I have taken all afternoon to turn three boxes of fabric/embroidery thread/ felting stuff into two boxes! I'm very pleased with myself.