[title from The Cardigans - Sick and Tired]
I returned to 4th-year house in Universityland for the final time last week. I had to clear out the house so that we could give it back to the letting agent. The house had to be empty of our possessions and clean, and both emptying and cleaning took a lot of time and a lot of tea to get done. I can report that despite the huge numbers of cookies produced in our kitchen throughout the year, only one of them got dropped irretrievably behind the cooker. I can also report that fridges have little pots on the back of them. Any liquid mank collecting inside the fridge somehow makes its way into a mank-pot. Jo and I were left wondering whether emptying the mank-pot is a normal household task to be carried out periodically, or whether the mank-pot was expected to sit there gathering mank for the entire useful life of a fridge. Please send your suggestions on a postcard, with a stamped addressed envelope enclosed for a reply.
I was completely phased by the amount of stuff that turned up on my bedroom floor after my trip to 4th-year house. It turns out that I have a lot more stuff than fits in a room. So Uncle Val came to help tidy up, even if only to stop me going berserk in panic. I found it really helpful having someone else there. My instinct on finding something that doesn't have a 'home' yet is to leave it where it is and move on. But with someone else there, it's suddenly obvious that leaving most things just sitting on the floor doesn't really solve the problem I'm trying to solve. The actual solution (just to clear up any confusion) is to find a home for all your possessions or make a home for them if one doesn't already exist. In the end, I cleared out most of my drawers and cupboards, dispatched my kitchen things to the attic and my coin collection to the garage, and now everything fits. Hurrah!
Comfortingly, the laws of room-sorting were adhered to:
1) Some things were found that had been lost for years
2) Some things were lost that had been treasured for years
3) When dividing possessions into sensible categories to go into drawers, the amount of possessions in a single category is always slightly bigger than the drawer available
4) Some things that should be thrown out are retained for the next good clear-out in five years' time, even though they could probably go now. And you know exactly which ones they are and STILL won't throw them out
5) One item just crops up again and again. For me, it was photos. I had photos from different holidays over the last decade and it seems I had spread them evenly through all the drawer and cupboard space available. Now they have their own drawer. I am proud of my Organisation Skills
6) Some things appear that have never been in your room before. Where that pair of sunglasses appeared from I shall never know
7) You have more juggling balls, silly hats and T-shirts than you thought
8) There is something there that recalls ambitious plans that never came to fruition. This happened so often in the sorting procedure that it's not worth boring you with all the sordid details
9) It looks worse before it looks better
10) Having decided which drawers are for which objects, something extra-large turns up and spoils everything. And I don't mean Chris Moyles. I'm thinking of that logic puzzle that wants to be a Rubik's cube but just isn't good (or cubic) enough to manage it. It didn't fit in the drawer that was intended for 'games, puzzles and novelties' and destroyed the whole system
11) You give up at the end and have a 'random stuff' drawer just to clear the mess