If you are anything like me, after living anywhere for even a negligible amount of time, the amount of stuff that accumulates can be overwhelming. Not only is my house full of ephemera (or tatt my husband calls it), it also houses some useful stuff that is never going to be of use to me.
I have a wardrobe full of clothes that I will “slim back into” (yeah right!) and formal dresses, which are just too expensive to throw away (despite not being in fashion since the early 1990’s). I have the obligatory exercise bike which, after discovering I didn’t fit into any of said clothes, I ordered with the best intentions along with a bucket-load of free supplements from the internet. Both the bike and the supplements remain untouched, except for the clothes I hang off the handlebars.
Furniture, books, bags of cables, jewelry that either, I do not actually like, or never wear (because I never wear jewelry), shoes, and the twenty-five coats I definitely need, all clamor to take up precious space in my abode.
Latin text books jostle with old board games and that statue of a slightly disgruntled dog that Aunt Emma gave to me, that I secretly hate. I hadn’t seen my cat, husband, or toddler for a fortnight and was pretty sure they hadn’t gone to the pub. So, the other day I finally decided that enough was enough.
One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure. I didn’t just want to take everything to the dump, as this seemed like a horrible waste and an admission of my own poor buying choices. It wasn’t that the stuff was bad, but it just wasn’t being used. I wanted my stuff to be reused, re-loved and in an ideal world actually help someone.
So, one cold and frosty morning, I fished out my phone (hidden by a collection of antique plates) and rang my local charity shop (it was a proper local one in this instance, supporting a nearby hospice, rather than some far-off mass-market affair, where you barely know where the money goes to). I paid for a man and his van and delivered said valuable assets to the shop. In exchange I had a calming, enriching space in my house, a happy husband and a slightly less happy cat whose “hard won” collection of socks under the sofa had also been purged in the process.
The lovely ladies running the shop, were delighted and apparently as they later told me when I saw one of them, chaperoning their effervescent grandchild, at a school fete, my stuff had managed to raise quite a sum.
Pleased with my success and charitable endeavors, I immediately went out and went shopping to celebrate. After all my house was looking a bit bare.
The old phrase is true, charity really does begin at home.