A modern necessity: clearing out the old stuff to make space for all the new stuff
Published 27/08/2014 | 02:30
For various domestic reasons, I've been 'doing a job' on my house - going through one of those periodic bouts of throwing things out that arise as an inevitable side-effect of modern living.
The operation has involved Getting A Skip, which always strikes me as just one step short of ordering a casket. I am, after all, the puppy who stops and looks into other people's skips, mystified by the things people nowadays throw out. I'm always coming upon things in skips that strike me as almost fitting my own needs - never quite, I notice - and taking them home. These, naturally, are the first things to go into my own skip when it arrives.
I wouldn't call myself a hoarder, but I have difficulty getting rid of things: old newspapers, letters, analysis documents sent by all kinds of lobby groups and activists, cheap shirts and T-shirts that I just couldn't resist, suits I bought when I was going through a phase of thinking that 'a man of my age' shouldn't be wearing jeans. My problem is not so much fully blown materialism as that I'm useless at identifying things I'm not going to need anymore. At what point in the life of a suit does it qualify for a free transfer to Enable Ireland? Of what, precisely, does a record collection nowadays consist? Mine includes CDs, vinyl and cassettes, and I regard all three as possessing an entitlement to equality. It is true that - for the moment - I don't own a cassette player, but you never know when you'll walk into Oxfam and find a barely used three-in-one snoozing between the books and the bric-a-brac.