Shifting house mainly a relocation of clutter and memories

19:46, Feb 09 2014

Moving house is commonly believed to be one of the most stressful life experiences one can have along with changing jobs, breaking up and the death of a loved one.Last time I moved some eight years ago it pretty well coincided with the death of my father, so it was with a much lighter heart that I gathered the cardboard boxes and the masking tape to begin moving a week ago.

I shouldn't have been so optimistic. Don't worry, I didn't lose anyone close to me. It's just that after eight years of peaceful existence in my three-bedroom townhouse, the act of deconstructing my domestic environment proved much slower and more emotionally confronting than I could possibly have imagined.

My first admission: I am a hoarder. If you look in voyeuristic horror at those reality TV shows where relatives try to find their aunts and uncles under piles of bric-a-brac and old newspapers, then you have some idea of what certain corners of my garage and spare room look like.

Now if I was a heartless automaton that wouldn't be an issue, I'd just hire a skip and biff anything I hadn't used or even thought about in the past eight years.But it's not that easy. The car fridge that never quite worked properly, but would be great if it did, might come in handy one day; as could the airbed with a hole in it and the set of plastic All Black miniatures from the 2007 Rugby World Cup that I collected at petrol stations in the expectation we would actually win that year.That was just the garage.

My study/library was even worse. Now I know that in this digital age, there really is no need to have books, or CDs, or photo albums, or anything besides a Kindle, a laptop and an iPhone. But I seem to have missed the boat on the revolution in information technology, and have clung on to all of the above.

I did try with the books and managed to whittle down the 15 boxes I had to just 13. Dan Brown no longer graces my literary collection, joining Wilbur Smith and Patricia Cornwell as authors whose works will go to new homes.But I couldn't bring myself to chuck my Tintin and Asterix collections, or my Shakespeare, or anything by Tom Wolfe or Hunter S Thompson, even though I know I will never read them again.
I didn't chuck my CDs either, which meant I couldn't get rid of my CD player and old stereo gear.
On the upside, I felt ruthless when it came to old computer printers (x3); computer monitors (x2) and the associated cables and power adaptors that have come with all the technology that has graced my desktop for the past decade.

I am pretty sure that plug-in mobile-phone chargers are actually a new species with the capability to breed. No less than seven obsolete plugs with jacks of various sizes turned up as I trolled through a selection of drawers and boxes.

Photos turned up everywhere as well, inside books, under those printers and down the back of sofas.

I'll keep most of them but boy, did they suck up time as I spent a few seconds on each one, having a stroll down memory lane as I remembered where and when they were taken.

Probably the most stressful room of all was my son's. He plumb refused to go through any of his old toys on the grounds that he wasn't tough enough to chuck out anything associated with his childhood, and it would be better if I made the hard calls.

In other words all the Lego, Thunderbirds, toy soldiers and dress-ups are now safely in storage in the new house so I can never be accused of discarding his most treasured mementoes.
I did turn up a few treasures, like the old family Bible, my great uncle's World War I service record and my old first XV cap from Nelson College.But truth be told I've probably just relocated all the stuff I didn't really need from the old place to the new one.

I've also managed to lose the remote for the TV, the power cord for my latest printer and the mouse for my computer in the process.


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