For much of my life I was a rather slovenly creature. Many were the times in my youth that I fought a battle of words with my mother over my "right" to have a bedroom that looked as though someone had carried 15 washing baskets into the room and dumped the contents on the floor.
I'm not sure when it happened, but as I've got older my tolerance for this level of chaos has dropped significantly and though there's always one corner of my bedroom that acts as a "floor-drobe", for the most part I actually prefer to be able to see the carpet. So I think it's safe to say that I'm only a few more grey hairs and some cat figurines away from becoming my mother.
Though I've long since accepted this as my fate, I am still genuinely quizzical about how it happened.
Take for instance, spring cleaning, which I have never really thought of as a "thing". Much like the drinking of eggnog and celebration of Thanksgiving, I had consigned "spring cleaning" to the "things that people on American sitcoms do" list of irrelevancies. People don't actually start clearing out their attics (American sitcom houses have these) in spring, do they?
And then at the weekend I found myself in the hinterland, aka the spare room, thinking "I haven't opened that box since we moved in - what the hell's in there anyway?"
Before you know it I was discarding mostly empty work diaries from 2004 and 2005 and wondering what to do with a couple of empty photo albums. I then reorganised the bookshelf, weeding some books that I'd enjoyed but would probably never read again, and...oh my Joss Whedon*...I'm spring cleaning.
This spirit of casting off the old has had another side effect. I've decided to have a garage sale. Except, given our lack of garage it might technically be an American sitcom "yard sale". I have a pile of moderately useful but surplus to requirements "stuff" that I would feel too guilty to throw out and I'm too lazy to put it on TradeMe. A yard sale is the perfect solution.
Especially when you take into account the fact that I am already very excited about the idea of putting sticky price labels on things. Ridiculously excited. Weirdly so. And not just because I'm imagining this is a perfect opportunity to sit on my verandah with a glass of wine all day while people wander up and give me money (is this what it was like to be Cleopatra?).
I want to make signs and give everyone a "free pen with purchase" (I have lots of pens). I want one of those little metal cash boxes for the "float" (but will probably just settle for an ice cream container). I want to have a little rack with my castoff clothes on it and play at being a retail assistant and say things like "that's a great colour on you!" and "I'm sure that stain will wash out!" I want people to haggle with me so I can offer them more pens instead of a discount.
More than anything I want the satisfied glow of having removed surplus things from my house without having to cart them somewhere or throw them out. I'm even looking forward to sorting through my clothes and deciding who makes the cut. This is unprecedented. Hallelujah, I've seen the light.
Are you currently in the grip of spring cleaning fever and in what way is it manifesting? Any good tips for running a garage sale? Do people really turn up at 7am on a Saturday, and if so where should I hide the body?
* The only god I feel compelled to worship