We spend our days with comforting aphorisms, like what goes up must come down, as we battle a brolly in the wind, or what goes in must come out, as we struggle to tug off a boot, writes Pat Veltkamp Smith in this week's And Another Thing.
OPINION: But often the opposite is what happens, like what comes out won't go in.
Tip tightly packed luggage out of a bag and see if it will go back in. Hardly.
Empty stuff out of cupboards, wardrobes, drawers and capacious chests and see what happens when you need to put it back in.
Now think when a whole kitchen is turned over just how much is found.
There is no putting it all back, even though in the rebuilding process there are more drawers and cupboards.
There just is not room for what was there before, perhaps because there was far too much, and that's showing up now.
Like when you clear a wardrobe to make it tidy and then it won't fit in any more.
There's a need to chuck stuff out, and it is not that easy.
Odd dishes from long-gone dinner sets, scarves that once went with something, cards that spoke to us, letters to be re-read, perfume that brings a memory.
Meanwhile, back on the kitchen, where emptied-out pantry shelves showed some astonishing surfeits – three jars, two packets of lemon pepper; four half-emptied bottles of tomato sauce, crusts of jams, small swags of Marmite and Vegemite.
On a day-to-day basis, two people eat here, but there are soup mugs for 20 and so many egg cups you would think this was a homestay for hundreds.
Glasses, coffee mugs? We outdo Briscoes, although the range would have more in common with Habitat, now Re-Store, from where some came, to where much will return.
Because, you see, what came out won't go back in, not by a long shot.
So our red and yellow-lidded bins are about to receive carefully collated collections of junk and recyclables.
If the truth be told, it is hard to get the difference.
But there you are. There's a council-issued note on the fridge saying what must go where, and at times like this we are tempted to add to it.
» Pat Veltkamp Smith was Southland Times women's editor until 1997 and is a former president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association.
- The Southland Times