Whilst I love the London Times newspaper so much this column is scribed in Times New Roman font, I feel they have missed a trick this morning. On the third page they report that decluttering guru and tidying up enthusiast Marie Kondo has chucked the towel in (and not picked it up again) after the birth of her third child, a son after two daughters, last year. However it is not until thirteen pages later that they report on Ai Weiwei’s Legofield of bricks donated by the public at the Design Museum. Call that journalism?
Regular readers (hello, how are you?) will have listened to the keening over the self-building piles of junk which is a regular feature (for regular readers) of this column, frequently stacked with words, some of them less than horizontal, perched on top of other, wonky words, with commas wedged in down the sides, a title, possibly not belonging to this column at all, hurled on the top with some decorative twiddles and words such as ‘to leave a comment’ festering at the bottom, some of which have been there for thirteen years.
The. Full. Stops. And Capitals. Are. All. in Another. Paragraph. Out. In. THE. Hall. (Under a pile of coats.)
I have subscribed to the theory of magnetic surfaces for many years, possibly thirteen or more, but have a feeling deep in my sole (coated with mud, a sticky label and some green thread – green, when did I last sew in green?) this may be learned behaviour. I learned it at my father’s knee, also his mantelpiece, hall table, writing desk, display cabinet and assorted tables. He was quite tidy but there was a lot of stuff. He was a collector. He conscripted me early in life. I went in the summer holidays to a building site with him as my treat and on the way home we called in to an antique shop. In a fit of truth he called them junk shops. In the junk shop he did the recce, then the deals while I crawled under eighteenth century tables to look at the edges of the hand-sawn veneers. We left with full hands and it was my job to distract my mother while he smuggled in the paper bags, or larger objects under his coat and put them in a place until they emerged a few weeks later, pretending a seventeenth century jug had always been on the windowsill. ‘Don’t you remember? You moved it from the dining room?’
From this I learned to build a fairly respectable brick wall and amass a ton of junk. Complicit with this early education is Jane’s Theory of Magnetic Surfaces, in association with the Gravitational Pull of the Earth. I also blame the mediaeval Cup Board up in the Solar. If only we hadn’t endured and finally embraced the strong acquisitive instincts of our Norman overlords in the matter of wenches, birds of prey and cups –‘Cups! I hast more cups than thou! Regard there are so many my many wenches cannot hold them in their hands and have been obliged to request the carpenter to make a board to put them all on, so they can hold up their breasts for it will be anon seven centuries afor Caresse Crosby invents the bra. Forsooth.’
A cupboard is now a box to accumulate junk, on some legs with stretchers, on which to balance junk, and a top on which to pile junk. I open any door in the wall of cupboards I designed, standing to the side, because of gravity. One day I may just take all the gravity affected objects off the floor, put them in half a dozen boxes, or many, many more, and send them to California (where Marie Kondo lives), she’ll never notice, she has three children.
Meanwhile the OH has stopped worrying about the effects of sunlight on his inlaid table. He went to furniture-making classes and made a coffee table inlaid with a picture of a bird, which I thought was very good but the teacher, sadly, thought had many mistakes. He listed them, in detail, which is why we only have one table. The OH, concerned with the sunlight through the window turning his kingfisher into a dove, bought UV repelling plastic and made a top. Needless to say, regular reader (hello, still OK?), he need not have worried, the top surface of the table remained exposed to sunlight for a day before becoming magnetic and attracting heaps of remote controls, partially completed crosswords, half-eaten sandwiches, dusters (no, me neither, I didn’t know we had any) and sweet wrappers.
The magnetic attraction of flat surfaces for junk is in direct proportion to the Earth’s gravity at any point on the planet’s surface. Everybody’s instinctive knowledge of this is stronger than the magnetoreception of the average homing pigeon. This is why posh estate agents publish photographs of empty rooms with huge bare floors, a sofa with nothing on the arms, at all, and one coffee table with a minimalist flower arrangement. Punters scan it, sweepily, weepily, crying ‘Can we actually live like this? Is it possible?’
No, don’t be silly, they are selling you a dream. Buy it and one day you will wake up unable to cross the floor acreage, apparently annexed by Ai Weiwei having a dry hobble, in bare feet. Or sit on the sofa, currently a branch of your favourite Internet clothes store. Instead of light and space there is a strange smell (the flower arrangement. Dead, with a light coating of fluffy grey mould.).
My mother, married into junk collecting, had a saying ‘Never go up empty handed.’ This did not refer, at all, at all, to accumulating merit prior to demise by perpetrating good deeds, by stealth, or in any known way, rather to ascending the staircase with armfuls of junk to pop in one of the wardrobes and shut the door. I cleared the wardrobes out eventually, and learning nothing, designed a walk-in (if you can locate the floor) wardrobe for myself.
I buy storage. Boxes, trolleys, plastic files, envelopes, craft bags. I remove the magnetised stuff from the tables and other flat surfaces. I put the stuff in the storage receptacle. Suddenly the field, sparked by static magnetricity, increases exponentially, attracting the junk, now in a receptacle, back to the flat surface in a container which can be piled up upon, or, even, if I have gone stackable, stacked on by another container. The ceiling is the limit. In the craft room I am within a foot of it, and I have just had a massive clear-out.
I didn’t throw anything away, I just bought more storage.
You knew that, didn’t you, regular reader? I know you knew it. Here comes the thirteen year old stuff at the bottom.
~~~~~~~~~~ does this look mouldy, to you?~~~~~~~~~
%%can’t shift it now, the column will fall over, anyway, I’m going for a cup of tea, do you want one?%%%%