Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post Clutter Divorce Clutter Post

Sort of. I just liked the symmetry of the title to be honest.

Progress at RD Towers has been rapid and we're now almost done. You may have seen the last set of pictures to prove it. The last two pieces in the jigsaw, although there were five of them, were the kitchen island and the four stools, which were assembled and installed last week, ready for my first visitor.

Ordering the red settee is an example of my sheer recklessness and an illustration of my love for that danger thing. Only last week I drove out of the car park without wearing my seat belt. You see, sometimes I just don't care. Of course I did put the seatbelt on as soon as the lights started to flash at me and the bong started to bong. The short term verdict on it is that I'm far more comfortable living with the vivid redness than I am living with the lack of easy to clean leather.

Now I don't know if anyone who reads my scribblings has been through the divorced and moved out of the family home thing. I do know that there are divorcees out there, both of the male and female brands. I'm also aware that there are many who still live with their parents, the first time around, and haven't done the moving out, getting married and staying that way for fifteen years thing that I have. Let alone the moving back in with your parents after that.

And the word of the day around here is clutter.

In all the moving out, the selling of the house, the packing, storing and throwing away. In all the "I don't want that", "I do want that" and "I'll give that to charity" I realised just how much crap I'd built up over the years. There's only one word to describe it. That one word is "ckme" Funnily enough I met a girl called Charity recently and I've been meaning to write a post about her name. Just thought I'd tell you that, but it wasn't her that I gave lots of old stuff to.

When I moved back in with the 'rents I had boxes of things in several places. Though I had done some sifting through things it had been more a case of packing my life up and moving it around a bit rather than going through everything and deciding what to do with it all.

Finally, after what seems like a couple of years but was in fact merely twenty four months or so, I feel like I can exhale. The boxes are mostly sifted through and I've advanced to go, most definitely without collecting £200.

My god, how much stuff had I gathered over the years that I really shouldn't have kept? There was the steering wheel from my second car; my much loved, but not enough to have looked after it that well, MGB Roadster. I bought a sporty wooden one for it and kept the original, thinking that it was sentimental. Only it wasn't and I'm not. I kept it in an assortment of dusty cupboards for the best part of twenty years.

There were enough unworn clothes for me to start up a branch of Odel in London, many even still had Odel price labels on. I gave them all to charity shops and have vowed to be more focused in my garment buying approach in the future. Just because it's got an expensive label on it and the price in SL Rupees is low by UK standards doesn't actually mean that I have to buy it. I'm going to be a radical and think about weird things like whether I'll actually wear it and if I actually need it?

The biggest dilemna has been CDs and books. You know me, you know that I love my music and I read more books than even the number of awards given out at a Lankan ad industry award thing. So I've got hundreds of CDs and a library of books that I've built up over the years.

I simply don't have the space to keep all my old books but it also seems that it would be pointless as I hardly ever read one more than once. So I've given away many of them, but it's a bit like giving away fragments of my memories. Of course I've kept all my Sri Lankan books, the ex got the Polish ones, it was one of my better deals.

Then I've kept the books that have what seems like the stronger emotional connections. The Jeeves and Wooster compendium that I nicked from my best mate all those years ago, with his mother's name written inside the front cover was a tough and heartwrenching call, but it had to go. I've got all the stories in other books and they're much nicer looking and feeling ones.

The scores of management and self help books were challenging. I ended up keeping my very favourite ones, those that I think I'll want to come back to, and parted with the ones that had served their purpose. It felt painful but I get some comfort knowing that there might be a needy person who benefits from it.

My approach with the CD library was different and far less mercenary. I just can't bring myself to part with music so kept the lot, boxed up and stored. In the meantime I've got them all on iTunes and my iPod. I continually marvel at the amazing technology, for I'm a chap of the age group who remembers buying my first personal stereo.

It must have been about 1980, it was made by Binatone, played cassettes and was about the size of one of today's larger laptops. I moved up to a real Sony Walkman and now, about thirty years later, I carry around hundreds of albums, yes I still call them that, in a little box that's more or less a consumable anyway.

C asked me the other day if I thought I ever use one of these new fangled book reader things, these literary iPods that can store hundreds of books and yet take up the same space as an average sized paperback. You can read the things in almost the same way as you'd use a book, without that tactile feel of paper pages but with many advantages.

I'm sure one of these things wouldn't do the job scattered casually on a coffee table, nor would it feel the same as I casually sit and poo while browsing through an electronic magazine, but the positives about it do excite me a lot.

I picture this compact unit that holds my hundreds of books, enabling me to carry around more or less all the books I want wherever I go. I'd be able to jump on a plane and just take my bookreader without having to think about which books to take. I could chuck it in my briefcase, bung it in the glove compartment or even, in extreme cases, put it in a manbag and off I go with the ability to choose from anything my whole library at any time.

One big difference between a book reader and an iPod, as far as I'm aware, is that I wouldn't be able to put my existing hard copies of books onto it. When I got my very first iPod I spent about a fortnight's worth of evenings transferring my CDs onto iTunes. I uploaded every single one except those that I thought I've never, ever, not in a million years, listen to, which was really just that album by Milli Vanilli. It was time well spent.

If I could buy a e book reader that gave me that sort of backdated uploading facility I'd be out at the shops this afternoon tharashing my credit card to within an inch of its life.

And with the post divorce decluttering that I've been doing it would have been a huge time and hassle saver.

What do you think of these things? Do you reckon they'll catch on in the way that MP3 players have?

I think it's inevitable, yet feel slightly guilty at what it will mean for the traditional bookshop. Perhaps it will change the way literature is packaged and presented but make it accessible and interesting to a bigger audience too.

I hope that the feel, the atmosphere and the joy of browsing through the pages of books in a bookshop is around for a long time.


Sachintha said...

You can count on me to hang on to good old 'books', the real stuff with papers you know, rather than transferring to electronics.

Actually one of my friends suggested very recently that I buy one of these things knowing my obsession with books, but I couldn't make up my mind. I'm one for old books.....

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Sach - Yes, I'm of a similar mind here. I love the feel and smell of my books, but the convenience of a book reader would definitely pull me in all sorts of directions.

Anonymous said...

Kindle does all of this and very well.

There are tons of users of kindle of all ages so even the dull and the ignorant have a chance :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks Anon, wisdom appreciated as ever!

Holy Highness Zoltan said...

We admire your ability to promulgate your contemplations with the little people. It makes for an inspiring read at the beginning of a work week

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

You Holy Highness - Thank you. If only I knew:

1. What "promulgate" means. I know it's some sort of scandal, just not sure which one.

2. If you were being serious.