Friday, 27 July 2012

Packing trauma

I can't do it. I'm wandering around the house in a daze, staring at the teetering stacks of clothes and boots and books and papers and magazines and cards and pompoms and borrowed DVDs and board games and miscellaneous knick-knackery, and I don't know where to start. I'm suffering from a severe bout of packing trauma. 

I can't ask any of my friends to help, because a) they've had enough of my indecision and are probably envisaging having to help me unpack it all again in a couple of days, and b) they're also beset by menopausal inertia and lack of energy.  

Aha. A light bulb is flickering in the back of my mind. Louisa. An old pal from my early London days. When I last saw her, she said something about actively liking cleaning. When I looked suitably aghast, she said, 'I adore putting on my rubber gloves and making somewhere disgusting look gorgeous!' Yes! I call Louisa. 

'Help!' I cry. 'I've just had two days free with Lily at holiday camp, and I've done absolutely nothing. I'm moving to London next week, and I keep walking from room to room and feeling filled with dismay. I don't know what to do.' 

She instantly takes charge. 'Right, Eliza. First of all you need to weed out what you don't want before you pack. Do you know where your local dump is?'

'No,' I whimper.

'Well find out. Go through your things and make a pile for the dump.'

I can't even answer, so frozen with horror am I.


'But... but...'

'You've got to be ruthless. You don't want to carry your whole life around on your shoulders. Get rid of what you don't need. You'll feel so much lighter.'

Within minutes she's given me a plan of action for the day: 

1. take Lily's mountain of soft toys to the children's corner in the church
2. put anything I haven't worn for a year in bin liners and take them to a charity shop
3. locate the dump and pick up some boxes and packing tape
4. recycle my magazines

'But I haven't even read half of them,' I wail. 'All those National Geographics. I can't bear the waste.'

'We had the same problem! The house was being overrun with National Geographics! I made Mark cancel his subscription. It's all online nowadays. You'll feel so much better once you've got rid of them.'

'I can't!' I cry. 'All that work... the photographs... I can't just chuck them. Maybe I could take them to the doctor's...'

'No,' she says. 'They won't accept them because of the germs with all those people fingering them. Bag them up and take them to the dump.'

She gives me instructions for the weekend and says she'll come and help me pack on Monday. I almost weep with gratitude. The blessed relief of having someone make decisions for me.

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