There comes a time for chucking stuff. But when is that time? If you ask Trevor Chappell he would probably say, “it’s tricky.”
I want to chuck a lot of stuff. The house is full of, how shall I put it? Crap. My dear daughter came home from living away, or rather her stuff did. Then she merrily absconded to Europe and left me with narrow passages, buttressed with towering boxes, ready to cascade like giant, wobbly Jenga blocks.
I feel like Moses must have felt when he hot-footed it through the ominously piling Red Sea, shouting “Run! It’s gonna blow!”
Jack won’t even go into her room for fear of getting stuck again. He fearlessly launched himself into her once bedroom, eagerly seeking her presence. Unfortunately he lodged himself in a tight, dark place between bags bulging with Imelda Marcos’s lost collection of shoes. He had the added indignity of having to gingerly extricate himself out, bum first.
Choosing what goes and what stays can be an onerous task. For example we see the case involving the Australian Department of Agriculture recently. They decided to chuck it. It, being a package of priceless botanical specimens (although their value was marked at just $2 for customs duty purposes). Actually they not only chucked it, they burnt the bejeezus out of it. A typically Australian thing to do with Australian flora.
That is, the Australian Department of Agriculture. Not the Incendiary Department nor the Guy Fawkes Commemoration Department, but the Department for nurturing and growing stuff.
The parcel contained 105 irreplaceable plant samples that seemingly originated in this country. Big oops.
The specimens had been assiduously collected by a French monsieur shortly after the settlement of our colony by white jokers.
The intrepid Monsieur Labillardière squirelled (or wombatted) his precious cargo away in the hope of it being preserved for posterity when he returned to France.
Alas, the voyage home didn’t go to plan. A bit of argie bargie between the French and the Dutch landed the French citizens with not much liberté in Indonesia, where they were thrown into the clink and their goodies seized. Then a ticklish skirmish ensued between the English and the Dutch (argumentative lot.) This meant that the prized specimens found their way to the Old Dart.
Labillardière was distraught. He implored his old mate Bansky (not the graffiti guy, nor the Commonwealth Banksy) But Joseph Banks, plant man extraordinaire, to go into bat for him and have his box of goodies retrieved and sent to France. Joe came through and the package duly arrived in France, safe and sound. It also survived two world wars.
But, before you could say “herbarium”, an Australian administrative snafu ended all that nonsense.
That’s what you need to be when chucking stuff; decisive and dogmatic. My problem is that I tend to be sappy and sentimental.
Sitting with Jack in the square metre of space while sorting clothing, crockery and furniture can be challenging.
He gets disgusted at my inability to detach myself from material things. He thinks I anthropomorphise them.
He tells me that I won’t miss stuff when it’s gone. He says the only thing that he would miss (is not me) but his Pedigree Pal and his coat.
So I’ll keep my coat…
…Oh and I will keep Ripster the Street Shark toy, because as a kid, my son Matthew used to play with it and it was the toughest Street Shark. And I will keep the glamazon Bratz doll whose feet menacingly come off when you change her shoes. Rose used to play with that. Oh, and the Hot Wheels racing cars that Matthew always challenged me to predict the fastest one. Invariably my choice was wrong. It would be revealed by the result of a highly orchestrated and contentious Hot Wheels race through the house that it was in fact, a lemon.
On consideration, maybe I should get rid of those Hot Wheels. They always get in the way of my socks anyway.
But objects are often entwined with memories and memories pull at your heartstrings. It always makes me sad to chuck stuff out. Not because I want to keep stuff, but because of the hopes, dreams, good and bad times associated with them.
I have a tenner with the picture of Henry Lawson on it, that my dear mother gave me close to her death. It went out of circulation when I did – a long time ago. If I had used it at the time I would have been able to buy five white instant coffees and two neenish tarts. Now, if I used it as legal tender, other than a shop attendant being aghast at a cash transaction, they would probably take back my soy decaf mochaccino and goji berry oatmeal activated almond cookie and call for security.
In a practical sense that tenner should have been used by now; its monetary value being greatly diminished. But it’s intrinsic value is in its association to its former owner. So I am keeping that too.
Its value is probably a fifth of its original value. Hey that’s $2. Department of Agriculture where are you?
Maybe I need to be more Zen and less Barnaby Joyce about stuff. His over-zealous attachment to the Deputy Prime Ministership, before being prised from it, in his floppy Akubra and half mast moleskins, was truly awful to watch.
With that image in my head I have convinced myself. I surrender. I am going to abscond to Europe. Jack, take over and just chuck the lot.