18 Nov

Every so often I have the overwhelming urge to throw away a bunch of stuff that has accumulated in my room and ORGANISE things. 

I used to get this urge approximately three times a year, every time I came back from uni for the vacation. Since I lived in rented houses for two of the four years I spent at Oxford, and I didn’t have to move everything out in my final year (special privileges for people who wheedle mercilessly), this always meant I was able to have a good old room clear-out without the inconvenience of having loads of my stuff in the way. 

This all changed, however, in July this year, when four years’ worth of books, files, DVDs, sports kit, knick-knacks, tea-sets, half-drunk bottles of booze and two oars (yes, actual oars) had to come home. No amount of clearing-out prior to this was sufficient to host all the detritus of my degree. 


see? two oars!

So a lot more stuff went. I threw out oodles of clothes that didn’t fit me any more. I moved the dolls houses that had lived in my room since I was 11 into the loft. I bought some pot plants (they could at least hide some of the uglier keepsakes). I nobly drank the half-bottle of port. I put up new pictures and took down old ones. I reorganised my desk, twice. I had a tidy room. 

But stuff always builds up, doesn’t it. Even if you barely obtain anything new, rooms which are neat take on a bit of a life of their own after a while; stuff goes wandering and things that used to live in neatly stacked piles end up in a diaspora. Jewelry that ought to nest in specially-ordained boxes on a vanity table ends up like a tangled snake-pit next to your bed. Pens and papers and envelopes and sellotapes which started life pleasingly arrayed and possibly even in colour-order fall out with each other and sit in sulks at opposite ends of the desk. Dust builds up, cat hair accumulates, sand from miniature zen gardens gets spilled. And the strict cycle of the last four years, that of purge – live – leave – return, has been broken. The pressure mounts like an inexperienced rider trying to get on a horse. 

So. I’ve been agitating for a little while about possibly, maybe redecorating my room. My parents have been a bit ho-hum about it all because they have other house-plans which come higher on the list. However, in the week, I had a bit of a breakthrough. I can do what I like as long as I do it myself (pretty self-evident I would have thought). 

This weekend, then, has seen an awful lot more tidying and clearing-out than previous occasions. Oh, there will always be stuff I just can’t bring myself to throw away – but this time I was pretty ruthless. Stacks of old birthday cards – in the recycling bin. Boxes of fabric – in the loft. All the ornaments from my curtain rail – gone. The random bits and pieces dotted around my room to make it look more ‘oriental’ – loftwards ho. Oh, and I re-organised my bookshelves again, because it’s not a proper tidy if I’ve not done that. There’s still plenty more to clear, of course, but I have made a pretty good (and brutal) start. And to reassure myself that I’m going to do it this time, and that I’m going to get somewhere, I’ve bought a new duvet cover. It has stags on. 

My ambition is to turn my ‘Chinese’ themed bedroom, painted when I was in my mid-teens, into an ‘English country heritage’ themed bedroom; something more timeless and grown-up, for my early twenties. In the time my bedroom has been oriental-themed, I’ve only dated oriental men. So the plan is that if I go for something a bit more tweed and Barbour- friendly, maybe I’ll bag myself an earl, or at least the heir to an estate. 

Some hope. But a girl can dream, and at least I shall be dreaming from underneath my delicious new duvet. 


doe’n’t be jealous.


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