In addition to having moved my blog over to WordPress, I’m in the process of moving house.
I really dislike moving house.
I find the process of examining everything I own, deciding what I need to keep and what I should give away, sell or discard, extremely uncomfortable. There is the instinct to keep as much as I possibly can, because I may need it some day, scarcity thinking writ large in material goods, the reluctance to part with tools I will end up buying again. This is in direct conflict with the instinct to give everything away (or sell it and donate the money to charity) and take some sort of monastic vow. Absolution from the responsibility of so many chattels seems sweet.
There is a broken piston horn, which I mean to have repaired (and if I’m lucky, in such a way that it can easily be converted to be played as hand horn as well, though I’ll need more tubing for the crooks). There is over a decade’s worth of kitchen implements, most used often enough to justify keeping but not strictly essential to life. There is the fabric stash, built up over many years of visiting charity shops, irreplaceable but untouched except for a few half-finished projects. There are tools, tools I will need in taking apart and putting together furniture, tools for fixing bicycles, tools for gardening. There are books, the sort I can’t get on an e-reader or easily find again in charity shops, kept for reference or pleasure. There is all that collects on flat surfaces in the music room: old to-do lists, keys for I’m-not-sure-what, phone numbers scribbled on the back of receipts, paperwork that really ought to be in the filing cabinet but will need to be put in boxes for the move; flotsam and jetsam of dashing from one appointment to the next, or writing hymn tunes when I ought to be tidying up. The presence of so many things is not the result of a conscious decision to accumulate such detritus, but rather a symptom of a life where matter doesn’t really matter all that much — until I run out of space, or have to shift it.
I’m not leaving the Leytonstone area, except temporarily, but I don’t know exactly where I’ll be living after a trip to Canada later this summer. So instead of the usual categories of “keep” and “let go” there is the additional complication of taking what I will need for the summer, and storing the rest. Decisions are tiring and, at times, tiresome, but “just keep it all” is expensive, and “just give it all away” would, I think, turn out to be inefficient. So I promise myself that next time I’ll try harder to be careful about what I bring into my home, live with hands more open and less grasping. I try to let go of the things that are obviously going to require more effort than I’m really willing to expend on them, without getting too bogged down.
And I mutter unrepeatable syllables, bin bag in hand, looking forward to September when this should all be done with for another little while.