Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Little things

Should you step into my home, the first thing you will notice is the shelving. It greets you as the front door opens, saving my shoes and junk mail from the trials of hovering. At the top of the stairs are two more sets, one full of books as is right and proper, the other telling you all of my life. It holds my hiking rucksack, jogging kit, gym kit, cat carrier, a large box of towels and sheets. There are my excess candles, this is a money box I got when I was little and next to the discarded art supplies are the tools I'm supposed to have put away about two years ago. There's a doll in fancy Victorian children's dress, and on her lap she holds a doll's doll in baby clothes of the same era. Gathering dust is a fancy silver and black velvet mask. It's plastic, but still shiny. In the bathroom is a tall, narrow shelving unit with a door discretely hiding the bottom half which shelters the toilet roll (I care more that it keeps them dry) and cleaning products from the curious. The upper half contains old makeup, a myriad of things I should have thrown away and more cleaning products.

Enter the lounge now and you will be amazed. It's smaller on the inside. It shouldn't be, but the shelves overtook everything. In here are three full height Billy Bookshelves, one of them half width, the others full width. A half height Billy is wedged under the light switch. All of these are solidly lined with books, and in front of the books is a collection of some of the art works I have fallen in love with over the course of my life. On top of the shelves are many jigsaws and more art supplies as well as board games and a box I occasionally delve into when I try to recall where I put things. They are arranged in the corner so the narrow one is at 45 degrees and in the middle of them is the dinner table.

Along the wall is a filing cabinet (which are technically sliding shelves) containing more arty crafty things. My flat is not large, so the sofa is wedged right up to the filing cabinet and in the tiny gap on the other side of it is a slim red shelf holding my DVDs. Some of my DVDs. I have a penchant for CEX and 4 for £6.50 offers, so it's tatty and eclectic and utterly valueless to any collector. Past the coffee table (holding my router, Lego Wall-E, and current thing I'm supposed to be working on) is a mini shelf for the TV which holds more DVDs. These are typically dustier than the ones on the red shelf. 

With all these shelves, you'd think I'd be able to keep my bloody dinner table neat and tidy, wouldn't you?

But nooooooooo.

It's got my decorative settings in place and the candle, but they are repeatedly shoved aside for any letters I actually read, the latest art thing, the rejected materials for the latest project, anything that needs filing (I don't have anywhere for that), the stuff that got in my way when I was in a hurry and I haven't yet tidied away.

I am not, I must confess, one of nature's tidy.

But I do hold space in my life for the little things. My uncle sends me a card every time something major happens and they are displayed on the cabinet. I have a piggy bank I will need to smash one day. My sister gave it to me years ago and there's hardly anything in it. Not because I won't save, but because the more I have in there, the closer I am to destroying it (I have another from a friend and that has even less in). There's a ceramic art deco tile - also from my sister - of a slender woman wearing a red dress on a staircase. There's a large vase - from my sister in law before I divorced - holding ostrich feathers in different colours (I bought them for a costume for a friend's history themed wedding). There's an assortment of candle holders. Tiffany lamp style, autumn leaf themed, plain glass squares in a severe wood holder. There is a clock made from a kit that my mother bought. I deviated from the plan and made it from maps and butterflies instead of matchsticks as I was supposed to. It is unfinished, but beautiful. There's a father's day card I bought but have never sent because I don't really like father's day and I do like making cards. He will get it one day, because he's an amazing dad.

There are postcards stacked behind the TV. There are memories of my godparents - I still have the communion card and gift they gave me and I still feel the sorrow when I hold them. There is, somewhere, the last card my grandfather ever sent me. I was 9 or 10 when he died. 

If you set foot in my flat, you will probably see the clutter on my shelves. These are my little things. They are my life. Every aspect of me is here for you to see, whether or not you take advantage.  

A