Not Haunted by Hoarding - Spear's Magazine

Not Haunted by Hoarding

As of this Friday, I wil be a householder in Dalston, Hackney – not an area known to most Spear's readers, I imagine.

For the very first time, I'm moving house. I waited until I could buy, since I lived in London anyway, and as of this Friday, I wil be a householder in Dalston, Hackney – not an area known to most Spear's readers, I imagine…

So I've been emptying my room from the boxes under my bed to the fitted cupboards just out of reach. It ain't pretty. Or rather, it ain't easy.

For year, I thought that hoarding was a virtue. I've hoarded books – Classics books from university, shelves of fiction paperbacks, large-format illustrated books, enough references book so that nothing should ever go unknown again – magazines, DVDs. I like to think that I've been discriminating in my hoarding, but once something has been chosen, it's rarely been evicted.

I had all my schoolbooks from the age of five. I've kept projects and my Latin and Greek books and I was prompted to keep a couple of my English exercise books (just so in the future I could remember how precocious and imaginative I was), but all the others, and the folders of thousands of sheets of paper, have gone to be recycled. I cannot imagine that anyone will ever have an interest in my GCSE biology mock exam script.

Cardboard palm trees from a birthday party, my laptop's box (six years old and never required), a bunch of film posters – all thrown out.

What is most surprising is that I thought I would have a much deeper attachment to all of this… stuff. It's been around me for so long, and it represents most of the first 26 years of my life. Yet when it came to the disposal, I was placid. Partly this was because I was so occupied in boxing up the things I was going to keep, but mainly I think it was because I've come to realise that all of these things are a firmly-processed past. You can look back in tranquillity, with affection, but if it's right to move on, it'll all be easy to part with.

So for the rest of this week I'll be living out of boxes, but come the weekend, my possessions (not possessing me but possessed by me) will explode onto shelves and into drawers, and another quarter-century of hoarding can begin.