“Sort your stuff” is a bit of a mantra at work just now. The Council is scaling back from 26 buildings to 2. This doesn’t include libraries, leisure centres etc. “Sort your stuff” is what we all now need to do to chuck out stuff we don’t need to keep and archive or digitise what we do need to keep. And yes, we do need to fit more people in to the Civic Centre. Occupying less buildings saves money. It heralds a different way of working too, which institutionalised old farts like me struggle with, such as the “paperless office”. It’s hard, and time-consuming, to shred 20+ years of documents you hold dear & digitising the docs that need to be kept. I’ve only got 22 years on the clock. I have colleagues who’ve been in post for 47+ years. Change is hard for all of us no doubt. Having said that, I’m really liking that we’re getting some up to date technology to facilitate all of this.
I should add that I’ve been very grumpy about the moves. The first was two weeks before the Olympic Torch Relay (I did wonder if they were trying to give me an ulcer) and the second was just after the Bandstand Marathon event.
That’s just about work docs though. What was much harder was sorting my Mom and Dad’s stuff. It’s not like they were ever contenders for a slot on “A life of grime” but man oh man, they didn’t half keep a load of stuff. It took us two years since Dad died before their home was completely emptied. Unfortunately this meant that my dining room was, again, full of boxes and bags. And I mean FULL. You’ll know if you follow me on twitter, facebook or wherever that I’m terminally lazy. So yeah, the dining room is still sort of full.
I urge you to sort your own stuff. For the sake of the poor bugger or buggers left behind, please do it. Just throw out some crap that means nothing to you, to save your kids from one day wondering if this or that should be kept.
I’ve read Christmas and Birthday and Anniversary cards going back to 1964. I’ve kept cards from me to Mom & Dad, ditto cards from my brother, cards from Mom & Dad to each other & cards from my nieces to their Grand-parents. There just isn’t space to keep the rest. Why do some of us (I have been guilty of this) bag up each year’s birthday and Christmas card hauls and throw them up into the loft? I’m more ruthless now. Sorry and all that, but I recycle most of them now. There’s a hint there to make the message in your cards original and thus worth keeping.
Yeah, I’m keeping my Mom and Dad’s cards to each other. They range from those gaudy slushy padded numbers with utterances of love in the 60s through to the 90s, and noughties, when their cheeky senses of humour shone through in the messages they lovingly wrote to each other. Dad took a liking to the phrase “mint”, possibly down to The Royle Family, and this featured in cards he wrote for a while.
Then there was the one birthday card I received as a student in London. There was what approximated to the muddy paw print of the family dog (the legendary Chip), but, and this explains much about my sense of humour, there were a few pellets (if that’s what budgie-crap is called) sellotaped in the card, with much love from Mickey the budgie. I can so imagine my Mom concocting this plan about 2am one morning, long after Dad had gone to bed, then peeing herself laughing telling him about it the next day. How his eyes would have rolled, but he’d have laughed at the thought. I still have that card That one’s a keeper.
So there it is. We emptied a home of all its wonderful loving memories and I kept a card with a dead dog’s paw print and a dead budgie’s turds in it. I’m smiling as i imagine my Dad saying “you soft sod”. Especially since said card is now safely in the loft!