Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I am not writing much these days. I wake up in the morning, and start sorting something. Everything goes into one of three categories: throw, give away, keep. Then the "keep" stack is split into pack, use, Copenhagen now.

The biggest challenge were the books. We have reduced 25 years of collecting books to one (full) book cabinet. There's no way I am throwing out the graphic novels, those are still stored here and there through the house. The books got split into keep, give away, and store in a secret location until we can't keep them there any more and need to do something about it.

I have gone through letters, clothes, drawings, several drafts to the greatest Norwegian novel in modern times, a million pictures (keep) and a seemingly endless amount of pens and pencils in the strangest places. The kids kept some of their toys, but I am keeping more... Like the little red and white cat, that had to get its head sewn back on. And the brown and grey puppy that saved the night so many times. That beautiful puzzle that was the advent gift one year. The red christmas dress she wore when she left the table to raid the bags of her aunt, eating bread with brown cheese under the table while the rest sat down for the Christmas evening dinner.

It's wonderful and sweet, and I keep letting go of so many things. The letters - it's incredible how many letters we used to write once. Ribbons, cheap jewelry, old glasses, ugly promotional mugs. When we sell the house and get rid of most of the furniture, we'll be where I planned: having reduced the clutter in my life by at least half. My husband eyes the beautiful glasses in the cabinet with an evil eye. I told him to pick one glass he could do without. He found two. When I showed him which I wanted to be without, he refused. Those were the ones he liked. He is as bad as me. I find him lost in old diaries, digging through old letters. He touches hand-knitted sweaters with a loving hand, muttering about how wonderful those were, once, how much pleasure we had from them. Old tickets, old passports, scraps saved in order to make a scrap book - he savours them, and I sneak in behind him and trash what he puts down for too long.

We are getting there, though. I have sorted out the plates and cups we don't want to keep, knives and forks, CDs and videos. We have even sorted coins. Today I packed my shoes: use, store, bring, thrash. The boy laughed, and shook his head when I tried on all the pairs. I managed to get rid of - mainly to the salvation army - 10 pairs. I didn't count how many I kept. I took pictures though, of the shoes lined up on the livingroom floor, looking like they were planning an escape through the door.

It's raining and cold. I think I'll be able to leave this place. But the roots have to be severed string by string, trashed, stored or to be brought with me.

1 comment:

Bryan Alexander said...

Wow - cutting down the number of books that massively is hard.