I have managed not to document every single item that has left the house over the last few years, partly due to the sheer speed at which we cleared the bookshelves and took carloads to the charity shops in order to create a room for guests to stay in.

I do still have one and a half rooms and a half a garage of undocumented life-stuff to work through.

I now have a studio ( at Caraboo in BS3) where I can take pieces that I can re-purpose. Last week a cotsheet with holes that is now a skin on a chicken wire house; this week a small red chair that I am not really attached to but plan to sand down into something more sculptural.


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A bag of half a dozen or so paperbacks went today. Just a small thing, but a reminder to myself that I need to do this more regularly.

So many binfuls and bagfuls of Stuff have gone to be resold and recycled and just plain old rubbished. Sometimes I can even throw things out without having to document them, which is good.

Here are a few things. If I post their pictures then I can delete the photos…


oven gloves

rusty baking tray

Ancient face cream

Beloved bag

Loved this bag from Paperchase that was a replacement for a gloriously shiny red rucksack that split. This bag lasted ages but then just started crumbling, so I managed to let it go.

I’ve thrown away loads of bits and pieces over the past few months, just haven’t always documented it.

At Xmas I threw away a foam axe from Legoland that was used too enthusiastically by visiting grandboys, that I attempted to fix with superglue and just ended up with more on me and my Xmas apron than on the axe. There was a cheer from family members that I chose to ignore, though part of me was tempted to get the axe back out of the bin to annoy them. I rose above it.

I am now eyeing up some loaf tins that are rusty, that have been rusty for ages but am now ready to let them go and buy shiny new ones – now there’s a Lakeland shop nearby.

So, here are some random things that have recently left the building:

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An old paper to recycling, some books to the charity shop, in a silver bag (which I very nearly kept, seeing as it was so shiny, but not quite shiny enough).

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Orange Curtain Scraps

I managed to dump some pieces of material, small scraps but big enough to make me wonder how to use them. They’re what was left when I made  some bedroom curtains. I used most of the leftovers to make a small bean bag and did briefly wonder if I’d ever need to patch that, but I know I won’t.

Thank heavens for the recycling bin so I can delude myself that they may get used for something, somewhere. Probably incinerated to generate power.

I also dumped some offcuts of starry paper from Xmas that I was recycling on a birthday present. I was rather cackhanded with it until I reasoned with myself that I could cut the paper to be more uniform in shape and therefore easier to use.  And I could scrumple the scraps, which no one else would look at twice but I had a flashback to the days when I had children who did collages rather than played on computers.

And playing on computers leads me to the broken office chair which I found dumped on top of my meandering piles of trash in my ‘office’, where the kids sit and play games and/or do homework. There was only one screw holding the seat onto the base and the back rest was broken off so I made Son-who-owned-chair help me unscrew the bits of the backrest so we could use those screws to anchor the seat down properly. He now has a stool again in his room, just in case he ever sits at his desk to study. We live in hope.

Oh, and the wooden board was just Too Far Gone to keep scrubbing.


About to deliver kids for a fortnight of camping in Cornwall in a field. This entailed sorting out what does and doesn’t fit, from walking boots to underwear to waterproofs and t-shirts. And torches and penknives and songbooks. This led to a pile of discarded clothes to pass on to someone who has children at the same school but are smaller than my teenagers. Also sorted a bagful of material and a few books for the charity shop.

Then I was inspired to fix a broken shopping bag that is too pretty to throw out though it has been too holey to use for a year.

dragonfly bag

Once I’d got the sewing machine out to do that I then started turning an old pair of jeans into a skirt. I wonder how long it will take to finish….

And accidentally broke a big serving dish which gives me an excuse to buy a new one – and possibly an incentive to tidy the larder so I don’t knock anymore china down on my foot.

As we were both home at half term I suggested we spend some time together clearing the (f)utility room of several years of debris, rather than just sighing at The State of Things – which happens a lot after watching episodes of My Hoarding Partner Will Be The Death of Me.

I should point out that partner involvement is much more likely to be agreed to when the French Open or similar sporting event that should be on tv is rained off.

We started by hauling everything out the corner – it’s so long since we did that we couldn’t remember where the light switch was. We spent a couple of hours, first staring in disbelief at the scale of it all and then making Son come and sort through his shoes. Daughter is still out but will be forced to do same when she is home.

So apart from the bag of ancient plimsolls we now have a dustbin full of old paint, discarded electrical wiring, power leads for who-knows-what, at least six plugs and various other bits of tat. I also parted with a slightly mouldy old inflatable frisbee, that used to have a beach-bag-cum-inflatable-pillow that we got free with some yogurt in about 1990.



I did try to send some other sports stuff out the door but apparently we need a sack of ten footballs and a big dustbin size tub of beach gear and half a dozen different racquets for different ball games. And six or eight frisbies.

We did give a bin bag full of tangled kites to the after-school club, along with a cricket bat and a big old saucepan with lid that they can use for outdoor cooking. 

Next step – seeing what is stashed in the double sink in there. 


Gave away a jacket that has been hanging in my wardrobe since my sister threw it my way about three years ago. Or four. I’ve worn it once. Now being sported by a very happy friend.

I tend to keep empty perfume bottles. That habit started with the Diva perfume that I first bought in the mid 1980s as a random purchase in a post-holiday airport. The scent and the bottles were beautiful, but now quite hard to get hold of, and they switched from Parfum to Eau du Parfum, not quite the same. So I switched to Stella, inspired by a love of rose-based scent and a twinge of motherly maudlin sentiment at another airport as I left to go on a business trip (Stella is Lastborn child’s name). Sometimes I put the empty bottles in my chest of drawers so that any lingering scent can permeate my clothing. They are such solid objects that seem to be still full of life, if I could refill them. But I can’t, and these ones had not even made it into any drawer or cupboard, just catching dust in a box full of dumped cosmetics from a previous tidy up attempt. So they are now scenting the recycling box. I can’t quite throw away the Diva bottles yet.