Last week I started packing to move house and discovered that I owned two slotted spoons. This seemed to be evidence of such excessive indulgence that I immediately put one in the pile marked "jettison", which is bigger than the pile marked "retain". I'm not a hoarder, you see, I'm a chucker. I'm so unsentimental about my belongings that I worry that it might be a psychological flaw, diametrically opposed to the one you'd see on that Life Laundry TV show where adults would cry as an unused carpet tile they'd owned since 1982 was flung into a crushing machine by a grinning home consultant.
I've been looking forward to packing for five months now, eyeing up possessions and thinking "that would look great in a skip". On one shelf there's a folder of accounts for the year to April 2007 that I know I'm allowed to shred on 31 January, and I can't wait. I resent possessing an receipt for a Lateral Thigh Trainer when the Lateral Thigh Trainer itself was given to a charity shop three years ago. (If the Inland Revenue is reading this, I know that Lateral Thigh Trainers aren't tax deductible for a writer, and I didn't claim for it, honest, it's just that "Lateral Thigh Trainer" looks marginally funnier on paper than "stapler" and I'm short on jokes this week.)
I've always been like this. When I was 22 I threw a meticulously-kept diary down a disposal chute when I realised that the contents would be too depressing for anyone, including my older self, to read. Maybe, in the same way that you're told to wear clean underpants in case you're hit by a car, I'm divesting myself of extraneous tat in case I fall down a well or something. Reshaping my legacy, ridding it of an assortment of chipped mugs, a box of defunct power supplies and a folder full of romantic faxes that I sent to my ex-wife during our courtship in 1995. The memory of them is wonderful; the reality is endless pages of awkward prose written by a man I now recognise to be an idiot.
Anyway, this week I discovered that I'm not moving house this year after all, so I've unpacked. I'll try writing this column again in January using slightly different words, and specifically losing that bit about the Lateral Thigh Trainer.Reuse content