Under the bed.  Spare bedroom wardrobe.  Or the spare bedroom, full stop.

Where’s yours?  Do you have a name for it?  Come on, you know you have one. I’m talking about whatever receptacle, room or orifice of your house that’s squeezed full of the detritus of your life.  It’s where you shove the leftover bits and pieces after you’ve had a Proper Clean Out.  Where you shake out your old handbag before putting the useful things into your new handbag.  And one of these days, you really will get around to sorting it out.  Sound familiar?

Say hello to my own Bag of Shame.  It’s a very battered, ugly beast that lives at the a bottom of a forgotten cupboard like a dirty little secret.  It’s full of my stuff-that-I-might-need-and-or-can’t-throw-away.  Bits of other things.  A page I tore out of a magazine, but why?  A broken necklace.  Receipts and tickets.  Safety pins and elastic bands and spare buttons and a dried up nail varnish and a phone charger from the 1990’s.  Oh look – my favourite cassingle!

Actually, my Bag of Shame is looking pretty good at the moment.  Instead of doing an annual sorting of big piles into little piles and then back into a big pile, I’ve been doing what organised people apparently do and pulling out 10 things at random, every day for a month.  It’s the 5-2 approach to decluttering.  So each object goes either to its rightful home, St Vincent De Paul bag or the bin.  In case of doubt, it’s the bin.   (Let’s not dwell on the fact that it could all probably go in the bin.  One day at a time, people).

No hesitation, no deviation, no stopping to hunt for a cassette player to listen to cassingles.  It’s all over quickly and the self-pride lasts all day.   And the bottom of the Bag of Shame is now visible to the human eye for the first time in ages.

I’ve carted the Bag of Shame through 7 house moves and 4 countries, every stop an opportunity to slip in a few more be-handy-one-day bits of old crap.  And now it’s about to dwindle to nothingness, I can’t help feeling mightily relieved.

Next stop, the Drawers of Doom.

Jenny Coyle @missmitford

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