Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Use it or lose it

I had a bit of a domestic turn the other day. You know, the "Why am I the only one around here who does anything?" fury that takes over from time to time. There were several pictures leaning against walls that would stay there until I bang a nail in the wall - so I did. Now, I know I said I wasn't making any resolutions, but after this blitz, I'm taking the use it or lose it approach, and I'm not just talking about my abdominal muscles. I have alluded in the past to the mountain of "stuff" I have squirreled away round my house. Well, no more.


The 19 year old, unopened wedding gift which I have been too guilty to part with. It's a set of Irish table linens, thoughtfully given by an Irish friend whom we have not seen since our wedding. I know he won't find out. I don't even remember his last name and I'm sure he would have to think hard to remember where I fit in to his past. The problem is that not only does it only come with four napkins, but the table would have to be on the Lilliputian size to use the table cloth. Obviously I don't want to throw it out, but I'm not sure what else I can do with it since it could well have gone yellow by now. Actually, my mum is coming over in April and has a newly enlarged conservatory with lovely dining table. It should do nicely.

Then there's the array of half empty creams. lotions, wrinkle serums and hand rejeuvenators that were blithely tossed aside when the next miracle came on the market. For pity's sake, they're all the same so just work your way through them before you buy any more rubbish.

And that goes for eye shadows, mascaras, blushers and lipsticks. It's not as if you have a jam-packed social life, and you're not one of those yummies that turns up at school every morning looking like something that walked off a Vogue page. You only need one of everything. Use them until they are empty.

(Apologies if this seems to be turning into a tirade against myself. I do need a good talking to though.)

And why are you stock-piling Ziplock bags? Next time you go to Costco, stay away from the Ziplock aisle. You have a two year supply at home, you could bag up the entire contents of your house (in small pieces) and now that you've become a little eco-conscious and are using empty cereal box bags to pack the kids' sandwiches, you hardly ever use them anyway. Enough.

The irony is that I work on the school's annual jumble/garage sale. We collect other people's stuff every Tuesday morning and sell it in May, raising large amounts of dosh for the school scholarship fund. I have the opportunity of ridding myself of gently-used but surplus-to-requirement stuff on a weekly basis, but do I avail myself of this? Do I 'eckers like. Clearly Trinny and Susannah, (or Clinton and Stacey if you're in the US), have had minimal influence on my wardrobe management style, as there's stuff hanging in there that's older than the Queenager. I'm not joking. There are two items (the same but in different colours) that look something like a denim jacket without sleeves. They still fit and look quite cool with a good shirt underneath. I bought them in Italy in about 1982 (swear to God). Every so often I'll pull one out and wear it, but if they weren't in my closet my life would go on as usual. I keep telling myself that I'm keeping the cooler or more expensive items for the Queenager. How fab to wear "vintage" - from Europe. However, since she's now taller than me and about half my width, chances are that she'll never wear them.

So needs must, my friends.

Oh, who am I kidding?



  1. Even I have that 'am I the only one doing stuff around here' feeling sometimes...it comes to us all, I guess.

    More importantly, is it really "do I 'eckers like"? I used to use that phrase a lot, but never having put it into written word before, I assumed it was "do I heck as like"? I need to know...

  2. Agghh! Well, since I didn't grow up ever using that phrase (much further north in fact) I haven't a clue. Now that I think about it - you're probably right. Well, I'll go t' foot of our stairs!

  3. Be ruthless woman - it's invigorating! I tear through the house chucking stuff at will. Thank God I have a husband who has no clue of what he owns.
    he he he (evil laugh)

  4. as we used to say, as we sat round the fire at our house, on the clippy mat (hello Clippy)

    " that will come in handy for nowt"

  5. What? You don't throw away all cosmetic items at their recommended 6 months from opening expiration date? Shame....

  6. We'll I moved back to my house after living 3 weeks in an furnished (hotel like) apartment. (house needed major reperations!)I packed a whole car full, I was amazed how I could collect so much stuff in 3 weeks. 3 weeks - 10 years, it's just in us! and of course, I also took the half used little shampoo and the body lotion they had at the apartment. You never know...

  7. good for you!
    sounds v cathartic.
    You inspired me am off to empty the laundry room cupbaord!

  8. the moment you throw those circa 1865 items of clothing away, the moment they will make a comeback - I am still pining for that yellow jumpsuit and those pink shoes my MOTHER threw away on my behalf. Still. Probably for the best. and well done for putting up pictures - you can join my "man drawer" club (mentioned in my last post!) x

  9. Cosmetics and lotions can actually turn bad and harbor germs. That's why they have expiration dates. Toss them all, you'll feel better when you're done, and it's faster than trying to use them up anyway.

  10. Oh, good point there. Into the bin.

  11. Yes, know exactly what you mean, my friend. Been there, done that.

    BTW, thanks for your comments. Action IS best. I give to some children as do my kids through Compassion Intl. and then we support our time at a pregnancy crisis centre but i still feel so much hurt for those that are almost completely unreachable and so very far away. Your work is admirable indeed. Keep it up!!

  12. this SO ran a bell! I kept going yes, yes YES at your list! But will you change? no, of course not, neither will I. Our drawers will just get fuller. Ooo-er, missus.

  13. You go girl!

    Giggled at the Costoc ziploc bag thing as I've done exactly the same thing before and am now stocked until the next millenium so that's something.

    Trinny and Susannah say if you haven't worn it for three years (and you are well out of the baby/pregnancy stage) you should pitch it. Or live in an old English house with no bloody storage space. Whichever.


  14. I go through periodically purges - blackbinbagging this, that and the other. And the house looks better and I feel good but, after a few months, the stuff seems to creep back in. Endless, like Groundhog Day.

  15. Ah yes with you and Milla here. I reckon if I put lipstick on and off all day for the rest of my life I wouldn't get through them! I was a sucker for the Clinique Bonus when I was younger and poorer. God, I've got thousands of the things. I even have a Boots No.17 lipstick in a basket somewhere. (Actually, I know EXACTLY where!). Now that truly IS vintage! Ignore the germs stuff. I reckon they're still good to go (on your face, not in the bin!). Still, like you, I HAVE made a NY (that's New Year, not New York) resolution not to buy any more lotions and potions till I've got through the stockpile. Yeah. Pigs might fly.

  16. PS: previous post sounds interesting stuff. Brings to mind Alistair Cooke's fabulous 'Letter from America'.

  17. PPS: have just popped over to the new blog and see that your companion currently lives in Horsham - just round the corner almost from where I was born and brought up! Nice little link for me. Shall be back to read more etc.

  18. must confess to having 'I must clear out' thoughts quite often... I always start off well then I start reading, reminiscing, dawdling.. then grind to a complete halt. Fortunately I do have a couple of great friends who are ruthless and they get me back on track. Thank goodness....

    [the term 'Queenager' I so have one of those ;-)]

  19. I have piles of cosmetics too and have just made the self same resolution to work through the damn stuff. And one look at my face demonstrates that miracle creams do not delay the onset of ageing, although there is always the faint thought of what I might look like if I didn't use them.
    Throw them all away. Go on, I will if you will.


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