When I die, I want “Just in case” written on my gravestone. (OK, I know this is blogger's licence as I have previously stated that I want my ashes chucked off the cliffs at Tynemouth Priory, but humour me.) I’m the type who puts gorgeous soaps and other pampering gifts to one side, and continues to use the bulk bought bath gel and shampoo. Why? It’s not like you can use soap for anything other than washing yourself. I don’t even have a dreadful skin allergy that dictates the brand I use. (OK, this is also untrue - I am off to the dermatologist on Friday to see about a very red and itchy left eyelid.)
Although I grew up in England, it wasn’t the Blitz and I didn’t endure the years of rationing that my parents and grandparents talked about. Psychologists might suggest that I don’t think myself worthy of such extravagances, but I put it down to the Virgo in me. The organized worrier (I call it "prepared") who continually plans for some dreadful event in the future, such as running out of soap. My children seem to survive this dreaded event on a weekly basis, heaven knows.
Only this morning I was wrapping a baby gift I’d just bought. I went to my stock of beautiful gift bags, pulled out a gorgeous baby-themed one – and then hesitated. “I should really save this”, said Virgo. For what – a member of royalty? A visiting Hollywood A-lister? It’s not that I didn’t think my friend and her baby warranted such a gorgeous bag. Indeed, I would probably have gone and hand-made something even more fabulous. It’s just this need always to have things in stock “just in case”. I know it’s ridiculous. Even more so because at my age, not a lot of my friends are even having babies, so the gorgeous bag might otherwise never see the light of day.
If you were to peek into the closets/cupboards in my house, you'd see nine large, empty juice bottles. You see, if you cut them and sand the edges they make great bath toys; we also use them to collect coins for charity. I have been planning to give them out to friends in a fund-raising effort, but every time I leave the house I forget them. I also collect wipe boxes, large and small. They are great as drawer dividers, small toy holders, button boxes and a host of other things. We have more wipe boxes than Huggies, but I can’t throw one out “just in case” –what, the others all spontaneously combust? Another closet houses a stack of nice paper napkins. They are mainly Thanksgiving and Christmas themed, although I have a few really thick ones with “Cheers” written on them. Why are they still there? Okay, most of the time I forget about them because they are squirreled away, but even when I remember, I shove them back in their place “just in case”. As we all know, Thanksgiving and Christmas have a tendency to sneak up un-announced from time to time!
Like many others, I have the ornate wedding china, which has been used about three times in our 18 year marriage. I would love to bring it down and eccentrically use it morning, noon and night, but with three kids rampaging around the house, and the price per place-setting doubling every year, I just can't take that step. The “just in case” madness even extends to food. In my pantry right now, is a fairly high end jar of raspberry conserve. I actually bought it for my family’s consumption (in a weak, Jilly Cooperesque moment) but it very quickly occurred to me that I might be short of a hostess gift in the future, so I’m holding on to it. The fact that I have the social life of a cloistered nun apparently makes no difference to the Virgoan hoarder in me.
So from now on, I'm going to try to use all the "gorgeous" stuff I have on a more regular basis. After all, we can't take it with us. I may need cognitive behavioural therapy to achieve this, but by god I'm going to try. Knowing my luck however, I'll break out in a full body rash from the posh soaps I have stored for too long.