Do you live in a perpetual mess? We do, I spend my waking hours constantly picking stuff up to prevent accidents. The situation is made worse because I am the worlds worst hoarder, I cant help myself as I really cannot bear to waste anything, its an affliction which once meant that there was a room in our house which we couldn’t get into. Seriously. Anyhow, I have spent the best part of the past two years trying to clear things out and I think slowly its an improving situation. I’m just blighted with children’s toys which seem to multiply n small parts almost as soon as they are taken out of the box. So much so, that I’ve turned down 90% of the requests we get to review toys because quite simply we cant have anymore and the children are not very good at passing them on.
One of my on going ‘jokes’ is that we wouldn’t know if we were burgled, so much stuff is strewn about anyway. And so that joke backfired when this week we actually were burgled. I cant really go into too much detail, suffice to say for me the biggest clue was the open patio door and some other unusual items in the middle of our living room floor (amongst the toy cars and track).
People say that when you are burgled the biggest thing is the feeling of intrusion into your space and how that makes you feel vulnerable. I didn’t get that, although I must admit that as time passes I am feeling increasingly vulnerable and fire exit plans have been lost in favour of security. For me, it was a feeling of shock, not because we had been burgled but because they had, amongst other things, emptied every single thing we own onto the floor. The sheer quantity of stuff was the shocking thing. Clothes I haven’t worn since pre-university days (over 20 years ago), that sort of thing.
I’ll be honest, we have so much general stuff that it has been both a chore and a worry working out what has gone. Some of it I would think we wont ever even remember, that’s the trouble with accumulated clutter. I think its an inherited thing, the hoarding gene because I see it in my son who has a bedroom bursting with clutter of which about 2% has any meaning to him and the rest might be useful one day.
For me, sorting out the aftermath of this week is going to be a long hard slog, yes there are the battles with the insurance over what damage they will pay for and whether we can prove what we had but also its the sorting through and sorting out. When your entire life is on the floor in a jumble it forces a sort out, but that’s difficult with three children for whom you want to downplay the situation to. My cupboards which were messy, but had some level of organisation are now complete rammed jumbles of stuff; knickers with jumpers, lego with socks. Its a chore to deal with at the best of times, at the moment it seems insurmountable.
Then there is the question at the back of my mind: why us? Our house is very secure, more so than lots of the others in the street. Its been a stressful few years and this is yet another notch to add to the ‘woes’. Yes, as our neighbour remarked, I’m taking it remarkably well. But what choice do you have? I’m working on the principle of what doesn’t break you makes you harder and that it is all part of the rich tapestry of life. And anyway, for me, I realised this week that the school run is the worst possible thing in terms of anxiety. That night, lying in bed with three scared children pressed up beside me, all I could think about was whether someone was going to eyeball me at the school gates and who would be sniggering and secretly glad about my misfortune. I think that says quite a lot about my life and what needs to change.