Noelle McCarthy: Out with the old

By Noelle McCarthy

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Three weeks after returning from my trip to Ireland, I finally finished emptying my suitcase. There wasn't much left, in fairness - I unpacked the bulk of it as soon as I came home. But there were a few stray bits and pieces still knocking around this morning, the flotsam and jetsam of every trip, those sad little artefacts you don't seem to need urgently, or at all.

For me, it's three pairs of woolly socks I brought to Ireland with me, a big bag of cheap earrings I foolishly harvested in New Look and a neon pink beanie I couldn't go past in Forever 21. I was exceptionally jet-lagged when I saw it, which is why I couldn't go past it, even though wearing neon pink around my face makes me look bilious and possibly insane.

These odds and ends I finally decanted this morning, along with a small bottle of holy water my mother snuck in there before I left her house so that my plane wouldn't go down. They're sitting in my bedroom now, in a small pathetic pile in the middle of my room. Neon and holy and useless to me. There they will stay, bothering me with their utter redundancy until I decide what to do with them all.

The irony of this is that the only reason I cleared the suitcase was so I could refill it again with all the other redundant crap I emptied out of it so I could go abroad.

I have too much stuff. I try hard to be a discerning and ethical shopper, but stuff sneaks up on me, no matter how much I try to stream-line the load.

I say "sneaks up on me" - these are weasel words. I have too much stuff because I buy stuff constantly. I left the house to buy flowers today and I came back with a bikini and a Karen Walker cashmere top. In my defence, the pub around the corner had a garage sale. If you can walk past second-hand Karen Walker cashmere in canary yellow for $50 then more power to you. Evidently, I cannot.

But now I am home, with the new jumper and a suitcase that has been emptied, but is bulging once more. Stuff I don't want, stuff that doesn't suit me. Stuff I bought in garage sales of yore.

Summer is coming and it's time for a clear-out. I get bored with smug ninnies telling me how I'll feel lighter in my heart if I clear out my closets. I don't like being preached to about decluttering and considering how much joy precious things can bring, I don't think there's anything wrong with having an archive of clothes. But there's something terribly oppressive in having stuff pile up on you, especially when the purchases weren't the wisest in the first instance. It's bin bags tomorrow - look out for a neon pink beanie at the hospice shop.


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