Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Bored Games (or How Not to Go Minimalist in One Day)
A friend who has an admittedly small collection of books on how to declutter tells me that in order to do it properly you have to completely empty the room.
I did that the other day, after Mr T. the Decorator arrived on the doorstep asking if he could bring forward the proposed work on my sitting room. Bring it forward to the next day, he thought, whereas I had been thinking about it sometime in a couple of months, maybe when it was warmer, when the light was stronger, when I could possibly face the upheaval.
So, of course, I said 'Yes'.
And promptly broke all my New Year Non-Resolutions by climbing on a ladder to empty the top shelves of a high ceilinged room.
Down came the board games, the jigsaws deemed impossible, the big old art books of Flemish painters, the catalogues of exhibitions long past, the tattered story-book relics of my childhood with illustrations that I may want to look at again, my father's collection of books on wine (one of my sons might want them) and countless other treasures I haven't seen for years.
The room was emptied in a few hours. Decluttering is easy.
Stuff is dumped on the kitchen table, on the stairs, in the hall, in the study. On the kitchen table sit several clocks, a Victorian desk-set, a collection of cast-iron money boxes, a couple of tea-caddies, a big brass candle-stick, an Edwardian writing cabinet and a box my father made in order to impress my mother when they became engaged.
Do I want to keep them?
Yes. Of course I do, even if the clocks keep different times and chime throughout the night. The brass candlestick was a Christening present, the iron money boxes came from a family foundry.
In the study is a great cardboard carton of board games, some probably missing essential playing pieces. I will have to check them all.
My experience of Monopoly is that it goes on far too long and brings out the worst in competitive people. A board game that very quickly becomes a bored game for me. Monopoly can go to a charity shop, and so can many of the others, except for Pictionary, which is funny and fast and not very competitive unless you really want it to be.
I look at Escape From Atlantis, complete with its Atlantean Swirler, six each of sharks, sea-monsters, octopuses and dolphins, twelve boats with sails, 37 different plastic sections to build an island, and no less than 48 Atlantean tribesmen in four different colours. The little tribesmen must escape the sinking island and get to the safety of the coral reef, through a sea laced with danger.
Ah, the memories.... of wet afternoons in the caravan when it took half an hour just to set up the board, and less than a second for a frustrated loser to kick the table and collapse the lot.
Atlantis must stay, and Jenga and Scrabble even though I now play Scrabble on-line (anyone want to play?). There are a few other interesting things, when I look again. Othello is good, and someone might fancy Trivial Pursuit again one day.
The carton becomes marginally lighter,
The books, of course, are a different matter. What I will do is look at each one before I decide if it goes back on a shelf in the freshly decorated room or, possibly, to a charity shop.
Then there are the jigsaws. There are a couple by Thomas Kincade, Painter of Light with fiendishly complex villages and harbours full of twinkly lamplight. I do not like to be defeated by a jigsaw, so I might keep them for when the weather is too bad for me to get into the garden.......