By now we’re pretty much (re-)settled in the rural idyll that is west Oxfordshire. We’ve almost entirely finished cleaning the old house—a nightmare to do anything with, as the slightest act of leaning on something to give it a bit of a wipe knocks something else off—and there’s now no furniture there that has not been dismantled. Everything we own has been squeezed into a two-up, two-down terrace with shed and attic. This has come as something of a shock after spending two years in a three-bedroomed gable end with loft conversion and enormous end-of-garden bespoke shedoid construction.
Still, the move gave us opportunity and motivation to get rid of an awful amount of stuff. An enormous Nygård dining table, expanding to seven foot long if startled, is last on the list, about to depart from the other house as soon as Animal Sanctuary Don picks up the bits. It follows hot on the heels of a flimsy if tall chest of drawers, a bodged-together computer table (I cut it a new keyboard tray: it was that much of a mess), our futon-cum-sofa and two bedside cabinets.
Where a gap was left in our life by their departure (if not a physical space to accompany the functional one) we’ve managed to fill it with something from Ikea, finally spending the vouchers we were given for getting married. So maybe we didn’t strictly speaking get rid of everything on that list, but rather sometimes swapped it for the equivalent, working, newer version; but alongside furniture trading were many trips to charity shops with books, tapes, slightly out of date electronics, stationery, enormous speakers, a bass guitar, crockery and anything else we decided we’d really had enough of.
Now, as we start to unpack boxes onto shelves, we find that we’ve almost got enough space for everything. Almost. All that stops us from packing the attic to the beams, leaving our living area a Scandinavian minimalist dream, is that the attic isn’t actually fully boarded: yet. K. swears that when we finally get round to re-insulating it and putting down proper boards, she’ll take the opportunity to empty out and charityshop as much of her remaining ephemera as she can emotionally cope with parting from. Personally, I’m going to take the opportunity to stuff as much remaining clutter out of site as our straining beams will hold.