The Clearout

There is something mightily satisfying about rummaging through all the accumulated possessions one acquires over a period of time. But the best part is the “why the hell did I want to keep that?” moment of realisation that often creeps through my mind.

For example, the drawers in this desk that my PC is on contained a number of things that I’d find it difficult to get rid of. For example, two old diaries from years gone by (well, 2004 and 2005). But it also contained an empty A4 pad. Probably the first one I used at University. But I can’t for the life of me work out why I would have finished using all the paper in the pad and then put it into this drawer of sentimentality. It was probably a mistake. It’s essentially a piece of cardboard. Maybe I could smell my fear as I did my maths assessments last year on the paper that used to be reside inside it…

I doubt it. So that was binned. Joining it in the recycling pile were endless wodges of paper concerning me moving to Hull in the first place, and all the other stuff relating to me joining University. Then endless “How To Write An Essay” guides that I’d stuffed away and have not looked at since. The problem is that almost every module likes to give me this kind of stuff, so I have a habit of filing them away in the hope that one day I might look at it. Then when it comes to writing essays I tend to do them in the way I’ve always done it – taking lots of notes from lots of books and then spinning it all together. It seems to work. Maybe I should be writing these guides instead. One particular lunatic lecturer (who has now sadly moved on… to another University) produced an 80 page (it could be more, I forget) guide to writing an essay. One of these was distributed to every first year. Won’t somebody think of the rainforests?

So it has been quite liberating to unburden myself of masses of rubbish. There is also the occasional diamond in the rough, such as finding letters from my family, or looking back at old photos that I’d brought with me. I have managed to organise my paperwork into three piles: the urgent stuff, the stuff that might become urgent, and the sentimental stuff.

Sentimentality is a strange concept really. Chances are I’m never going to look at any of these things ever again. But I can’t chuck them out. I used to hoard a lot more items than I do now (see first paragraph!) but I suppose keeping old cinema tickets and essay submission receipts is still taking it a little too far. It does, however, contain a copy of The Independent newspaper on the day I first moved to Hull (September 11th no less) which was a fascinating discovery. I’d totally forgotten I’d kept that. That newspaper kept me company on the drive to Hull as I left home. I’ll never be able to get rid of that. I suspect I’ll write more about that when I finally get to Youth Review: 19-20.

But it’s taken me two days to sort my stuff out. I’m now extremely close to finishing, but I don’t have enough boxes, so most things are stacked up, waiting to put into something bigger. I don’t feel particularly sad about leaving… in fact, I’ve been waiting for this moment for ages now. I’ve already said goodbye to one of my housemates, who left earlier today. I’ll probably seem them again at some point, or maybe they are going to turn into another promised future reunion that never happens, adding more people to the list of those we cross paths with in life and then never see again.

So the clearout is spanning not just the physical, but also the emotional parts of my brain tied to this location. They’re all being disconnected… it’s hard to believe that I have spent nearly two years of my life in Hull, and I’ll be back for another one next year. It’s never really been a home, but I’ve become quite fond of the place. Including the bastard who drives up and down the tenfoots on his 4mph scooter making a hell of a noise. But this year has been much better than the last, and I am really grateful of that. Now I have to go upsetting the peace I’ve made to continue going forward in life. I suppose that’s just another lesson that we all have to learn, and it’s one I’ve definitely accepted since I came here.

My life’s possessions, both useful and not, are slowly gathering near the door of my room. Tomorrow, they will pass through it and out of this house for the final time. Essentially, I’m moving back home… which is a strange thought. Then I’ll be moving back out again in September. Then I’ll be back May 2007, only to leave again in the following September. And then I’ll return once more in May 2008.

And to think my mum thought I was gone for good in September 2004…

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