Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Little Things

An elastic band, some paper clips, two keys, some buttons, three charity badges, a referee's whistle... these are just some of the stupid little things I came across when clearing out the room I'm going to use when I'm working from home.

OK, paper clips and elastic bands, I have a home for them where they can be returned to the bosom of their families. These two were obviously seized with a fit of wanderlust, wanting to see some of the world before settling down to a nice steady job, holding documents together. Maybe they eloped. I don't think it will work out though, they're just too different.

And what is it with keys? One is a Yale-type key that does not fit a single one of our locks. Maybe it was a spare we were keeping for my mother's house or something, but she's moved since then, so I bet it doesn't fit. I should throw it away, but what if it turns out to be for something I desperately need to open? Yeah, but it hasn't been needed these many years, has it? No, but still... And so it goes, the key-separation anxiety. The other key is small, for a desk drawer maybe, or a particularly useless bike lock. I have no idea what it's for but I can't chuck it just in case....

Buttons. Loads of clothes I have bought in the past have come with a little plastic bag with a spare button inside, which I have dutifully removed and stored safely against the Day of the Great Lost Button Catastrophe – which has never yet happened, Not once, I might add. The clothes themselves have probably been passed on by now but the buttons remain, pristine in their little baggies. What on earth to do with them?

These little charity badges are fun but ultimately useless. You pay a quid and you get a fun little badge. But just how many badges can a person wear at any one time? My other half keeps buying the Comic Relief Red Noses each year. What the planet of heck are we meant to do with them once the Comic Relief thing has ended for the year? There's a bunch of them in one of my drawers, taking up space and doing no good whatsoever.

The ref's whistle was bought for the lanyard attached to it, which I use for my monocular.  What use is it to keep the whistle in a drawer?  It's not like I could use it to quickly summon help in an emergency situation.  By the time I manage to rummage through the star-crossed stationery, buttons, etc, the house would have burned down/I'd have been hacked to bits by the axe-murderer or whatever.

Maybe I could make an art installation of all these objects. Yes, that's an idea, I could call it something pretentious like Noetic Concordance or Asymptotic Fusion. Maybe next year's Turner prize will be mine.

Why do I hang on to keys that don't fit anything? Store buttons for clothes I don't own anymore? What on earth is wrong with me?

I wish I just had the courage to simply chuck it all away and be done with it

But I don't.

Ideas anyone?


  1. *clears throat...
    I love to use buttons in amongst beads when I make necklaces, they make a nice quirky interlude in there.... also, you'd be suprised how many people have button boxes and drool about all things buttonesque..
    The noses, you could begin a comic relief campaign, creeping about at night, attach them to the noses of public statues, there must be some around to rid the things on.
    Keys... we have a billion of them! they rust away slowly in the bottom of the ronalds nail tin..... useless things.. they haz usiss....
    the art instalation is a good idea too!

  2. Just two keys? The house I rented came with 48 keys. The woman from the agency had no idea what most of them were for, but they keep getting handed down from renter to renter, just in case. I am duty bound to keep track of the whole lot of them and pass them on in my turn. They're mostly in a little box now. Perhaps they will breed in there, if any are still fit enough to do so, and there will be 51 by the time I move out.

  3. nothing at all is wrong with you, you are simply a very common example of the clutter that is people and their "drawer for things that might come in useful/are meant for a particular reason which escapes me at the moment/couldn't possibly be thrown out, ever, at all/reminds me of the time, day, occasion when/etc.

    What makes you think you are different from the rest of us?

    btw, I DID throw out a boxful of keys recently, I had to shut my eyes to do it and never counted them, never tried them in any locks, never asked himself if he knew anything about them; guess what, I am still alive, the world hasn't come to an end and they have not been missed. Yet.

  4. Oh Argent, as usual you are hitting my nail square on the head. I do exactly the same. I have so many keys that do not have locks and I am just to scared to throw one out as I just know as soon as I throw it out, I will need it. Buttons are not a problem as I use them for decoration on bags, cushions, etc.... well okay, I will one day. If anybody gives you workable ideas, please pass them on.

  5. As Tom Jones would sing loudly:

    "It's not unusual it happens every day
    No matter what you say...." etc.

    Clearing the clutter is really therapeutic, healing and sanative - but it takes nerve to really do it well....

  6. @Watercats - I've thought about using buttons decoratively, but most of them aren't that pretty. I had this idea of geting a waistcoat and just covering it with random button all over, but, knowing my luck, it would look rubbish. Putting the noses on public statues has a certain ninja-in-the-dead-of-night appeal though...

    @NanU - Keeper of the keys, eh? Whenyou come to hand them over, you should concoct some kind of legend about them, that it's bad luck to pass on the keyring without adding a key or something. Pesky keys!

    @Friko - I don't seriously think I'm any different from anyone else but sometimes it's nice to be reassured that my peculiarities are not mine alone. How brave to chuck those keys! And you lived? Wow!

    @Human - Want some more buttons? LOL.

    @PhilipH - I am really trying to get de-cluttered, but I think there may be squirrel genes in my ancestry somewhere. I always do feel better for a good clear-out, though.

  7. Sounds like you need a new space for your new working situation. Some sort of clean start, yes? Maybe you don't need to get rid of anything. Perhaps you can add something new to honour the change?

    I'm a chucker. I love throwing away old junk. Sometimes I regret it, but mostly not. Short memory once the object is gone.

  8. I think those who throw stuff out that needs throwing are in a minority. Trouble is, if I chuck stuff out I can rest assured I'll need it soon after. As you say, anxiety. But then, if you don't throw anything out, you can't find anything.

    I find one's hard-drive can end up in the same state


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