Charity begins at home, so why not clear out yours today? Will Milner gets stuck in
Looking back, I am a little surprised I bought a pair of tweed trousers in the first place. I don’t shoot, fish, garden or hunt foxes, so the opportunity for me to wear tweed rarely arises, particularly in the year-round sunshine of Dubai. Woollen trousers and sand dunes don’t really go.
Instead of entering my personal clothing hall of fame, the offending (and I don’t use the word loosely) trousers have sat unworn in my wardrobe for two years. Alongside breakdancing pants, jogging shorts and football boots. All items bought with the best of intentions in a moment of shopping over-enthusiasm.
All unused beyond a half-hearted early foray into a new look, hobby or style. I really should just throw them away. But I can’t, because I hoard things. I can’t stand getting rid of anything unless there is a good reason. You’d think the fact that the trousers make me look like Mr Toad of Toad Hall would be enough. But it isn’t.
In the back of my mind I can’t help but think that if I just hang on until my hair turns grey, I grow a moustache and add another 10 inches to my waistline, then tweed trousers are going to come in handy. They might even look good. So they’re taking up valuable storage space in my apartment.
If it were just clothes, it wouldn’t be so bad. But I also have more than 30 takeaway menus in my flat – none of which I will ever call and ask to deliver. I have more than 350 books in my flat – none of which I ever intend to re-read. I have more than 30,000 emails in my inbox. I could delete them all now and my life would be no different. Except it would. As soon as I dispose of this stuff, I will instantly need it. This fear of consequence is what keeps hoarders going.
I derive no pleasure from the cupboards full of rubbish I am generating. I couldn’t call any of it a collection. It is just there. At least it was. But the boxes have started to overflow, drawers are not closing properly and my wardrobe has an unsightly collection of Hawaiian shirts sticking out of the door. So I’ve become a donator instead of a hoarder.
Charity collection points and second-hand clothing stores are getting a weekly bag of goodies from me. It’s a win-win situation. I get my apartment back, a charity receives a much-needed boost and some lucky shopper gets a good-as-new pair of trousers. I just hope they enjoy them more than I have. Will Milner is Time Out Group’s online editor.