Sunday, July 31, 2011


I can't sleep. This is annoying because I've been physically toiling all day, and have to be up at a healthy time tomorrow to run fourteen miles before breakfast. I can't sleep because my mind is a turmoil of anxieties, provoked, but not necessarily related to the fact that we're moving house in a day.

I really didn't want to move, not because this house is perfect, but because it's been fewer than eight years since we moved in, and we have no specific reason to move on. I've never electively moved before. Neither of us has undergone a change in circumstances, but we're still moving. I've taken a fortnight off work, cashed in my investments and given up my life savings to make this possible.

It's costing me a lot, so I have attempted to list the tangible benefits to me.

  1. Happy spouse (she gets French windows, a patio, and off-road parking)
  2. Faster, optical, broadband
  3. Bathroom on same floor as bedroom, thus dispensing with mid-night climbs
  4. A garage in which to keep my bicycle, as opposed to cluttering the hallway
  5. An ergonomic kitchen diner
  6. The move has prompted the purchase of a super-king size bed with allegedly intelligent mattress which may assist with uninterrupted sleep
  7. On the rare occasions I drive (usually collecting spouse from evening engagements, or somewhat ironically, when delivering election materials for the Green Party) the off-road parking will, I suppose make this less unpleasant
  8. Life in a bungalow will entail far less shouting from floor to floor
  9. Detached living will grant privacy to epic arguments and piano practice alike
  10. I have significantly edited my possessions
It's the final point that I'm actually happiest about. I've at last had a perfect opportunity to practice the minimalist leanings I've been developing. Getting rid of clutter, and possessions that I served rather than vice versa has felt like defrosting a freezer. Great parasitic chunks have been cleaved off letting circulation and efficiency build. I'm being ruthless and it feels fantastic.

It doesn't matter what I paid for something, how long I've had it, or what it meant to me in the past. The important criterion is whether I need it now. Here are some of the highlights.
  • Three terrestrial VCRs
  • Every VHS cassette in the house
  • Every vinyl LP we owned, including some signed to me
  • The turntable I had stored in the loft because one day I was going to digitise the LPs I couldn't find on CD
  • Music and TV cuttings dating from 1978
  • Magazine back issues
  • Superseded computer equipment, routers, and broadband modems
  • Textbooks
  • Magazines, including those with articles in which I wrote
When we move in, I'm going to carry on. I want my home to be a living, changing place, not a stagnant library, so I'm going to give away hundreds of books. Then, when I've made certain they're all safely ripped to multiple hard drives, I'm going to give away hundreds of CDs as well. Nothing, nothing, is going to be put up in the loft for the rainy day I might need it. That day never comes. 

If only I could declutter my mind of lingering old anxieties just as ruthlessly and rewardingly, then I might be able to sleep.