Today, for the author at least, is a Red Letter Day. Some might think tomorrow would have been more appropriate, after all that is the day that local jazz fusion band Red Letter release their first single, but I am only willing to go so far to make my life (and this blog) fit neatly into some broader narrative.
I moved to my current, modestly proportioned (OK, let’s be honest and say small) flat in Southampton a little over 3.5 years ago. At that time, I hired a storage unit for 8 weeks to facilitate the donwisizing process of the move from a reasonably-sized two bedroom house with loft and garden. Today, a mere 160 weeks later I have finally emptied that same storage unit.
This is not a great advertisement for my project management skills, having overrun the time budget by a factor of 20 and the financial budget by an even larger multiplier. I believe that the costs of storing my junk exceeded its value many months ago – and given that I have needed to access almost none of it in 42+ months, I clearly had little (or no) need for most of it.
A serious attempt to empty the unit started last year, and I was making good progress – or that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. However, then came injury to my right foot and “the limp” and progress came to a halt as the process of transferring the unit’s contents to pastures new was wholly reliant on my ability to carry it (on foot) to its new home. You will probably be entirely uninterested to know (given that no-one has asked) that whilst not fully restored, my right foot is much better and it can now perform most of its historic roles without bringing pain to its owner.
Given the last couple of weeks have been relatively dry (bar the occasional shower of sleet), I have been slowly emptying out room 3535 (the site of my secret shame). A small proportion of its contents have been allowed into the flat, rather more have gone to the charity shop and the balance are on their way to landfill or recycling. Given Southampton’s less than stellar recycling performance, I fear much of the rubbish will be making a small contribution to a new range of hills for Hampshire. Still, in the dystopian future, which can only be months away now, landfill sites will provide valuable resources for the few, remaining humans as they scavenge a meagre existince from the ruined land. Some local strong man (or woman or LGBTQA-equivalent) will be able to provide for their people from my once expensively-housed discards.
Just before noon today, the last items left storage and I signed out of the storage facility for the last time. What a liberating experience! The storage monkey is finally off my back! I will be £146.16 per month better off from now on (I had to fact-check this sentence and was horrified to discover just how much the storage has been costing me, even more than I thought!).
Let this be a lesson to you all of the terrible cost of procrastination and the dangers of leaving your problems out of sight (if a mere 5 minutes walk away). My life will in future operate on a strict one-in-one-out policy when it comes to possessions (though I will probably operate a batch process to minimise the admin). Actually, it will need to be slightly more sophisticated than a mere count (a duke?), the volume of the one(s) coming in and the one(s) going out will need to be balanced. I must never again by tempted by the convenience of a loft, or worse yet garage or other outhouse.
I think that I will implement a new plan that by the time I shuffle off this mortal coil, my remains – including all my worldly goods – should fit into the one box of a little more than 6 feet in length. In that way, those that come after me will not have a huge disposal task, but can instead treat all my junk as slightly exotic grave goods and inhume them with the rotting physical shell of their owner. I recognise that there could be some timing issues with this plan, but I’ve spent much of my working life predicting the future which means I am quietly confident about estimating my own best before date (yes, I am aware that it could be behind me).