real life

The 14 things in my house that I should probably get rid of.

I can’t help it.

I’d describe my decorating style as eclectic. It’s kind of shabby but not exactly chic. There’s an element of dishevelment involved.

I own a lot of… things. I’ve always loved things. I’d hoard marbles and collect stickers as a kid. I had great difficulty parting with stuffed toys.

The other day though, my partner told me our bedroom and my laissez faire approach to organising my things in it sometimes “makes me sad”.


I felt terrible.

I guess I’m a bit of a hoarder. Don’t get me wrong, there are no dead cats slowly decomposing under piles of newspapers in our lounge room. You can’t catch bacterial infections from our bathroom.

However, there are quite a number of things I have hanging around our home, things I’ve hauled from house to house for years, that maybe, possibly, I don’t need anymore.

Here is a small selection of those things. My secret shame.

1. Cheese and chocolate fondue set.

For sale: one unused fondue set.

When is a fondue a fon-don’t? When you have never, ever even taken your fondue set out of its box, that’s when.

2. Rolls of old film

What mysteries are contained within these rolls of film? Probably just underage drinking and pictures of my dog.

I have no idea what’s on these rolls of old film. Absolutely none. I do know that whatever they are, they would have been taken before I was 19 years old, and frankly, it might be best to just let sleeping dogs lie.

3. Crap jewellery

A small selection of some of my crappier pieces of jewellery.

A Girl Scouts charm from my Brownie days (aged eight? 10?), a pair of frog earrings from my frog phase (age: about 12), a pentagram from my brief Wiccan period (an angsty 14; I swear I once voodooed my stepmother into setting her sleeve on fire. MAGICK!) and an ear cuff, from my Sportsgirl stage (still sometimes in it).

4. Sailor Moon alarm clock

She is the one! Sailor Moon!

This monstrosity hasn’t sung its morning tune for many, many years. Even when my favourite pastime was trading Sailor Moon cards with my best friend, I couldn’t stand the sound it makes.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Sailor Moon theme song (how embarrassing for you), but it’s a tinny version of that, interspersed with Ms Moon herself yelling “Wake up!” and “Good morning!” in an impossibly chirpy voice.

I’ve never been a morning person but Sailor Moon had her batteries removed quick smart.

5. What You Wear Can Change Your Life, by Trinny and Susannah.

If you want to know how to look like you were cryogenically frozen in the year 2000, buy this book.

I’d like to say that this book came to me free from a publisher and I took it for the lolz but actually, from the Berkeleow Books price sticker, it seems I paid the grand sum of $13.95 for it. I probably pored over it and wondered whether I could get away with a bolero.

The fashion is laughably dated and the writing is also delightfully bitchy. “If you’re looking for Mr Right, get rid of those clothes that make you look like you’ve always got your period.” It’s good advice.

6. Outdated electronics

These were once considered cutting-edge.

These items (an old hard-drive from a crashed computer, my beloved discman, Discy, a camera that takes four mega-pixel photos and an iPhone 3 with a screen so smashed you can’t see it properly) belong in the Smithsonian.

Yet they remain in my bottom drawer, along with their various charging cords and other paraphernalia.

7. Mix CDs; all other CDs

#6 is a really sweet mix.

As my boyfriend has been impressing on me for quite some time, CDs are now defunct. My laptop doesn’t even have a disc drive. None of these CDs are labelled, except for helpful things like #2 or Alex’s Mix but I can tell you what’s on them. AWESOME TUNES, that’s what!


After graduating to CDs and no longer having to tape songs off the radio and stop them before the stupid announcer started talking over the final chords, I went crazy for mixed CDs. I also have hundreds and hundreds of other CDs.

I can’t get rid of them. That’s my YOUTH right there!

8. Zombie finger puppets.

I’m missing some! Has anyone seen them?

These were acquired from a friend for Secret Santa. Sadly, several appear to be missing, so you can understand why I’ve held on to these remaining three.

9. Old wallets complete with contents (but no money).

Wallets from past lives.

These wallets are like time capsules. One has my Sydney Uni library card in it. Another still has two debit cards. A third was stolen in Italy and returned to me by the Australian embassy a year later. In it, there are phone numbers from Greek boys (hi Nicos and Stavros! I hope you found that treasure you were looking for!), bus tickets, loyalty cards for crappy bars and 20 Euro cents.

The most recent one has amusing business cards belonging to friends and my New York Metro card. It’s as though I ditched each wallet at the end of a period of my life, got a brand-new one and set off in some other direction.

10. Cat scratching posts, etc.

My cat is an ungrateful little wretch.

I own one cat, but three increasingly elaborate scratching posts. He has never willingly touched any of them. The fanciest one I made my boyfriend pick up off the side of the road. Some fool was getting rid of it! The kitty was going to love, love, love it!

Long-suffering boy disagreed, but he allowed me to learn the lesson on my own. Ernie, our cat, a good-natured little guy, becomes completely beside himself with panic if I approach this piece of equipment while holding him and squirms until I put him down, whereupon he gets as far away from it as possible and shoots me reproachful looks.

11. Keys from almost every house I’ve ever lived in.

Anyone living in the Glebe area, change your locks.

When we moved out of my childhood home, I was devastated. My parents had divorced, dad had an evil new girlfriend and everything had gone down the toilet. I kept my key because I just couldn’t bear to part with it.

It’s a tradition I’ve kept up in each remaining home I’ve lived in. I don’t know how I’ve avoided returning keys to real estate agents. I don’t know which key is for which house. But I have eight keys for houses around Sydney (sometimes I watch you while you sleep), all on a Powerpuff Girls key-ring.

12. Collection of salt-and-pepper shakers (mostly shaped like cats)

Part of my super-cool salt-and-pepper shaker collection.

This is probably the least cool thing I do (there were so many to choose from).

Collecting novelty salt-and-pepper shakers is something I’ve been doing for years, and you should see me when I find some unusual ones! Now that’s a party.

13. Boxes of cards.

It looks as though these cards were intended for a small child but actually I received them for my last birthday.

Christmas cards, birthday cards, post cards — I keep them all. I’m not sure why, I guess it just seems rude to throw out something with heartfelt words like, “Merry Christmas Alex. Have a great new year. Love, Stu (from IT).”

I am particularly attached to the ones from my grandmother, which almost ALWAYS have cats on the front, even though she doesn’t even like them. She’s great.

14. DVDs of cruelly underrated films.

The Cable Guy is Jim Carrey’s best work, I don’t care what anyone says.

Well, no one’s denying the the Bill and Ted films were brilliant, but where’s the love for Moonlight and Valentino? It was some of Bon Jovi’s finest works. Or my all-time favourite Three Men and a Baby (Three Men and a Little Lady is a close second)?

My boyfriend jokes that he entered our relationship with a cup and a t-shirt, but it’s not that far off. Now that mi casa is his casa, mi stuff is now also his stuff.

So what do you think? Should I get rid of some of this junk?