Saturday, 9 May 2015

Liberty - Enemy of the Hoarder

My daughter Liberty is a first class declutterer. Nothing would give her more pleasure than entering into the home of a chronic hoarder and barking the order Get Rid of It! as she regards with disdain each and every one of your 'treasures'. She has been extremely brutal with my treasures and extremely useful.

I invited her round initially to help me sort out the massive collection of children's books that had belonged to her and her sisters and had been handed down and put away for my little ones. We are a book loving family but when there are too many to choose from, pages are yellowed, spines damaged and covers dated... it ceases to be a pleasure. With the efficiency of a school librarian (which she was, briefly) she worked her way through the mountain of books and sorted them into three piles: keep, charity shop, recycle. I did not question her judgement.

Once the charity shop had taken their share and the paper recycling skip was a little fuller, we were left with a manageable pile of lovely books that fitted neatly onto the bookshelf space available and seven year old Addy immediately dived in and began browsing the titles to find some bedtime reading material. Exactly the result I was looking for.

Actually, I did overrule one of Liberty's decisions. She was adamant that the complete Harry Potter collection was a keeper. She was of the generation that grew up with Hogwarts and hungrily devoured each new school year as it was published. Personally, I loved the first three books but found the later volumes a chore. I am happy for my little ones to watch the films when they are ready and will buy the books for kindle if they show any interest. Books 1-3 take up an acceptable amount of space on the shelf. The rest have now gone. Sorry Liberty.

The little ones 'help' sort out the bookshelves

Sorting the books for me served only to whet Liberty's appetite. My husband clung possessively to his Peter Tosh CD as she scorned his musical taste and emptied our CD racks! She had me close to tears as she made me choose just one bat biscuit cutter out of the five I had collected.

Actually, my biscuit cutter collection was an embarrassment. I had carefully organised them into three large tins, eight plastic takeaway food containers, a plastic basket and a few loose ones. They took up  almost an entire cupboard. Nobody needs that many biscuit cutters. As Liberty sorted through them with the speed of an express train, I found myself saying - that one can go, I can never get the cookie dough out of it in one piece or that one can go, the head always falls off when I take it off the baking tray or what is that one supposed to be anyway? An owl? A rocket? Seriously, why had I held onto so many 'not fit for purpose' cutters anyway! We reduced my Xmas cutters to the ones I use every year and the Hallowe'en collection to the best of the different types, discarding all the cats because the tails never work.

Shortly after the decimation of my biscuit cutter hoard, daughter Taylor and her boyfriend came home from Uni and cooked a three course meal here at my house for my husband, myself and the boyfriend's parents. They planned a Mexican themed dinner with the star of the show being a dessert they had created to look like nachos but with biscuit tortilla chips, chocolate sauce salsa and grated white chocolate cheese. When Taylor asked me if I had a triangle biscuit cutter I immediately said Yes. Then I remembered Liberty's work. Maybe. It didn't take long to look through my new improved streamlined cutter collection to find that  the answer was No - my triangle cutter had not been elite enough to survive the cull. I was ready to cry and question the sanity of ever throwing away anything that you had considered good enough to buy in the first place when Taylor picked up a square cutter that  Liberty had spared and brightly suggested she could use that and cut it on the diagonal. That works! Crisis averted and the nacho inspired dessert was magnificent.

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