Valuing Space

8 Nov 2023

I spent yesterday cleaning a guinea-pig hutch, cage, playpen and toys. It’s amazing how many items one buys for two small rodents.

We no longer have guinea-pigs and, as part of our decluttering process, it’s time to get rid of their paraphernalia. I don’t want to take it all to the dump, and I’m not sure a charity shop would want them, so we’ve decided to try to sell them. In fact, we’ve done a deal with my daughter that, if she does the work of selling them, she can have the proceeds towards the travelling she hopes to do in the summer.

I thought the things were pretty much clean enough, but for my daughter, they had to be near immaculate, so she could sell them “as new,” or at least “excellent.” She wants to get the best price possible.

All this cleaning, however, taking photographs and uploading the items onto Facebook Marketplace, takes a lot of effort. At one point, looking at me over a bowl of soapy water, she asked plaintively, “Couldn’t we just get guinea-pigs again? It would be less work!”

How much do we value space? Getting rid of clutter is costly, both emotionally, and in the time and work it takes. Even the stress of loading up my car to the gunnels with stuff for the charity shop, driving there and then parking on the pavement to unload, is stressful. I’m always afraid I will get a ticket for illegal parking, just in that five minutes. Then I’m scared the charity shop might not want to take what I’ve brought. They especially don’t want books, I’ve discovered.

Sifting through paperwork is time-consuming yet vital. Yesterday, in a pile of papers I had thought to recycle, I found the original copy of my grandfather’s will. He died in 1972, but because he left some money in trust, and we’re just about to change the trustees, we still need it.

Our house is full of the detritus left in the wake of death. Even though we had sold the house my parents-in-law had lived in for fifty years, and they were in a care home, there is still a surprising amount of “Stuff” left in their wake. It must all be sorted through, and decisions made as to what to keep, and where to keep it, and what to dispose of, and where?

Sometimes it all seems too much. I wasn’t entirely joking when I suggested to my husband that we get a big skip.

It’s tempting to throw up our hands in despair and to do nothing, yet having so much clutter it’s difficult to get from one end of the house to the other creates much more stress than does biting the bullet and getting rid of it.

Already one end of my erstwhile studio is clear, and the feeling of space is wonderful. There is still the other half and all of the dining room to clear but at least I feel we have made a start.

And now, if anyone would like a guinea-pig cage – immaculate condition, do let me know in the comments. Free delivery in Cambridgeshire.


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