Over the last few days, I should have been throwing out the detritus of the last ten years of my life.
Actually, it's been the last forty or more years.
My undergraduate essays. My finals revision notes. Even some of my sixth form essays. My unfinished PhD thesis. That was really hard. All the card index boxes, the fieldwork diaries, the boxes and boxes of taped interviews with insiders. It was going to be quite ground-breaking. But I set off down another path, and idly nursed the idea that I was going to sit down and complete it one day. I thought it was that good. And no-one's ever gone down that research path.
So it did take me twenty two years to come to terms with the fact that, no, I was just not going to do that. If I feel like acquiring a doctorate, it'd be a lot faster and quicker to start from scratch.
Then there were my books.
The problem is this.
I'm moving from a three bedroom house with a large converted loft to a two bedroom flat with very little storage space. It'll only work as a home if it's kept fairly minimalist.
I've had a lifetime of never doing minimalist.
I grew up in a household where nothing was ever thrown out. You know the sort of thing. Brown paper bags and little bundles of string ready for re-use.
But in my case, I grew up knowing that saving your papers saved your life. Because my mother had been able to produce this, that or the other document... that had been part of the reason my parents survived. Hoarding was burned into my consciousness.
Besides, I came of age in the sixties, and was radicalised by the seventies, when Walter Benjamin's essay on Unpacking My Library was the manifesto of the would be intellectual. Have I read every book in my library? Of course not. One keeps books for...one does not know what or when.
There's nothing like downsizing your house to bring you face to face with the consequences of that.
So that's part of it. And I've loved this house I'm leaving more than any other I ever lived in. It's quite unreal to think someone else will own it by Friday.
The nightmare I'm facing is the period of chaos which will happen when all those packing cases get delivered to the new flat. Because I still haven't been able to get rid of nearly enough.
So I've been quietly whingeing about it to some of my friends. It was nice to know that Imshin has been there too, and like me, she was inspired by the BBC's Life Laundry series in which a calm, laid back guru comes to sort out hoarders who make me look like Ms Neat Freak. But, oh, do I wish that she and her team were on hand tonight.
I wouldn't want you to think there isn't a really positive side to this.
I'm moving to a street where you can see a field of cows and horses across the main road. And there's a really good Israeli cafe--it's almost always packed--just on the corner.
Perhaps I'm still in shock and denial. I keep saying it's traumatic, but apart from waking up at four am, I seem fairly calm and laid back.
But I must see what more I can put on the skip (my second skip) before the removal men arrive to start packing tomorrow.
So the computer system will disappear into the van, and I probably won't have much online access over the next two weeks. Maybe some dial up now and then.
I'll do my best.