The magpie syndrome

The closet is a veritable treasure trove of needless articles, a junkyard.

Reduce, down-size, simplify is my motto and I go about it with great fervor and single-mindedness. But very often, obstructive people put spokes in my wheel, preventing me from achieving my objective.

Frequently, I hear the two words, ‘Keep it!’ hissed at me in urgency just as I’m about to discard something as unnecessary as assorted rusty nails. When I raise my eyebrows in enquiry, the response is, ‘It will come in useful.’ May be, but when?  And until that distant date, junk of every sort and description clutters a closet especially reserved for ‘things that may come in useful some day.’ That closet is a veritable treasure trove of needless articles, a junkyard.

When the tower bolt for a door had to be replaced, I was given a plastic bag with the injunction, ‘Don’t throw it away,’ as if it were a rare diamond. ‘Put it in the closet.’ When I cast a disapproving look at it, I was asked, ‘In what way does it bother you? And how much space will it occupy?’ It bothers me because I am against clutter. As for occupying space the closet meant for ‘future use’ things is chock full.

It has odd nuts and bolts, wire and flex of different lengths and thicknesses, cardboard boxes of different shapes and sizes, empty squeeze bottles, plastic containers, sockets and switches, locks without keys and keys without locks, etc., etc. The collection is quite eclectic, thanks to the magpie syndrome. This, despite my making use every opportunity to get rid of things lying unused over the years. If something stored carefully is not needed for three months, it is not likely to be needed at all. But when I express my view, I am shouted down by a brute majority. So precious rubbish  continues to accumulate.

Here is a classic case. I received an artistically wrapped gift. I was going to open it when it was whisked from my hands. ‘You are a clumsy creature. Let me show you how to unwrap it.’ And the expert proceeded to demonstrate his skill. First he snipped the adhesive tape that at the ends of the box and slid out the bubble wrap containing the gift. He did some more snipping , delicately spread out the pretty paper. He removed the creases, rolled it and slipped an elastic band round it to prevent it from unrolling. Then, with a lord-of-the-manner-bestowing- largesse air, he handed it to me for safe keeping!

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