Sunday, 4 August 2013

Exorcism of the useless

After a bit of a false start earlier in the year, plans are afoot yet again to move house, and this time we're determined to not throw in the towel and give up on the idea because it's frankly too daunting a process to have to go through. If only buying a house was as simple as buying a car. You could browse HouseTrader.co.uk, make a few calls, view the property, get the bank to transfer the funds and send off the log book. Easy.
But no, the whole thing is tied up with estate agents, solicitors, and any number of bastards who want to make their bit out of your confusion and distress, while making the entire process take far longer than it really should. And because the whole procedure is such an arse-ache too few people want to move house to allow you a decent choice of purchase. You'll never find the perfect house at the right price because someone else lives there and they don't want the aggro of moving.
Consequently we're potentially faced with a long wait for a buyer, and then another long wait to find somewhere we want to live and can afford to buy. Fabulous....

On the up side however, this is the perfect opportunity to have a damn good clear out of all the accumulated crap of the last ten years. Now theoretically there shouldn't be too much of this as I generally work on a five year rule. If it hasn't been used or looked at for five years, it goes.
There are always things that manage to slip through the net though. Things tucked away in drawers that rarely get opened, things that hide in plain sight (just spotted the lava lamp that sits in the corner and NEVER get's switched on), and of course there are those objects that we use frequently even though we hate them but we never get around to replacing with something decent.
No room in the house is this more common than the kitchen. Now I'm happy to say that I've never fallen foul of the dreaded 'Betterware' catalogue with it's thousand and one solutions to problems you never knew you had, although the wife did once and quickly discovered that although the amazing rotary vegetable chopping device failed to revolutionize her life, it did revolutionize the speed at which a brand new product can find it's way into the bin.
Unfortunately, I still end up with crap that doesn't work as it should but I never get around to replacing because as soon as I've tried using the thing, got frustrated with it and shouted at it in the vain hope that that might make it cooperate, it gets washed, dried and put away until the next time I decide to torment myself with it.
The most obvious item that springs to mind here is the garlic press. First there was one that squashed half of the garlic up the side of the plunger so it was wasteful and also unbelievably hard to clean. Then one day I found one that had a removable holey bit that made it easy to clean, but that one had a habit of chucking half-crushed chunks of garlic out the side. The current one is very efficient, but takes half an hour's prodding with a pointy knife to coax all the little bits out when you've finished with it.
I've now given up and just use a sharp knife to finely chop the garlic instead, but I still haven't thrown out the press because you just never know....
Then we have the set of pastry cutters whose sole purpose is to jam the drawer shut whenever I try to open it, and haven't been used since I last made scones about a year ago. Why don't I chuck them out?
Then there's the spaghetti spoon which is about as much use as tits on a fish, and yet every set of kitchen utensils seems to come with one. And let's not forget the enormous collection of plastic containers in a special selection of sizes that prevent them being able to fit inside each other properly, ensuring that they take up the maximum space in the cupboard and fall on your head every time you dare to open the door.
There's also the collection of random crockery which is fine when it's just you, but on those rare occasions when someone comes over for dinner and you don't have enough plates of the same style for everyone it does become faintly embarrassing even though you know it doesn't really matter.

The useless stuff is everywhere, including the conservatory (already there when we moved in) which only stays put because I can't be bothered to take it down and build a nice patio area instead. Why the hell are conservatories so popular? They're too hot in summer, too cold in winter, and on the days when you are able to make use of them, they're full of stupid hoverflies headbutting the roof because they're too stupid to fly out the way they came in. Conservatories are bought by people who want more indoor space but can't afford a proper brick-built extension or to move to a bigger house.
Which brings me back to the latest development of putting the house on the market which I know will involve increasing the mortgage a bit, but that's a small price to pay if we can get away from all the bastard pigeons with their persistent brainless cooing because I can't shoot them all however much I try, and it would be nice if we can find somewhere that isn't built on a giant ant farm.