I NEEDED to get to the butane torch on the top shelf of the garage cupboard last weekend. Nearly killed myself getting there, tripping over the loose electrical cable snaking across the concrete floor from the triple plugged power point that led to the extension cord and then to the power board connected to the cable coiling across from the fluoro light that I had left under the rear wheel of the car still sitting on wheel stands from three weeks ago.
So I thoughtfully coiled the cables and packed the trouble light away on the sharp ended home made S hook threaded thru the middle layer of the Dexion shelving with the metal planks and nearly fell off the milk crate that I was using as a substitute for a step ladder while doing it.
Stepped down hurriedly from the wobbling unbalanced milk crates and grabbed the shelf for support as I fell, bringing down a torrent of star washers from a half closed glass jar.
Bent over to pick them and the broken glass shards up and brained myself on the pointed corner of the half open cupboard door as I straightened up.
Went to get the first aid kit for the bloodied cranium and spilt some kerosene from an open bottle that was on top of it as I tried to prise the once sterile bandages from inside the brittle plastic box that of course shattered into sharp daggers as soon as I picked it up.
Mopped up the kero but got a splinter when I wiped the bench down to go with the glass ones from the jar.
Reached for the surgical kit to get the scalpel and tweezers for the splinters but because I only had one good hand and was by now in a frenzy I got the zip on the surgical kit jammed and hit my funny bone on the vice as I tried to wrench it open in a hurry.
Hopping around with my arm zinging with burning pain and the splinters digging deeper and my head dripping red wine I stubbed my toe on the rusty veteran motorbike sidecar sitting in the middle of my workspace floor because there is nowhere else to store it.
Retiring hurt to a soothing cuppa it seemed a good time to take stock. My shed is full of bits of crap I do not need and will never use. I have old baking trays stacked up because they may one day serve as drip trays. Eleven of them. I will NEVER need eleven drip trays. I have old coffee jars with ill-fitting lids that might one day be useful for ….. for…. for what exactly? I have been hoarding the old plastic screw top containers the stewed fruit comes in. For years. Why?
So I have decided in the interest of health and safety – or just survival – to have an utterly ruthless weekend and to clear out the crud from the shed. There is no room.
I cannot find the things I do need because of the clutter of things I do not need.
I will never need the vacuum cleaner attachments from the Hoover we threw out twenty years ago nor the racks from the dishwasher that died when Keating was still in the Lodge. I do not need the broken leaf blower, nor the old backpack from when I hitch-hiked through Europe in the ’70s.
Besides, if I make enough room that will mean there is space for more treasures I no doubt will find at the next swap meet.