To be printed 16/09/10.
This month's newly-grasped concept is "storage solution". There was a time when it worked the other way round - I bought bits of furniture and attractive boxes and whatnot because I liked them, and then set about acquiring things to put in them. But not now. Now I feel like I'm in a crazed 90s platform game, where I have to run around with a container trying to catch rapidly multiplying accoutrements as they fall from the sky and bury me. It was a defeating moment, on moving day, after I'd decanted everything that I could into my new room's wardrobe and chest of drawers, to stand in a massive heap of tat and realise, like a dunce trying to solve a math's equation, that I had too much stuff and not enough wood to house it.
So I needed storage solutions. A sensible person might have interpreted this as "buy some furniture" - go to Ikea, choose a sturdy receptacle, put things in it. Only in my head did this translate as, "buy a hatbox, an ornamental birdcage and a steamer trunk on eBay".
"Um," said my flatmate, looking at my pile of stuff. "How big is this hatbox?"
"Average hatbox size?"
"So… designed to hold one hat? One."
"Well. Yes, when you put it like that. But I expect it'll be one of those Tardis hatboxes the Victorians were so famed for."
The trouble with buying quaint antique nik naks as storage solutions is that they didn't just need storage solutions in the olden days. You were either rich, in which case you had plenty of mahogany dressers and roll-top desks to house all of your ming vases and faberge eggs, or you were poor in which case you were terribly chic and minimalist and had one plate, one cup and one pair of good boots, with no ming vases or faberge eggs to speak of. Nobody back then, as far as I can tell, needed eight box files to store all the council tax bills and payslips that they know they're not meant to throw away but aren't sure exactly why.
"What you need," said my Mum, "Is a slut basket." Not, in fact, a euphemism for Chapel Road Wetherspoon's, but the secret weapon of every lazy homemaker. A slut basket is a massive, aesthetically-pleasing basket that you fill with every ugly, awkwardly-shaped thing you own, then put a lid on and pretend it's just decorative. Pandora' box was, I'm pretty sure, actually just the slut basket to end all slut baskets.
And what a revelation it is. I'm a convert. Now my bedroom is more basket than room, but at least I can walk across the floor as nature intended. There's a danger I'm taking the concept a little too far though - I've found myself looking round the rest of the flat and assessing every item as potential basket fodder. Do we really need that there? Would those not be better off In The Basket? In fact, I'm basically looking a mess myself - would I not be better off in there too, to avoid cluttering up the place?
So I will leave you, with the immortal words: If anybody wants me, I'll be in my slut basket.
Horses for courses - and the future
4 days ago