Wednesday 13 January 2010


Not mine, I swear. One day maybe.

Are you a hoarder? Or a declutterer?

I tend to hoard. I'm always reluctant to throw things away 'just in case'. Just in case what, Helen? Just in case nuclear war breaks out and you discover that the only thing that can save the world and then help to repopulate it is that twenty year old copy of 'The Body Book' by Claire Rayner? Or in case marabou feather-trimmed sheer cardigans come back into fashion? Or in case you suddenly find a use for the ten pairs of utterly knackered shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe?

I'm also a hoarder when it comes to email. I've just been trawling through my Gmail account, the one that I've had since 2004. Six years worth of emails from my Dad, emails from old boyfriends, emails from friends that I no longer speak to. Reading some of them brought tears to my eyes, some made me laugh out loud, some brought back long-forgotten memories.

Pet names that my old boyfriend P and I had for each other (beehive, beav and badgertron being just some of his nicknames for me... your guess is as good as mine!) and the 'Song of the Day' emails he used to send me, filled with ridiculous words, injokes and an mp3; emails sent to my Dad at 2am when I was sitting in a computer room on campus, panicking about exams and pretending to revise; amusing emails from when C and I first met and spent a couple of months sending each other the most innuendo-laden pictures we could find (some related to the horrifying phrase 'duck butter').

I think the reason I have trouble throwing things aways and deleting old emails is that, quite simply, I don't want to forget. They may look like battered old shoes to you, but for me they evoke memories. That email may look banal or trivial but it probably reminds me of a time in my life that I don't want to forget.

Is this normal? Or am I doomed to end up like Mr Trebus?