Friday, August 17, 2012

Doing more, having more, except more space.

I need help sorting out my stuff.

I have too many books and Matilda wants me to get rid of some. I have collections of books about maternal feminism, books about literature, novels I've read, novels (classics) I haven't read,  poetry books, art books, other non-fiction books, a box of plays, and the children have books - novels and non-fiction and picture books. Since I've been studying this time around I have been accumulating books on education, and gathering books that will help me teach English and Drama. Since I've had the storytelling job I've been gathering books about storytelling using puppets and props. I've been using the picture books to inspire the storytelling job as well. And I've been using fabrics that I've kept stored for years. For my playgroup job I've been using the kids' cds that I've bought over the years. And for uni I've been using everything - artbooks, music, poetry. So, you see, it's hard to decide what to get rid of.

I want to do more of my own creative work too. I know that having the stuff around doesn't necessarily mean living more creatively, eg the barely used piano. It just means living in mess.

So, what books should I let go of? Everything that you could get from the library? Everything that is available digitally, even though we have no digital reading devices?

That's another thing I need to review. I've never had a mobile phone. The kids have never had a DS or an ipod. We don't have ipads, or e-readers anything like that. There are lots of reasons why (don't need other bills to pay, we don't need them, the way they are made - the sourcing of the elements and the worker's conditions, we don't want to do things just because everyone else is (lets talk to children about peer pressure; adults aren't exempt), the fact that when everyone was getting mobile phones I had my hands full dealing with little children and didn't have anyone to call anyway. Clancy likes that I don't have a mobile phone because she sees many mums on their phones ignoring their kids and sees this as sad for their relationships. There have been times we've sat down in a waiting room and each pulled out a book to read, and the people around us have been shocked. That shouldn't be so remarkable.

But another reason is that these devices would just be lost in the mess of our house.

I'm wondering at what point is not having these things kind of oppositional and obstructive. When every day of one week someone says to me 'I'll text you', or 'text me', and I say, 'Sorry, I can't'? So far, at times when a mobile phone would have been handy, I've just asked people for help (broken down car) and people have helped me. Most other times I see people using them it isn't for emergencies ('I'm just leaving Central station.' 'Do you want the blue one or the green?'). I've never heard anyone give instructions for an emergency tracheotomy using a mobile phone. But I do wonder if I might be more involved with my siblings and friends if I had a mobile, and I need to get on top of apps as learning tools, because technology is supposed to be embedded in all learning at schools now.

Also, it's time to fix up the children's bedroom. Matilda is starting high school next year and needs her own desk. She likes order and shares her room with two messy sisters. The girls have been saying that our house (old, rented, cracking walls and peeling paint) isn't as orderly and functional as the houses of their friends. True. They're wondering why we are the only family they know who have mismatched chairs at the dining table. Our furnishings have been pieced together with all the care of a student share house. They want some design elements. (Damn you, Grand Designs and renovation tv shows!) They'd like an anteroom to keep their bags and shoes and hats - that's not going to happen. Time to get a loft bed with a desk underneath, but we'd better paint the room first. That's a big job for us.

What to do? All advice welcome and seriously considered.


Melissa said...

A Kindle is seriously lovely and means you can have as many books as you want in the space taken up by one physical book :)

I can come round next week and help you go through the books...

Melissa said...

A Kindle is seriously lovely and means you can have as many books as you want in the space taken up by one physical book :)

I can come round next week and help you go through the books...

Jenny said...

You need a librarian for your books and stuff! But you don't need me because I can't keep my own house tidy.

Motherhugger said...

Thanks Melissa - I happily accept your offer.
I'm thinking a Kindle may be the answer. And an ipod touch for the kids(rather than buy cds,a metronome, a digital recorder). Because we haven't bought everything as they became available, I need to work out what most efficiently works for us. I should get something with a camera too - I've never had a digital camera and haven't taken a photo of the kids for about six years.