What do your storage habits tell me about you? (Nothing)

My OH has views about coat hangers. These consist mainly of a) they should stay in wardrobes b) they should only hang one thing c) when stored, they should be tied together in same-sex bundles with twisty wire.

Since my first-week-of-the-hols wardrobe mega-clearance, this is how I’ve been storing coat hangers: –

For some reason the OH isn’t keen on this. No idea why. I can’t see much wrong with it to be honest. No one uses this bed (apart from at Christmas or for emergency sleep overs). They are easily available to grab when hanging ironed clothes – a rarity, admittedly. I don’t really iron. Shake-and-hang is more my style. Also, they will soon be used when new clothes are bought or our daughter comes home or I do seasonal-coat-clearance downstairs.

It’s funny really. I don’t mind messy piles of coat hangers but I hate messy piles of school books. At work, I always make sure they are neat, with corners perfectly straight and square. If there are different colours in one pile, I put them in swatches.

I’m rather haphazard with my food cupboards. Things get rammed in at all sorts of angles. Flour packets get ripped, puffing tiny clouds when moved, as though irked. Tins and sachets mingle haphazardly on shelves designated for beverages or spreads. I’m just not that bothered as long as I know where it all is.

My books, however, are a different matter. I put them in height order and series order and sometimes colour order, particularly my children’s books, which I’ve kept for around fifty years and still read from time to time. And there’s a separate shelf for books I’ve written (a bit empty at the moment but, you know, aim high…)

I find it fascinating how contrary we are, how inconsistent. I sometimes fall into the trap of watching someone do something and deciding they are ‘organised’ or ‘practical’ or ‘a dreamer’. Then I remember my ironing pile and my bookshelf, that I’m late for coffees but (embarrassingly) early for trains. We live at the end of the line with one platform and one train an hour. There’s not much that can go wrong to be honest. If I’m complicated and contradictory, others must be too.

We’ve had limited contact with other humans this past year, apart from the ones we live with, who we may have domesticated (or have domesticated us). Now they’re back in our lives in glorious technicolour with their wonderful, inconsistent ways. There is much to rediscover. I find people fascinating, a treasure trove of inspiration, irritation, hilarity, curiosity, joy. And they are unfailingly surprising. Take these for example: –

A vicar relaxes by reading theology books and playing Candy Crush

A school teacher spends a day at the Barbican and the evening pole-dancing

A twenty-something graduate is offered an academic job, but, missing the outdoors, builds fences for a living

An old lady gives up a comfortable retirement to go and volunteer overseas

An accountant leaves a well paid job to help a poorly-paying charity sort out its finances

A teenage boy shaves his head to raise money for a community in Africa

A 4 year old dials 999 and saves her mum’s life

*(All these are real people)

Isn’t this why we loved Colonel Tom? For overseas readers, he was a 99 year old British man who decided, in April 2020 that he would walk 100 lengths of his garden to raise £1000 for the NHS. By his 100th birthday, he had raised over 32 million.

Humans can hurt us, disappoint us. They can also be very annoying. But, boy, didn’t we miss them and their funny ways in Lockdown? There is so much more to everyone than meets the eye. But it’s too easy to judge from what does.

Note to self (mid-year resolution?): – Always expect the unexpected. It’s just a better way to live…

And to prove my point (and because I love my husband): –

The guys at the bottom are different to everyone else, but that makes it easier for them to discover each other’s unique design features

I’m a freelance writer and teacher with interests in education, mental health and community. I like to blog about everyday life, hope and the silly, incongruous things that shape us and make us who we are. My novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an amazon ebook has now also been released in paperback. It’s the story of what happens when a woman buys a house without telling her husband.

My full length novel, Braver, will be published by Fairlight Books in the summer of 2022. The book tells a tale of unlikely friendships and heart-breaking decisions. With themes around mental health, identity and the need to belong, Braver explores how a local community responds when something threatens its very heart.

8 thoughts on “What do your storage habits tell me about you? (Nothing)

  1. I love your bookshelves. I’d like to get ours sorted like that, but Other People don’t see the need. Also Other People think we have too many books – a strange concept, especially as the real problem is obviously that we have too few bookshelves! (I’m impressed you’ve kept an entire shelve reserved for you own books – very hopeful for the future).

    It also seems obvious to me that Other People have too many items of footwear, but as your blog makes clear, some differences we have to accept, and the the fact of differences is something to celebrate!

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    1. I have similar issues with Other People! Only I think I am the person with the excessive footwear in our house, a fact which probably won’t surprise you! Yes, accepting differences is definitely the way to go, although at times it’s easier than at others. Thank you for approving of my aspirational Own Writing Shelf!

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  2. Thinking about the hangers by themselves kind of defeats the object. Hangers are to keep clothes in better condition than they would be if we didn’t use the hangers, and you know what clothes are for.
    When we downsized four years ago everything had to justify the space it occupies in our new bijou residence. I realized that I liked a particular kind of hanger because they were exactly the right width for my shoulders and so don’t leave little bubbles at the top of the sleeves. Then there are the type with springy pegs to attach to a waistband. I didn’t have enough of those, so bought a set, all matching, very satisfying. My husband followed suit, scrapping all his existing hangers and investing in manly wooden ones.
    All the old ones were donated (and gratefully received) to charity shops. Except for the wire, dry cleaners’ hangers which offer no support to clothes and can be recycled in the metals skip at the local tip. (Or our nearest scrapyard has a charity skip and the value is donated to the hospice, because metals are worth money!)
    There are a handful if hangers regularly used for wet clothes, which hang on a bracket over the door on the spare bedroom. Guests can use them, if we ever have any.
    It works for us, but then it had to; we have so little space for storage.

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    1. Jane, this is all really interesting. I love how you went through this process. I also so agree with the Springy Pegs sort. There are never enough of them! I think I need to read your book! Thanks for this really useful comment 🙂

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  3. Ha – you see, this surprises me, that you’d be happy with a mess of coat hangers on a bed like that, because I would have assumed otherwise! I think of you as very concerned about aesthetics and things looking lovely (yourself, for instance). For me, that would totally spoil a room’s mood. I love your my books shelf, awaiting your future oeuvre. You’ll double its contents very soon, remember. Interesting, though – you made me think – maybe that’s why we like rounded characters in novels who have flaws and imperfections. We know that this is more convincing and real than stereotypes or people who always act the way you’d expect.

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    1. I have to admit, I wouldn’t have left them there like that for much longer. But my tolerance level for mess is milder than Steve’s. Thanks for the compliment! Yes, I think characters who are surprising and unexpected are much more authentic and fun, both in books and real life. Thanks for the comment!

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  4. “The guys at the bottom are different to everyone else, but that makes it easier for them to discover each other’s unique design features”
    Oh how I loved reading this last part so much! Having always been a bit of a square peg surrounded by round holes, I seem to have mastered spotting other cuboids hidden among the regulation cylinders. Let’s hear it for everyone with unique design features 🙂

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    1. Amen to that!, 👏 I am also a square peg so you’re in good company 🙂 Thanks a lot for reading and commenting. Much appreciated, Fellow Unique Coat-hanger! .

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