More discoveries among the joists

Neil HaversonAfter last week's dispatch, I have been reassured by the number of people who are fighting a Canute-like battle with the tidal wave of clutter in their lofts.Neil Haverson

After last week's dispatch, I have been reassured by the number of people who are fighting a Canute-like battle with the tidal wave of clutter in their lofts. Many of you, it seems, could start a small carpet warehouse with the number of off-cuts stashed between the rafters.

I certainly spoke too soon, bragging that

I was making great strides in clearing the

Fortress loft. As I was writing last week's missive, Mrs H was busy packing away all the Christmas decorations.

No sooner was I in print claiming that I was easing the weight on the joists than Mrs H was telling me it was a priority 'Could you just do..?' job that the decorations had to go back through the hatch.

'And I want them up there as soon as possible; I can't have them cluttering up the place,' she added.

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OK, I wasn't adding to the chaos: I was merely returning something, and yet somehow there seemed to be more decorations to go back up than came down.

If a bauble gets replaced, it doesn't get jettisoned - it goes into storage. A Brat might want it, or it is of sentimental value.

And it's not a straightforward job of simply heaving them through the hatch. When the decorations come down, such objects as ornaments that stand on the sideboard for the rest of

the year have to make way for their festive replacements, so where do they go for the duration? In the loft.

Boxed up, they are not light in weight. And, with all that up and down the ladder, it's amazing I haven't spent many a yuletide nursing a hernia.

In my efforts to sort the loft, I seem to have taken three steps forward and two-and-a-half back. I had a mega-whinge about it, which prompted an interesting response from Mrs H.

'We don't want to clear out the loft in all this cold weather anyway. All that stuff provides extra insulation.'

Perhaps I should be entitled to a government grant, then?

One problem is: just how long do you keep boxes for things you have bought in case they go wrong and have to be returned?

I have discovered packaging for all sorts of

things: a food mixer that I haven't seen around for years... Oh, and I found a large box for a computer printer that was long gone. I seized it but realised it was not empty: it was full of smaller boxes for other bits and pieces!

But the situation has deteriorated even further. Brat Major popped in at the weekend, and

with her came a large package and a couple of carrier bags.

'Stick these in the loft!' she said, in a tone somewhat reminiscent of her mother.

Up went her Christmas tree and sundry decorations.

I remain unbowed in my mission to declutter the roof space. However, I have to guard against simply shifting the problem to the garage.

It was the freezing weather that brought the garage into the equation.

Oh to have been able to put the car in it over the past few weeks to avoid the daily de-icing operation.

As with the loft, I had made some inroads here, but it's so easy to say: 'That's a job for the warmer weather.'

But I know that, when the spring comes, I'll use gardening as an excuse to put off the evil hour.

Brat Major's flat is small, I do accept that. But her parting shot as she left Fortress H last week scuppered any chance of making space in the garage, even by next winter.

'We're getting rid of our dining table to make space. You can store it in the garage in case we need it when we get somewhere bigger.'

When they get somewhere bigger, eh?

Hmm, by then, we could be downsizing - and then we'll need some storage space…