What a cool occasion! Pack Rat Day encourages us to keep our old belongings, knick-knacks, bits and bobs and… er… rubbish (hmm) in case it becomes useful in the future.

Despite running a very tidy and ordered house, I own numerous doodads that most people may see as tatty discards, yet to me have sentimental value. My mantlepiece demonstrates this the most.

There’s a vintage Cadbury’s tin that originally held assorted nuts but more recently contained my grandma’s sewing equipment, and beside this is an old brooch that my mam remembers from her childhood. An old Singer sewing machine (which I bought from a charity shop for a fiver) is scattered with old matchboxes that belonged to my grandad, each of which promotes everything from the Providence Inn (now a section of a much larger shopping centre), to Paul and Geraldine’s wedding (no idea who they are) of 6th July 1985.

There’s an ashtray from The Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas (never been to America myself); two empty sweet tins, respectively boasting portraits of the Pope John Paul II and Charles and Diana (salvaged from my grandad’s shed); and an old wooden room thermometer whose needle never seems to surpass 14 degrees Celsius.

I love these items – they conjure up people I know, people I miss, and people I never got to meet. They allow me to share the events of their lives, even if they occurred before I was born.

So although I frequently give old clothes to charity, recycle out-of-date paperwork and empty my dustbin on a weekly basis, I consider myself a pack rat. A pack rat that feeds on sepia remnants of nostalgia, and sleeps between the curled pages of long-forgotten notepads.

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