117. How to Choose Which Shoes to Wear in the Apocalypse

Photo by Philippe Jausions on Unsplash

My wardrobe, floordrobe, was supposed to be a curated collection of neutral basics plus a smattering of thrifty vintage pieces mixed with designer splurges. There was that pair of leather strappy sandals bought in Greece that I could never wear for more than half an hour before they rubbed my feet raw to ribbons. After every hangover, I vowed to give up my late nights. I was going to reinvent myself and spend my Sundays outdoors, just as soon as I’d broken in the hiking boots that pinched so much that I lost all feeling in my toes. I knew they were supposed to be tight but once they’d moulded to my feet, they would be the most comfortable footwear in the world. I thought I looked the business in those silver leather brogues until I saw three other women wearing the same shoes at the same event as me. Embarrassing wasn’t the word.

I know now to never buy this year’s colour in a leather handbag. It’s a waste of money because it only lasts one season and I’d have to keep it for 12-15 years before I could use it again. Chain store coats are also a mistake unless I wanted to look like everyone else.

Marie said to put all of my clothes onto the bed so I knew what I’d got. Passers-by could see right into this basement flat, but I didn’t care. They also didn’t seem bothered because it was still raining, so they were hurrying by, just wanting to get where they were going. 

I was down to my bra and knickers, trying on everything I owned, chucking my clothes into piles –  keep, bin, donate, sell – whilst dancing around to an 80s pop mix. Between songs I could hear a burglar alarm wailing like an old-fashioned air raid signal so I just cranked up the music a bit louder to drown it out. Then someone startled me by banging on my window and shouting “get out!”. I quickly put on a pair of comfy cord jeans and an old baggy t shirt and ran to the front door to yell right back at them. Before I could open it, I heard water trickling down the steps and saw it creeping under the door towards me. For a moment, I stood there, watching my slippers get soaked.

“This is the police helicopter. The river has breached its bank. You are in imminent danger. Please evacuate your property immediately and make your way to higher ground.”

In less than thirty seconds, I was out of there. I grabbed my phone, purse, glasses, a pair of trainers, socks, knickers, a jumper, that book I was reading and (weirdly) a pillow. I put on the first coat I saw hanging up and snatched another. Then, swinging a black bin bag containing all my worldly goods, I pelted up the street, splashing through the ankle high water in my sodden slippers, as if I had seen the last bus coming.

Photo by Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash

11. Kondo my Condo

pexels-photo-322338.jpegIf it didn’t spark joy, it was out. I was ruthless. I was going to streamline, have 33 items. It would be an effortless capsule of silk, cotton, cashmere. Flawless. The whole William Morris beauty thing in my flat; the whole Zuckerberg/Jobs clothes thing in my wardrobe. Simple. Clean. Efficient. Easy pieces. I was going to be more. With less.

I started with my clothes. I’d already decided I was a navy and grey person with a purple accent. Getting dressed was going to be easy because all of the decisions would already have been made for me. How efficient and peaceful my life was going to be once I had decluttered.

“Only very rich people can afford to live in such frugal elegance,” I thought. The chair I wanted cost two months wages.

My tech would have to be wireless. And white. Minimalists do white.

The ‘Maybe’ box was getting quite full. Every time I wanted to ‘Keep’ something sentimental, I thought that if Leo could do this, then so could I. He’s got six kids.

It will be so fulfilling and worthwhile. I wondered if books should have their spines facing inwards. Do tiny house people even have any books? Where do they put them?

I just need the perfect crockery now. Some Japanese hand made plates and bowls. Casual but functional. The Ikea and hand me down, starter home stuff I have at the moment is all mismatched.

Anyway, in my head I thought about how humble and modest I would feel when people saw the finished flat. Curated. Efficient. Sufficient.

A single orchid. A hand-blown glass vase from Italy that I held all the way home on the plane.

in the back of my mind I worried that I would regret it. What if Ryan and Josh ever came round? There’s only two chairs. I hope they never find my version of Monica’s closet aka ‘The Room of Requirement.’ Still, I have got four more chairs and two deckchairs in there.

You never see those rooms on Apartment Sponge.