When you finally decide to do some major de-cluttering, it’s often not the cost of an item that makes you decide to keep it rather than cull it.

This humble little wooden apple corer must be well over 100 years old. It belonged to my mother Myra, and before that to her mother Nora, who died long before I was born. I can’t imagine how many apples it has cored over the years. The handle was painted green originally.

De-cluttering, this old corer has to stay.

You simply cannot make baked apples without a corer. Oh the memory of them; centres filled with raisins and brown sugar and served with custard…. plus cream from our Jersey cows,

That little kitchen utensil is the essence of my mother; she was so caring and so hard working all her life.


My husband Rob’s dear little cub uniform was treasured by his mother for nearly 70 years. He would have been about eight at the time he wore it. See all those attainment badges on the arm of the jumper? The other side was covered in them too. He hasn’t changed one iota, still so determined to do his best and still busy from daylight ’til dusk. It sums up his character and I could never part with it. 💛

My husband's cub uniform has escaped my de-cluttering.

We found this old ink bottle in the foundations of a house we were renovating in Sydney’s Mosman. Impressed on the front is Angus & Co. Ink. David Angus established a second hand bookshop at 110 Market Street, Sydney in 1894.

He was only in business as a sole trader for about twelve months before George Robertson joined him, and the well known company Angus & Robertson was born. It means that this little object is very rare. I love anything connected to writing and books, so I will be keeping it. It’s useful as a vase, too.

This old ink bottle escaped my de-cluttering.
Pretty Epimedium in the ink bottle.


Dear me, so many cards to sort through; special ones from Rob and sweetly funny ones from very young nieces and nephews. You can’t keep them all, but this one from my sister Robyn escaped the fire. It has real wool around the sheep’s moveable head. 😍

Much de-cluttering involves tossing out old cards.

Inside she had written, ‘Happy Birthday to you. You live near the Zoo.‘ We lived down the street from Taronga Park Zoo at the time. It reminds me of our shared sense of humour inherited from our mother. Robbie could always make me laugh (she still does), which often got us into trouble at the dinner table during our childhood. 😨

I worked at the Ashfield Municipal Library in Sydney for about eight years during the 1980s and one of our elderly borrowers was Ada Roby. We were all a bit scared of her, because she was rather brusque and crabby. When I left she quietly gave me a little card, which just amazed me; ‘May the fairies keep you all the days of your life‘. Honestly, it brought a lump to my throat. Thanks Ms Roby. Sometime a no-nonsense exterior hides a generous and sensitive soul.

This little cherub stood on my mother’s treadle sewing machine. She told me she bought it from a Launceston second hand shop for 7s 6p, in the 1940s. Scrawled on the base is Paulie (I had ‘claimed it’, aged about 8.) It’s not worth much more than she paid for it, except to me.


Oh dear, so many books. Many will have to go, but I do have some treasures. I was attending a fine arts sale in London when I spotted a slim volume with its bookplate displayed. After many years of researching Governor Lachlan Macquarie and his extended family I could hardly believe my luck. The book had been owned by Macquarie’s dissolute son Lachlan Jnr., and was part of his library on the Isle of Mull in the 1840s. Written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton it’s called Money, a Comedy in Five Acts. Oh the delicious irony of Lachlan Jnr. owning it. I will eventually donate it to the Mitchell Library, but not just yet. It reminds me of how much my life has been enriched by writing and research.

The ‘books’ in the next photo are two of about eight volumes of my father’s farm diaries, dating from the 1940s to the 1960s. They include a lot of precious family history. I had a difficult relationship with Dad, but these diaries reveal a hardworking man who did the best he could for his family after experiencing a troubled childhood. I hope some young relative will appreciate them and keep handing them down.

Old diaries kept by my father have escaped my de-cluttering.

I’ve only opened a few boxes thus far in my de-cluttering efforts, so there is a whole lot of emotion and many memories to come.


  1. It’s never about the cost with me, always the sentimental connection. Hence I have a lot of ‘mementos’ of the past!

    • Pauline

      I’m sure you must have more treasures than anyone in the entire world Marcia, but I know how much they mean to you. xx

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