Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

Page 110

“I’m taking up fencing!” I say indignantly. “I’m going to be Catherine Zeta-Jones’s stunt double!”

“I don’t even understand how you can fit all this stuff in here. Don’t you ever chuck things out?” She picks up a pair of shoes decorated with shells. “I mean, these. Do you ever wear these anymore?”

“Well… no.” I see her expression. “But that’s not the point. If I did chuck them out, then shells would come back in the next day — and I’d have to buy a new pair. So this is like… insurance.”

“Shells are never going to come back in.”

“They might! It’s like the weather. You just can’t tell.”

Suze shakes her head, and picks her way over the piles of stuff on the floor toward the door. “I’m giving you two hours and when I come back I want to see a transformed room. Transformed room — transformed life. Now start!”

She disappears out of the room and I sit on my bed, staring disconsolately around at my room.

Well, OK, maybe she does have a point. Maybe I should have a little tidy-up. But I don’t even know where to start. I mean, if I start throwing things out just because I never wear them — where will I stop? I’ll end up with nothing.

And it’s all so hard. It’s all so much effort.

I pick up a jumper, look at it for a few seconds, then put it down again. Just the thought of trying to decide whether to keep it or not exhausts me.

“How are you doing?” comes Suze’s voice from outside the door.

“Fine!” I call back brightly. “Really good!”

Come on, I’ve got to do something. OK, maybe I should start in one corner, and work my way round. I pick my way to the corner of my room, where a heap of stuff is teetering on my dressing table, and try to work out what everything is. There’s all that office equipment I ordered off the Internet… There’s that wooden bowl I bought ages ago because it was in Elle Decoration (and then saw exactly the same one in Woolworth’s)… a tie-dye kit… some sea salt for doing body rubs… What is all this stuff, anyway? What’s this box which I haven’t even opened?

I open up the package and stare at a fifty-meter roll of turkey foil. Turkey foil? Why would I buy that? Was I once planning to cook a turkey? Puzzledly I reach for the letter on top, and see the words, “Welcome to the world of Country Ways. We’re so pleased your good friend, Mrs. Jane Bloomwood, recommended our catalogue to you…”

Oh God, of course. It’s just that stuff Mum ordered to get her free gift. A casserole dish, some turkey foil… some of those plastic bags she was stuffing patio cushions into… some weird gadget for putting in the…

Hang on.

Just hang on a minute. I drop the gadget and slowly reach for the plastic bags again. A woman with a dodgy blond haircut is staring proudly at me over a shrink-wrapped duvet, and a bubble from her mouth reads, “With up to 75 percent reduction, I have so much more room in my closet now!”

Cautiously I open my door, and tiptoe along to the broom cupboard. As I pass the sitting room I look in — and to my astonishment Suze is sitting on the sofa with Tarquin, talking earnestly.

“Tarquin!” I say, and both their heads jerk up guiltily. “I didn’t hear you arrive.”

“Hello, Becky,” he says, not meeting my eye.

“We just had to… talk about something,” says Suze, giving me an embarrassed look. “Have you finished?”

“Erm… nearly,” I say. “I just thought I’d hoover my room. To make it look really good!”

I shut my door behind me, and pull the bags out of their packaging. Right. This should be nice and easy. Just stuff them full, and suck out the air. Ten sweaters per bag, it says — but frankly, who’s going to count?

I start to stuff clothes into the first bag, until it’s as tightly packed as I can get it. Panting with effort, I close the plastic zip — then attach the hoover nozzle to the hole. And I don’t believe this. It works. It works! Before my eyes, my clothes are shrinking away into nothing!

Oh, this is fantastic. This is going to revolutionize my life! Why on earth declutter when you can just shrink-wrap?

There are eight bags in all — and when they’re all full, I cram them all into my wardrobe and close the door. It’s a bit of a tight squash — and I can hear a bit of a hissing sound as I force the door shut — but the point is, they’re in. They’re contained.

And just look at my room now! It’s incredible! OK, it’s not exactly immaculate — but it’s so much better than it was before. I quickly shove a few stray items under my duvet, arrange some cushions on top, and stand back. As I look around, I feel all warm and proud of myself. I’ve never seen my room look so good before. And Suze is right — I do feel different, somehow.

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