Returning to our little house, I suddenly feel the need to declutter to make room for, well, us. Somehow, over the past fifteen years we’ve managed to accumulate all manner of hand-me-downs from family and friends.
Furniture from my parents when they downsized to move south. Furniture from my grandmother when she passed away. Furniture from my middle brother when he moved abroad. All this, despite living in the smallest house of any of us.
In all honesty, we have too much stuff, but sentimentality seems to prevent us from doing the sensible thing. An aspect of this is my father’s obsolete tech, which has somehow also made its way to us. A 2012 MacBook Pro has actually been put to good use as my go-to writing laptop due to its excellent keyboard.
But what of the 2007 iMac, currently cluttering a corner of my bedroom? I span it up this evening to discover that I had previously installed Xfce Linux to turn it into a kind of media server. But why? It has a noisy hard disk and even noisier fan, and is nowhere near as convenient to use as a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
I spent an hour this evening, pondering how it might be repurposed. Do I have the patience to convert into an external display? Nope. And anyway we have three far superior modern monitors in the house already. What about a Raspberry Pi conversion project? Honestly, I can’t be bothered. What else? A funky terrarium?
Eventually, we have to concede that this hand-me-down tech is obsolete, best dispatched to a recycling service for disassembly. The same probably goes for the proliferation of nested tables, dining room chairs and uncomfortable armchairs. Some may eventually be repaired: my new accidental hobby this summer.
Will it actually happen though? No, I suspect worries about e-waste will mean the iMac simply ends up in the loft, wrapped in bubble-wrap and a plastic bag, to be marvelled over by our grandchildren in thirty years time, shortly before it is chucked in a skip once and for all, with all their other inherited crap.
By then, everything will be obsolete and surplus to requirements. Even us.