Kate Livingstone: Wardrobe contents may be my fortune

Kate Livingston
Kate Livingston

My family are always complaining that I am a hoarder – they think I don’t know, but they have even been known to refer to me as ‘squirrel’ given the amount of items I keep!

“It may be useful” is my usual cry when I’m being encouraged to throw something out.

I always say that Emma is a perfect example of the generation raised in the disposable age. She is forever getting rid of things.

While I’m still saying “don’t you think that it might come in useful” she is putting it in the bag for the charity shop.

“Nope” is her usual reply.

“The children have outgrown it and I don’t have room for it in the house,” she says as a procession of black bags filled with baby equipment, clothes, books and games are deposited in the boot of her car.

“But you never know when it might come in useful,” I reply.

“Mother I’m not having anymore children and I’m certainly not keeping all this stuff until I’ve got grandchildren!”

Now that was definitely a dig at me. When the children are over I like nothing better than bringing out a board game and telling them that I used to play it with their mum and uncle.

But then Emma’s stance is reflected in her perfectly organised cupboards and mine which are overflowing with the amount of ... I refuse to use the word junk, but well the items which I keep which “may be useful”.

Even when I do have a clearout of my wardrobe, I’m known for putting everything on the bed and then putting it all back again with perhaps a token washed out t-shirt as the only item I’m prepared to discard.

I’m still going on about the pair of shoes I bought over 30 years go that were the perfect shade of blue for an outfit I had. I eventually did send them to the charity shop and a couple of years ago bought a dress that they would have gone with perfectly!

But when I was watching the Antiques Roadshow the other night there was a woman with a Biba trouser suit that she had bought in the 1970s and apparently it was worth up to £800!

I had the family round for dinner and I almost choked when I heard this.

“See, I should never let you encourage me to get rid of clothes. They might be worth a fortune,” I spluttered.

But I was put in my place by my darling daughter, who said: “Mother, I don’t think a 
Chelsea Girl cardigan with heart shaped buttons is quite the same as an outfit from Biba.”