I'm fascinated by TV shows about hoarding. I guess that's because I consider myself what I call a 'borderline hoarder.' I'm a hoarder who is SENTIMENTAL about material things. I suppose all hoarders are to some degree, when you come right down to it! (grin) But I can tell you WHERE items came from. When they came from there. In some cases, who they used to belong to. Or I have memories of how they were used in the past. Strong, emotional ties to these THINGS.
Please don't get a vision of my house with stacks of things going to the ceiling and piles of bags everywhere. Marilyn and I are a LONG, LONG WAY from being the Collyer brothers of New York, who both died inside their house where they could barely move through tunnels of junk.
No, I'm not that sort of hoarder. Most of you have seen photos of the house, because I tend to like posting pictures of various rooms -- just like I like to post photos of Marilyn and me (and family and friends). Do we have TOO MUCH STUFF? Yes. Is it garbage? No. Think 'too many books' (meaning I might have books stacked on top of books, or double rows of books on a shelf). Or think 'lots of office-related items' (such as several containers of pens and pencils). There's too much stuff on my surfaces, yes. I'm always fighting that battle. Hahaha.
Usually it's under control (for the most part). But clothing does get out of hand. I have clothes thrown over the end of the bed or on chairs, and I have clothes baskets full of clean clothes all over the place. (sigh) And shoes on the floor. I really need to get rid of a bunch of clothes, so I can put the clothes I actually wear away in drawers and my closet. Well, part of that is the whole festival thing. During the festival I just like to have certain clothes right where I can see them and quickly find them, to make it easier to put them on. Bad habit, I know! Yes, I realize clothes hoarding is bad. And I have clothes I keep for sentimental reasons -- which means I'll probably never wear them again! So why the heck am I keeping them???
Anyway, whenever I watch a show about actual hoarders -- people who apparently can't tell garbage from non-garbage -- it somehow inspires me to get in and clean things out more. I know that there's this part of me that could potentially become a real hoarder, and that's something that I never want to have happen to me!
Today I have a good-sized box of items in my bedroom ready for the Goodwill (decent, usable items), plus I put a bunch of papers into the recycling and gathered a small bag of things I'm throwing out (mostly old makeup and things like that). And I'm always thinking that if I could get rid of more things, I'd finally be able to put more stuff AWAY. And that would mean it would be easier to do actual cleaning, like dusting, chasing cobwebs and vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. Anyway, that's my bottom line goal.
It's the things that were my mother's or my aunt's or my grandmother's that really are hard to deal with. Marilyn is a huge help with that, making suggestions of ways I can keep the memory without keeping the item! She's a gem. Digital photos is a huge help, meaning I can take photos of things then let them go.
Looking around my bedroom tonight I feel good. Yes, I need to go through TONS of clothes. But I cleaned out more than four drawers today and yesterday. In some cases I got rid of half of the contents. My general rule of thumb is to narrow things down by at least a third, if I can. Years back I became an office-supply-junkie. I was so thrilled when I could find certain items at a reasonable price that I would buy a bunch of them. Like scissors, staplers, tape dispensers, pens, pencils, wire baskets for paperwork and so on. I've taken a LOT of this stuff to the various offices I work in over the years. But I still have a lot more here at home... I'd really like to go a little at a time during August and see where I end up by September. I'm going to keep trying, anyway.
It doesn't help that I've been sick -- and sick enough not to feel up to cleaning. Usually when I'm sick I'll just power through and do work anyway. Often I've sat up at my computer when I was sick as a dog and barely able to even sit up, remoting in to our office. And then I'll do housework, too. But recently I was so sick I just wanted to lie around or actually sleep. That's put me behind my schedule a bit. Not that I have a written one. It's just one floating in my head of what I'd like to do...
Mom died in 2000. That year we brought home PILES AND PILES of things from her home -- to a house already full of our own belongings. I'm telling you, if you haven't been through the loss of your parents and deciding what to do with all their stuff, you can't imagine how much this can impact all the things you own! It's 15 years later, and during this period of time I've been able to get rid of more and more of those things. But it's hard. You've lost a parent (or parents), and parting with their stuff is like losing them all over again. Stupid, sure. But true. (At least, for some of us that's true.)
Looking around my office, I can see things I need to purge. And I'm going to keep at it! I think wanting to improve is at least half the battle here. (smile)
Today the hoarder could barely stand not to touch every single item that was being sorted out and thrown out, no matter what it was (including broken things, filthy things and downright garbage). When you're doing this process entirely alone, you have to touch each thing as you sort it and rid yourself of it. Maybe it's a process. It does seem that hoarders who do much of the work themselves are more successful than those who have a lot of people helping them and don't get to make determinations for themselves.
Even as I finish this blog entry, I can see things here in the office that I really DO NOT NEED. Part of me wants to jump up right now and box them up! Sometimes they're such small items that I know they won't even make a difference in the long run. But as someone who is a keeper of 'tiny and small things,' I know that it all matters. Things do add up!
Are any of YOU borderline hoarders? Collectors of things that you have to store, but don't use? How do you deal with it?
I'm behind all of you fighting the good fight when it comes to clutter. The older we get, the more we potentially can have surrounding us. I'm in my 60's, and I have things from my childhood. Things from my mother's childhood! It certainly does accumulate. Hahaha.
More on how I'm doing will be posted as I go along. I'm sure it's boring as hell to many of you. But maybe it will be inspirational to some. I got rid of my collection of Starbucks cards today. Just tossed them out. Sounds like a small thing, but I'd been collecting them for years now. I can't tell you how proud I am! (smile)
Clothes are high on my To Do list. And I think I'll go through old greeting cards, too. Marilyn suggested keeping photos of those, as I find them so hard to part with...