Every few months, let’s say about once or twice a quarter I instinctually start re-organizing every closet, every drawer, every room. It’s a habit I think I’ve inherited from my dad. We were notorious for re-arranging furniture on a whim. Ask my traumatized mom. I’ve done it whenever I felt unsettled and it’s always helped me feel better and so it became a cleansing ritual of sorts, especially around the end of the year.
It’s not a bad habit at all. Quite handy in fact as it allows for a purge, cleanse and check-in so you don’t go around buying more stuff. What is not so apparent, even to me was that I am also a compulsive hoarder. I wonder where I got this from. My mom doesn’t believe in holding on to unnecessary material things, even those with sentimental value. It’s not things, it’s memories and moments you hold on to, she says adding, lest I hoard my mind, only those that you can learn from, feel good about or cherish fondly. The rest discard. So, it is my dad again. He likes to hold on to things like every piece of paper, transaction, document and such. He will reuse things till they disintegrate. Waste not to the very extreme. My husband also belongs to the same category. He’s had the luxury of the navy moving him and his belongings around everywhere for free or later the companies he worked for did the lugging. And so to my horror when we finally had to downsize to a home without a garage I discovered endless files, uniforms, lord of the rings memorabilia, every action figure, comics (these I confess I’m attached to as well), clothes with tags on, clothes still in gift boxes etc.
And my kids, they will scream bloody murder if they catch me in the act. The headless doll, the 10,000 pieces of art/paper, the bits and pieces of dismembered toys, the bottle cap?!? Everything is a treasure and off limits. And then there are the clothes they outgrow in a jiffy. God forbid I touch their stained, torn pants or a shirt labeled 24 mths. No sirree, not okay, and it does not matter that they are 4 and 7 now, they will find a way to fit into that tiny shirt.
After sifting through and eliminating unnecessary stuff when my husband and kids are not home I am always smug with satisfaction. They do not bat an eyelid; do not miss a thing We are finally down to a home without any excess. Or so I thought.
Enter my best friend in Austin. She was helping me pick an outfit and so walked into my closet. She gave me one dirty look and pulled up her sleeves. What we found was shocking even to me. I refused to admit to myself over the years that I had slowly but surely become the hoarders I hound. Clothes with tags, clothes that were going to fit me when I got to my fit weight, clothes that were oversized from my pregnancy days because they were so cozy and comforting, clothes that were 2 decades old, clothes that made no sense and so on. She plucked them out mercilessly while I whined and whimpered. She gave me a double stare down when she pointed to some clothes several sizes too small and I said I’d perhaps save them for my daughters. And toward the end of that exercise, I realized I hadn’t worn any of those in years, perhaps decades even. I really didn’t think I was this bad. Mirror Mirror!
I admitted my surprise to my husband and he alluded to my not so secret hoarding habit. Books! And Magazines. Our house is sprawling with these. At one point I used to read more than I bought. Not so much anymore. I don’t subscribe to magazines. They’re usually free due to some online shopping I did at some point. Nothing makes me happier than a glossy new magazine in the mail unless it’s a book at the store. In which case it could be tattered and worn out and I still buy it. With books, I don’t care if it gets in your way. I’ll just ask you to deal with it. But with magazines, I try to be more discreet. I stash them in hard to reach places in closets, On the top shelves of the cupboards touching the ceiling. Bottom of wicker baskets so as to help my purses stand upright, I argue.
So, since I’ve finally been called out or let’s just say I finally acknowledged the calling out I got my stash out. I placed them at the foot of my bed, then to the front door, then slowly and gradually moved them to the recycle bin. It was hard! As for the books, you’re asking for eternal damnation if you even try. So no, not in a million years 🙂
What about you? Do you hoard anything? Is there anything you just cannot let go of? Spill 🙂