(Originally posted on my other website 4/11/2010)
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but have found about a bazillion other things to do instead. Not because I don’t want to write about it, but because I’ve been having trouble sitting down to write lately. I think that’s because I’ve been feeling more like writing is something I should do, instead of something I enjoy and want to do. It happens periodically. Writing starts to feel like a chore and an obligation, so I keep putting it off. But, here I am!
This morning on facebook, I shared a link to a very interesting guest post on Geralin Thomas’ Metrozing Blog about Hoarding: Thoughts and Values. I shared it both on my coaching page, and on my personal page. One of my friends mentioned that she had noticed I’d mentioned A&E’s “Hoarders” several times, TLC’s new show “Hoarding: Buried Alive”, as well as other hoarding related items, and was wondering why I was so interested in the subject. It was a good question.
Watching A&E’s “Hoarders” is what initially piqued my interest. My own personal efforts to de-clutter are another reason I find it fascinating. While I’m not a full-blown hoarder like the people on the shows, fortunately, what I’ve learned is that I have some similar issues with acquiring and getting rid of stuff. I can see myself having a bit of each of these beliefs mentioned in the blog article.
Watching “Hoarders” and hearing some of the questions that the therapists and organizers ask about a person’s stuff, and the suggestions they have has also been really helpful to me in terms of letting some stuff go. Right now, I’m in the middle of spring cleaning, and I’m finding that making decisions to get rid of certain things is a lot easier. For example, I keep a lot of things because they have sentimental value, like my late father’s reel-to-reel tape deck. In all the years I’ve had it, I have used it once, maybe twice. I’ve felt guilty about getting rid of it because it was my father’s, but the likelihood of it doing anything other than taking up space in my apartment is rather slim. So, I have decided to save the tapes he recorded (in the hopes of getting them put onto CDs), but to sell the tape deck at the next garage sale my sister and I have, which should be in the next few weeks. Ditto for my Super Nintendo console and games. Maybe I’ll make enough at the garage sale to finally get myself a Wii and Wii Fit to replace it, and finally get above 12th place in Mario Kart.(Yes, I’m that bad at it!)
I’m also very good at buying things with the best intentions of doing something with them, and then not following through. Like the scrapbooks and supplies that are sitting and waiting for me to use them, along with about a year’s worth of craft magazines full of as-yet-unattempted craft projects. Ditto for blank notebooks and journals that have never even seen a pen! Most, if not all, of these will end up at the garage sale.
My colored pen and marker collection, on the other hand, gets lots of use! I have: Sakura Gelly Roll pens in every version and variety, Bic Mark-its in 24 different colors, Zig markers in several colors and variations, fine point and regular Sharpies, Uni-Ball pens in assorted colors – both gel ink and rollerball, and several fluorescent highlighters. Not only do I use them, but they all have ink and I go through them every few months to weed out the ones that no longer write. So, with the possible exception of a few duplicates, the pens won’t be going to the garage sale. The same goes for my music collection, including about a thousand cassette tapes and CDs. I have two working cassette decks, so the tapes do get played, and some of them I recorded myself off the radio about thirty years ago. Yes, I have iTunes and a few iPods (each of which I use regularly, with the exception of my original iPod Mini, which may end up at the garage sale). However, putting my entire music collection on iTunes would probably put me in the poor house. So, for the time being, the tapes will stay. Besides, they’re fully functional and organized!
Can you see the difference? One set of things just sits around collecting dust and taking up space at their best. At their worst, they create negative energy by making me feel guilty for not doing something with them. It’s like being physically surrounded by a bunch of “shoulds”. Wow! When I started writing this, I was wondering what feeling like I should write had to do with “Hoarders” – now I know! The other set of things, I actually use and they genuinely add joy (and color) to my life. Weeding out the stuff that doesn’t bring me joy anymore is part of the de-cluttering process, both in terms of physical stuff and “life stuff”. The more you think about it, the more you’ll see connections between the two. As with physical stuff, the more you clear out the “life stuff” that no longer works for you, the lighter you’ll feel, and the more room you’ll have for people and things that truly bring you joy!