I am a neat, organized hoarder, I have been able to fly under the radar. But I knew it was there and as much as a comfort it was to have my things, I felt am immense burden of having so many things. Like my memories, everything was jumbled together and sitting there for years untouched.
I have gone through 3 major cleaning sessions. In 2005, my friend could not believe I had so much junk. She made me through out several bags of stuff to include boxes of cassette tapes. In 2014, I went through an especially quiet winter and spent several days going through every nook and cranny and got rid of 14 bags of stuff.
I recently read a book called The Hoarder in You: How to Live a Happier, Healthier, Uncluttered Life. I had been taking small steps over the years to declutter but I did not fully acknowledge or recognize the extent to which I was attached to things. I clung to these inanimate objects like they were a part of me, like they were living and I had to take care of them. I felt like I would be losing something irreplaceable if I let go.
I spent a few weeks this past spring 2017 making decisions on what to toss and what to keep. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I have two categories for things I keep, memories and necessity.
I hold onto everything that correlates with an experience so that I might remember it. For instance, I have every movie, concert, comedy show, etc ticket going back to high school. I have 415 greeting cards and boxes of notes going back to 1992.
I held onto plastic containers (for picnics and leftovers) which sounds normal, but not when you are single and have enough for two Brady Bunch sized families. I kept plastic bags, clothes and shoes that didn’t fit, purses I never wore, books I only read once, piles of magazines, hard copies of my taxes going back to 1997, the list goes on…
I was saying goodbye and creating a fresh start at the same time. I have wanted to write my story for years but that clutter would have never allowed me to do so.
But, I am able to write my story because I kept so many things. Every time I open a box or a letter, I discover something new. I feel like an archaeologist of my past.