Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Don't Become a Hoarder

You may have already taken a look at my previous post, "A Little Something to Inspire." If you haven't yet, do! It is my inspiration (get it?) for this post.

I want to specifically take a look at #32 on the list: Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

Recently, Blake and I were discussing with friends whether or not we were at risk of becoming hoarders. (Have you seen the television show on the A&E channel? Scary.) Blake and one of the friends decided that they would more than likely never become one of these people the show follows and documents, but they did admit to having problems letting things go because they would develop sentimental feelings for these objects. 

At this mentioning, let me explain that the items Blake and Friend were referring to are items such as furniture, clothing, and old toys. They did not mention anything that you and I would obviously refer to as "trash," which is unlike the TV show where people save used paper, finger nail clippings, and cigarette butts. Yuck.

Back to my point... As our discussion continued, I began and am still considering if I too have a problem letting things go simply because I develop feelings for a silly piece of "junk" (as seen from other eyes) or because I have an urge to keep something that I think I may one day need. 

Since considering this I have come to conclude three tidbits to remember to find that simplicity and serenity in your life and to prevent yourself from becoming buried in a mountain of unimportant nothings. 
  • Things should be fairly simple and have its own place. If it doesn't have a place, it is time to get rid of it. (If it isn't important enough to have a home, it probably shouldn't belong in your home. 
    • For example, if you have so many dishtowels that you never see the 20 or so that are at the bottom of the stack (and they are all shoved into the drawer to the point where when you open the drawer they all bunch up and come unfolded) then you may want to think about donating a few. No, you probably won't need 50+ dish towels before you have a chance to do the laundry, and if you have a mess so large you need 50+ dish towels, its a time to pull out the beach towels instead. 
  • If you have a whole stack (or Tupperware box full) of items that you have decided are too important to throw out, consider this stack... Are there parts of this "collection" that are more important than other parts? If so, donate the parts that you can, but keep the other that has the most meaningful pull. 
    • For example, if you have kept a whole mess of your child's toys from when they were a baby/child, take a look at what you have kept. Does it consist of only your child's favorite stuffed animal and teething ring, or have you kept everything from the toys that were never really touched to the night light shaped like a clown, which terrified your kiddo? If you fall into the latter group, you may want to consider getting rid of a few things and keep only the one or two most loved toys.
  • Clothing, jewelery (the costume kind), toiletries (like lotions and makeup), shoes, etc. are all things that we girls don't like to part with... These are the big "but what if I need them later items." Here are two excellent means for determining whether or not you should part with stuff that is just that, "stuff".

    1. Turn all of your coat hangers so that the hooks are all facing the back wall on the rack. (Do you know what I mean? If not, send me a note, and I'll explain further.) When you wear something and return it to the closet, place the coat hanger back on the rack facing outward. Then, in 6 to 9 months, take a look at the items that you never touched/wore. Consider getting them out of your closet to make more room for the clothes you actually do wear (and for a few new things you'll HAVE to treat yourself to for being so amazing).
    2. (And this is my favorite method...) Take the clothes, shoes, toiletries, jewelery, etc. that you haven't really touched in a while and put it in a Tupperware box in the attic/basement/garage/under the bed/whatever. Keep the box for 6 to 9 months. If you need something, simply grab it (and only it) out of the box. After the allotted time has passed take whatever you didn't need and donate it. Studies show that if you don't think about an item for that long, you don't really need it. (I don't know what studies, but I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere at sometime... maybe.)
Now, don't sit there thinking that I am all self-righteous. (Don't get me wrong, I definitely have to follow my own advice every now and then.) While I don't have a problem, necessarily, with getting rid of things that I feel I might need later on, I do have some things that I could never part with because of sentimental attachments. Some would seem obvious to anyone, but there are other things that are special to me and me only.

Here are a few of my own "hoarder" items:
First, my "Well, Obviously She Wouldn't Get Rid of Those" items...

          I could NEVER get rid of my great grandmother's china. Even though I never met her, my great grandfather kept it safe until he passed away only a few years ago. If he loved her so much to save this from the evil grasp of my step-great grandmother, she must have been as classic as the china pattern she chose.

          I could NEVER get rid of the gift Blake gave me on the day of our wedding. I had always said that I was paranoid about losing my wedding rings, but he solved that by finding the most perfect home for the symbols of our unity when they are away from my finger. Every night I know my rings are safe and sound in this antique jewelery box. 
Now for my "Hmmm... I Wonder Why She Would Feel the Need to Keep Those" items...

          I could NEVER get rid of all of the notes that Blake and I wrote each other throughout high school and college. I made Blake these boxes covered with magazine clipping when we first started dating, and we stored the pieces of paper filled with secrets and love in them until we were married five years after we met.

          I could NEVER get rid of this little bear that I gave to my mother when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer close to 14 years ago. I was only 11 when I gave it to her... It reminds me of when I stopped living in a tiny fantasy world and became aware of all that surrounds me, even now. I grew up quickly, and the bear also reminds of my innocence of when I lived in that fantasy world.

          I could NEVER get rid of this little gift that was given to me by my mother and father shortly after I got my first dog. I loved that little dog, which happened to look just like this little craving. Whenever I look at it, I am reminded of all the responsibility that was entrusted in me to take care of my first living creature. (If you don't count the classroom hamsters my brother and I almost killed several times when it was our weekend to bring them home.)
Now that I've shared a few insights into my organizational and personal life, I hope you take a little time out of your day to consider what items bring you joy and beauty by being in your presence each day and what items can bring you joy and beauty by getting out of your presence and out of your home!

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