Friday, February 1, 2013


Hoarding bugs me.

I can say that, even though I have some hoarding tendencies.

Who remembers that ad with the Russian grandmother who said, "Clean, yes!  Dirt, no!"?  I remember it, and I love it....because I truly love order and beauty and a place for everything and everything in its place.

And here's the schizophrenic part:  I love books.  I love things.  I attach memories to items and I keep them because they belonged to someone I loved and lost.  I like order, but I like things too much.

So, I am purging and weeding out stuff and cleaning and getting rid of stuff.  I think it will take months to get rid of enough stuff that I can breathe a sigh of relief.  Right now, it's just painful.

It's painful to think that I kept that second coffeemaker just in case.
It's painful to think that I bought all of those books over many years, some of which were never used.
It's painful to think that I ignored the problem far too long.

So, I confess: I am a hoarder.

We have clear surfaces.  We can sit at the table and eat a meal.  We can sit in the living room and in the family room.  My kitchen counters are clean.  My fridge gets cleaned out at least twice a month.  So I am not the kind of hoarder that ends up like this:

The Kind of Hoarder I Am

I keep stuff I don't love.  I am the kind of hoarder that keeps some paintings (numbered watercolours) that belonged to my parents, who both died 15 years ago.  I don't even like these paintings.  I keep them because somehow, throwing them out or selling them or giving them away means I'll lose a connection with my parents.  

I keep stuff, just in case.  I am the kind of hoarder who keeps stuff, just in case.  This morning I stepped on something and bent over to pick it up.  It was a knob from our old dryer, the one that's outside waiting to be taken to the dump.  I automatically started to put the knob onto a shelf in the laundry room, just in case I might need it some day.  Thankfully, I stopped myself and tossed it into the trash bin.

I keep stuff I might use some day.  I have binders and books and school papers and diaries and notes from sermons and maps and stuff I'll never use. Time to face reality.  I will never, ever use this stuff. 

I am getting rid of them.

It's not going to be easy, but I have decided to keep only ONE of everything, unless it's a set that makes sense.  I have decided to evaluate (is it useful?  is it beautiful?  do I love it?) every item and get rid of everything that is not useful or beautiful or loved.

Clean, yes!

Dirt, NO.

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