I am a hoarder. If you'd asked me a few weeks ago, I'd have said that I have hoarding tendencies. It's obvious that I have trouble with stuff. The tops of every flat surface in my home is full of stuff: stuff that has no home, broken or ripped stuff awaiting repair, stuff moved so that Annika can't reach it. My poor decorations are choking.
I come by my hoarding naturally. Along my maternal line, we are hoarders back at least 4 generations. As a little girl of maybe 8 I remember making the trek to Iowa to meet my great-grandma.
Nothing I recall seemed odd about the outside of the house. But when we opened the door we were greeted with stuff. Boxes, bins, furniture, clothes, papers and heaven only knows what else, was piled so high that I couldn't even see across the room. My grandma's voice called to us and we wound around the piles on a path to the sofa. There wasn't enough space for us to sit, so, at Grandma's orders, my parents carefully moved piles of stuff onto other piles of stuff so we could sit. I remember wondering how you could live like this. It was so sad. (For anybody who saw the Oprah show on hoarding, this was the level of problem for my grandma, or perhaps she was even worse.)
But each generation has improved on the one before. And since I'm not anywhere near as bad as Grandma, I would never have called myself a hoarder. Until I read, start to finish, Peter Walsh's book, "It's All Too Much."
There was a quiz at the start of the book that placed you in one of three categories, No Clutter, Clutter Victim or Hoarder. I fell into the later group.
What I learned in this book is that I don't need more boxes or bins or organizational systems. I need to get rid of stuff that doesn't enrich my life. I didn't even know I could do that. I mean like the gingerbread sponge holder that one of my grandmas gave me for Christmas several years ago. I've never used it and never loved it. I can throw it away. Can you believe that? In the garbage?
Our spring break project was to empty out The Room We Do Not Go Into. (My kids all know the room by this name. Kinda like "He Who Shall Not Be Named" in Harry Potter.) This room contained boxes that we never unpacked 6 years ago when we moved in, furniture that we'd long since stopped using and all excess toys. Whenever the family room would become over run with toys, Wendell would shove all the toys into all the boxes and bins we had, then stuff all the extras in the Room We Do Not Go Into. By the time we decided to rescue the room, we were about knee deep in crud.
The room is almost clear, only a few boxes of books and memorabilia remain. And I am inspired. I'm throwing away or DIing* stuff left and right. This is going to be great. In a few months I may have a party. Now that would be cool.
*Mormon 101: When Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers settled Utah, they wanted to name it Deseret which has a meaning about being industrious. They were denied, but any numbers of things were already carrying that name. Among them Deseret Industries or DI, as we call. It's a thrift store, run by the LDS church, and provides employment to handicapped people and those having trouble getting work. It's big and clean and nice and there are amazing finds there for not much money. Plus, there's no sales tax.