Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Reasons I Keep Things (Even Though I Should Be Like Elsa and Let It Go)

I am a hoarder.  I hate the word.  It feels awkward to speak it aloud.  My mom called it "being a pack rat" which was not much better.

The show Hoarding: Buried Alive has cast light on an issue that many people don't really understand.  On it, you see people who have taken their obsessive collecting and compulsive need to keep things that others would throw away.  I can relate to them.  The show nearly always makes me cry and I go out of my way to avoid it.  I can see the desperation in the eyes of the people who are asked to give up some of their things.  I get it.  I am overly sentimental and emotionally attached to things that I really have no need for.  The memories that certain posessions hold makes me hang on to them even when I know I shouldn't.

Andy and I are tackling a project.  We are taking a room of our home each night and really cleaning it.  Scrubbing, vacuuming, dusting, pitching things we don't need and organizing things we want to keep.  It's daunting but it will be incredibly good for me to get rid of some of these things.  I recognize it's a problem and I can clearly see that all the things I've accumulated are holding me back - I'm embarrassed to have friends over because there is just a ton of stuff everywhere.  I know it frustrates Andy but he is really helping me by making it a team effort.  When we finish we will finally be able to have some people over and have a small party.  That is a small goal.

Here are five things I've figured out while cleaning this week.

1.  I keep things for far too long.  I have tons of bath and body products that I should have gotten rid of ages ago.  I threw away things tonight that I know for a fact I bought in Alabama.  That was over ten years ago!  I even thought "I should keep this because I got it in Montgomery at that store I...." - NO!  I have to quit doing this.

2.  I keep things because I am afraid that if I don't, someone will ask me where it is.  Truly, if you give me a gift I am touched by it.  I will want it around where I can see it and think "this person really was thinking of me".  I found salt and pepper shakers that my mother in law gave me that I never cared for in my kitchen cabinet.  I kept them because I expect some day she will say "where are those cute little salt and pepper shakers at?  You know the ones that look like little fish?". The chances of that happening are slim to none but I worry.  If you come over and wonder where your gift is, please keep it to yourself.  If you ask me I might have a heart attack.

3.  I keep things because I am afraid I will regret giving them up.  This is a constant fear.  My mom bought me a snowman when I lived in Alabama.  She stitched an icicle on it's nose and crystal beads as tears.  It had a note on the bottom that said "I'll have a blue Christmas without you baby.  Love, Mom".  I am seriously crying my eyes out typing this because I gave it to Goodwill.  It was big, it didn't really fit in our truck when we moved the last of my things from Alabama, and I didn't think I'd miss it.  Every Christmas I think about it.  I took a picture of it on my phone but that phone was damaged and I lost it.  It haunts me and I'm terrified that everything is the next snotsicle snowman.

4. I keep things because "they might be worth something someday".  I don't even like this reason.  It was simply ingrained by my parents and I can't get away from it.  I press value on things based on the fact that someone else might think it is worth something.  It pains me to throw away things I think are valuable, which leads me to....

5.  My most pressing reason to keep things is "I paid good money for this".  Even if I hate it - perfume that smells awful will sit on my vanity because it was $40 and I can't pitch 40 bucks down the tubes.  Food will sit in my pantry way past it's expiration date because I might eat it someday and I hate the fact that it was $3.87 on sale.  I memorize prices.  I can tell you what store things came from and if it was on sale.  I have bought things I absolutely positively have no use for because they were an amazing deal and I knew I needed to feel that high of getting a bargain.  I am a bargain idiot.  It makes me feel I'll to think of all the money I have needlessly spent that I am now trying to pay off in monthly installments on cards with a balance that never seems to get lower.  I have jeans I can't fit in that I think I will need when I lose weight and I don't want to have to buy new clothes.  I know many people have skinny jeans but I have a whole skinny wardrobe.  If I get skinny I will be afraid to get rid of my current clothes because what if I get fat?  It's a vicious cycle.

I am upsetting myself honestly.  I'm off to a good start but I could use some moral support.  If you can spare some good vibes please shoot 'em at me.  Help me to care more about being healthy and getting my things organized and less about the 5 worries above.  Thanks in advance!  XO


  1. It is ingrained from childhood. Being raised by parents who were depression brats; the motto they were taught was "use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without". Today we tell our kids "Use it or lose it". We went from a have nothing society to a have everything society. We are the American Horror Story. Listen to Weird Al "First World "Prblems". Go ahead, I 'll wait. There, now don't you feel better?

    1. Andy's mom always says "in my day we worked out whole lives to have a home filled with nice things. Kids today think you need to start at the point it took me years to get to". There is definitely a compulsion to have everything "right now" and feeling second rate if you can't keep up with the Kardashi-oneses.