I like stuff. I keep stuff. I look at stuff over and over. Sometimes I pretend I don’t see my stuff 😛 One day I may need my stuff. I don’t *really* need my stuff, but I think I if I threw away the forty pounds of Harry Potter paper goods that I would regret it when I actually need to throw a Harry Potter party. Hmm. Didn’t Deathly Hallows come out almost 3 years ago? I’m thinking that I missed my Harry Potter party opportunity.
This my friends, is the merry-go-round that is my hoarding problem. I have so much stuff in my house, there is no room for new stuff. New stuff that I may actually use, like new books or furniture or accessories (the one thing my house lacks!). Here are some examples of the stuff I’ve collected and don’t know what to do with. I’ve categorized it for easier understanding:
Stuff from students:
Student gifts are particularly hard to part with. Some of my favorites, I’ve taken to school and stored there, ensuring that I put them out on display. I had a bookshelf full of student gifts that realistically shouldn’t have been saved. A few years ago Caroline suggested that I start taking pictures of them so I can keep the memories and then purge the items. This has helped a lot! I keep a visual reminder of the item, but it’s no longer decomposing in my house. 🙂
Stuff from family members (who often send me their unwanted stuff – *ahem* Valerie):
Ok, I admit, I like these lights. I got them a few years ago. One day, I would actually like to use them in my backyard, but I haven’t gotten to that point yet. Right now, they are taking up a lot of space in my house. OK, technically my attic.
I’ve already talked about the carloads of things we bring back from Dad’s. Again, I’m quite happy to have some of these items, but most of them just clutter up my house. Then someone gets cranky and says “We should just throw away everything and start over!!!!” In case you’re wondering….that person is not me.
Just to prove I’m not always unhappy with what I bring home from Dad and Val’s, here are my Fu Dogs (well, technically, they belong to Valerie and her brother Len; I’m just watching them for the time being) When I was a little girl, these guys scared the crap out of me. Now, I love them. They are quite happy in my living room, albeit a little dusty.
Stuff from friends:
A few years ago, we got a funnel cake maker from our friends. It was cool. I used it a few times to make funnel cake, but honestly it’s been sitting in the box for the past 2 years. It’s a little messy, takes up space, needs lots of oil and let’s face it. Do we really need to be making and eating funnel cakes? I should keep those on my “once a year at the summer carnival” list along with deep fried Oreos and Twinkies.
The problem is that I’m afraid if I donate or get rid of the funnel cake maker that my friends will think I’m ungrateful, which is so not the case. I’m just done with the funnel cake maker, and the Cuisinart food processor that I can’t use because it’s missing a blade, and the mini-sandwich maker that I’ve never used, or the George Foreman grill that’s taking up a ton of room. I feel bad when I can’t (or don’t) use the things people give me as gifts, but that’s silly right? Holding on to something because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings is the mentality of a hoarder. I need to stop being so emotionally attached to things.
Stuff that I used and/or wanted at one time, but no longer have a use for:
A few years ago I started collecting S’more figurines.
I still think they are cute and yes I still ooh and aah over them at the store but I won’t buy new ones because I don’t have room to display the ones I already had. Don’t even think about suggesting I get a display case. No. I will not display things that I collect. I still cringe when thinking about Heather’s Precious Moments collection.
(This one is mine…it was a gift. I should let it go, but I can’t. So it’s hidden on top of a bookshelf normally facing the other way.) These statues freak me out, with their spooky wide eyes. When I would have dinner at her house, I couldn’t sit facing them because they scared me a little. But I digress…my S’mores are great to put out at Christmas, but the rest of the year, they’re in storage. What’s the point of that?
The good news is that I have begun to get rid of my stuff. For the past 2 years I’ve been making regular trips to the Goodwill store (It’s so much better mentally for me than throwing it away) but I have collected so much junk that I’m getting overwhelmed with what’s left. Jose always complains that most of the stuff in the house is mine, but he’s been getting covert boxes of things from Puerto Rico for a long time. Most of the time those boxes contain crackers or tuna (It’s reeaaaally good Italian tuna) but sometimes they contain things like his old Nintendo Game Boy. God forbid we actually give that thing away, or old notebooks from way back when he was plotting world domination, and let’s not forget the weird things he gets (mostly from his dad) like this fossilized piranha (Why, yes, that is Dr. Evil standing next to the piranha, but I’m afraid to look at what’s behind the piranha)
and this chicken thing made with real feathers. It’s a chore keeping the cats from dragging this thing around the house.
or a giant stuffed dog, that was shipped from PR a few years ago. I’d take a photo but it’s in the attic next to the Statue of Liberty solar lights!
I’m really good at weeding books in my library (Librarian lingo for removing books/materials that don’t circulate). I’m almost brutal about it. If it hasn’t circulated in 5 years it almost always goes. If it hasn’t circulated in 3 years, it goes on display and I really push it. If it still doesn’t circulate within the remainder of that year, it goes. If it’s the only book I have on a topic, I review it carefully for useful, viable information. If it meets that criteria, it stays on the shelf and I immediately look for a newer book with updated information. Then, when the new items arrives, the old book is weeded. I’ve weeded a lot of books at school because we had so much old stuff. I have a problem doing that at home. I’m horrible at getting rid of books at home. I have books from my childhood that are falling apart. I can’t let them go. I continually buy new (or new to me) books. I have 4 bookshelves in my living room, 2 bookshelves in my crafting room, and one long shelf of cookbooks in the kitchen/dining room. Aarrgh! I look at it like this: If I get rid of the junk in my house, then I can keep my books. That helps.
A few weeks ago, Jose decided it was time to instigate “Throw Away Crap Day”. Once a week (or every other week) we pick a room, or part of a room, and start going through things and deciding “Keep, Toss, Donate” and then we make a trip to Goodwill. It’s a slow process, one that I find extremely difficult and anxiety inducing. Last week, I decided to give a beautiful set of Chinese medicine balls that Valerie gave me 20 years ago. They were in a nice box, and had lovely astrological decorations all over them. They were green with red and black accents. I’ve never used them (or even had a clue with to do with them) but I liked looking at them. They made a nice jingly sound. It was soothing. For years, I’ve moved them from one pile to another. Finally they made it into the “Donate” box. I took them out about ten times to look at them before Jose said “Oh, just keep them already” but I had to get rid of them. They had no use. They sat in the car for a day until Goodwill opened and I kept hearing them jingle jingle. It was pure torture, but I’m happy to say that they did make it out of the house.
Organizational Websites: I really like The Fly Lady. She has great ideas, even for people just starting to organize. I don’t follow her plan to a T, but I do use her basic tenants. I’m trying to avoid CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) at all costs! This website and the theories behind it will probably seem ridiculous to people who don’t have hoarding problems or have trouble keeping their house neat. (My house is clean, but it’s messy. All. The. Time.) I think it has helpful information, especially for people like me who get overwhelmed extremely easily.
ok, enough talking about organizing. I’m off to use some of the items from my recent Ziploc House Party. (more about Houseparty.com in an upcoming post) Check out the box of containers I got just for hosting a party!