I use the phrase 'ex-hoarder' not knowing fully if most people would look at the massive amounts of stuff I own and consider it a habit of the past. I like to think that if they could see how far we've come that they would congratulate me... maybe even throw me a party. I like to think I deserve a party. And as of this past weekend, we could hold it in my garage.
It's not easy for me to purge, although it is getting easier. I still pull things out of my 'donate', 'sell' and 'trash' pile and put them back into the 'keep' pile hoping no one will notice. Brian usually doesn't, so in a way I have only myself to control my impulses. I am responsible for talking myself out of keeping something. As good as I am getting at purging I bet that if I had a day with one of those organizers/therapists from the show Hoarders I would even do better. Remind me why I don't need the empty champagne bottle from the night Brian proposed?
I think that the decision to down-size & move back into the city was a good for us for several reasons, one being that I am being forced to purge my hoard. You couldn't walk into our garage on Friday. Today, you could...well, hold a party in it. It's a good feeling but it came with an onslaught of terrible feelings. As I got rid of a trailer full of garbage & a yard full of 'stuff' (below) the reel that was replaying in my mind was exhausting
"What if I need this later..."
"This is perfectly good, someone might want this"
"Awwww, Miles used this when he was little so I have to keep it for his kids"
"We bought this in __(insert foreign country here)____ so I should keep it"
I forged on & managed to keep just a few things I know I will never use again or have an emotional attachment to (A tiny little Paul Frank bike helmet).
I've done the kitchen, the closet, the toys & now the garage. This coming weekend we tackle the basement knowing that it will be easier if we do it before the snow comes. The basement is the hard part. The basement is where the yearbooks, old ballet slippers, cabbage patch dolls & photo albums live. Somewhere in that basement is a collection of hula dolls (I know...), a collection elephant figurines (I know....) and every issue of my high school magazine 'The Voice'. How do I get rid of the newspapers from Sept 12th, 2001? (I am well aware it can all be found online). How can I throw away my sticker book from elementary school? But I struggle, to throw away the notes my high school friend Molly put so much effort into writing, illustrating & folding into cute origami creatures.
I did good in the garage. I am nervous that when I finish with the basement (I've 'cleaned' it every year for the past 5 years) that it won't be in ready-to-move condition. What then?