Hello. My name is Lise and I am…I’m a…I’m a packrat. I’m a clutterbug. I’m a hoarder.
Yep…there. I said it. I’ve known it for a long time. Both the hubz and I come from a long solid line of packrats, some very proud of their packrating and hoarding abilities. Some, like our grandparents, packrating instilled into them during living through the Great Depression. Some, for no reason at all.
Hubz story is his to tell, though I believe his is similar to mine. Growing up, there were times of abundance, then long lean times of want. I remember having to share clothes with my mother, because she refused to buy me my own. I remember getting out on my own at 16 and not being able to buy much more than the clothes I had been able to take with me and the kindness of strangers who would give me an item, here or there. Somewhere in all this, I got the mentality of “never enough” and started my own packratting tendencies.
Over the years, I’ve purged things, here and there. Sometimes by my own hand. Sometimes by the acts of others (breaking up with a boyfriend, getting my divorce and have to leave behind whatever I didn’t have packed already).
But then I would start accumulating stuff again. Sometimes very stupid stuff: Mismatched Tupperware lids; three full sets of various sized strainers and mixing bowls (and I hardly EVER bake!); eight measuring cups (I mean REALLY! How many do I think I really need?!); tons of books – most of which I had read once, but didn’t have any intention of ever reading again; and loads upon of clothes – most of which I either have never worn, never intend to wear, don’t fit (too big or too small) or I just didn’t *like* for some reason, but was holding onto anyways. Holding on to STUFF, just to say I *have* it.
So, recognizing this in myself, hubz and I made a serious commitment just over a year ago to start getting rid of all our STUFF. We looked around ourselves and realized that our true treasures were hard to find, let alone be shown off. Items like the statue that holds one of my dear cat’s ashes (ok, morbid to you, but to me it’s special), souvenirs from our trips (we don’t get a lot, but sometimes bring back an item), our library of books. So, we finally decided we really must par down what we do have.
I have always been a fan of Flylady, and have tried my best over the years to follow some of the steps. But I always fall behind and eventually get distracted. Now though, I’m feeling more confident this year. Over the last year and a half, hubz and I have gone from a generous and crammed to the gills 10×10 storage unit, down to a 7×10 unit, and now are in a small 5×10 unit, with some wiggle room. Unfortunately, we also have “paths” through our apartment right now too. On either side, lined with boxes that we are currently sorting and purging. It’s a long process for both of us. I came from a packed 4 bedroom, 1500 square foot house (even tho over half the stuff got left behind when I fled the home), and hubs came from a modest 2 bedroom apartment (with stuff stashed away at his dad’s house too!). So it’s quite the challenge at times, trying to decide what the real treasures are, what we can sell/trade on Amazon, eBay, Paperback Swap and craigslist, what should go to the homeless shelter, what should go to the Goodwill, and what should just go to trash/recycle. To know when to push each other, and when to say it’s ok to keep something, even if we know it’s just for a little while longer, to say goodbye and detached ourselves emotionally from the item.
Here’s an awesome posting from a fellow blogger about making the vow to get rid of, and just make do with less STUFF in our lives: A Call for Change… Make 2011 the Year of Less.
We’ll keep ya updated on our own personal progress. We have the dream of someday moving in to a smaller home, a home that is less than 1000 square feet, perhaps even a Tiny Home! Maybe even accomplishing our dream of creating a small, self-sufficient, off-grid “compound” of tiny homes, similar to cohousing. We have a dream!