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The Peaceful Life: Hoarding

This is part of an on-going series Momma’s Soapbox and I are starting on Keeping Our Inner Aloha/Peaceful Life.)

Disclaimer: This posting is going to require Alpha Hubby to BITE HIS TONGUE and hold on to his fingers so he won’t comment and comment and comment.

I’ve been systematically getting rid of stuff for several years now. It isn’t that I had a lot of stuff. Really! It’s more that each time I did a pass through the house I’d decide to get rid of something that I thought I absolutely could not stand to get rid of just a month before.

I am a firm believer in donating. When I was a single parent, I lived in Salvation Army (SA). Back then, I had to and SA served me well. But it was so bad there was a time when my son said, “Oh NO! Please don’t tell me we’re going to SA again!” (And he was only 6!) I think the boredom of waiting while I dug through racks and piles and shelves looking for amazing deals gave him SA phobia. It is a testament to his strength that he is now a generous donator, too. I’m so glad I didn’t scar him for life back then.

You would think that after several years of donations I would have this amazingly organized, Zen-type house with no clutter or mess to deal with. Yeah, you would think that, wouldn’t you? It just ain’t so. And I don’t know why (and NO Alpha Hubby I do NOT need your input on this!). Truth is, I know but I am not going to tell-all today. You couldn’t handle it!

One thing that contributed to my delinquency is that I come from a long line of hoarders (& no that above picture is not a house I know, just from internet). My mom rinsed paper towels and dried them on the wood stove.  She had piles and piles of them she’d reuse until they just plain bit the dust.  She had every packet of fast food catsup and plastic wrapped plastic utensils she’d ever not used.  Dad was as bad with his nails, screws, boards, bits, pieces, parts, and whatnot.

The worst were the zippered baggies. We ALWAYS had to wash and reuse them – in the summer hanging them on the clothesline and in the winter, propping them open over glasses to dry. I SWORE when I could, I would THROW AWAY ANY BAGGIE I HAD USED WITHOUT EVEN CHECKING TO SEE IF IT WAS RELATIVELY CLEAN. It is freeing, I can tell you that. I do NOT reuse zippered baggies. Amen. That’s why you see so many in my new pantry. (Below, sadly, are only part of the boxes.)

Back to my non-Zen house. I am learning not to hoard. I am slowly learning to let things go and to give away anything I haven’t used in a year or 5. I THOUGHT I was doing a great job until we moved.

Why? Because as I unpacked I discovered everything I had saved and hoarded without realizing it. Take the zippered baggies. I thought I was out so purchased several. Then while unpacking, I came across the ones I’d packed up when we thought we were moving last year. THEN I also came across the ones I had stored in the laundry room in the old house. I don’t want to talk about it. 

This happened with all sorts of products – beauty products, cleaning products, candles (well, you can NEVER have too many of those) kitchen towels, and MORE. It has bordered on the ridiculous which is why Momma’s Soapbox (& her companion posting about this topic) and I decided to take a little journey into developing Better Me’s: get better organized and disciplined, simplify our lives, developing the “less can be more” concept, taking better care of our health, etc.

Alpha Hubby’s saying is, “There’s always another one.” I wanted to hit him when we were first married and he’d say that. It was usually after I lost a bid at an auction or something but I soon discovered, HE WAS RIGHT (please don’t tell him I said that).

The “organized theory” really is that if you haven’t used it or worn it in a year, GET RID OF IT. It may make you feel like you are giving away your first born child sometimes, but you can do it, sniffing and crying. It takes a while sometimes to get into the swing of it but it can be done.

I truly believe that Keeping Your Inner Aloha (see Momma’s Soapbox posting HERE) and living The Peaceful Life require organization and getting rid of excess.

So a little Peaceful Life tip is this: go through your house with an HONEST eye and start boxing up excess and things you haven’t used in awhile, if ever (yes, I had a lot of THAT, too – never used or new with tags still on it).  Remind yourself it is going to a good cause – helping those who can’t afford to shop at regular stores. Been there, done that and am so grateful for places like SA and Goodwill.

I’ll let you know a little more after I’ve finished unpacking and getting rid of as I do! I’ve had to really dig in and get rid of since this new place doesn’t yet have the storage capacity of the old place. It’s challenging but I finally had that epiphany – there’s ALWAYS another one and if I truly need it later down the line, I can buy a NEW one!

Copyright © 2010 Nan C Loyd
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10 thoughts on “The Peaceful Life: Hoarding

  1. i did some cleaning on my hallway closet a few months ago, donates some sheets and got read of some. got boxes to put things in and basket to orginaze everything. Next thing is the room where all of the things not needed in the house end up. Its exilarating doing all the cleaning and donating! makes you feel free.

  2. i did some cleaning on my hallway closet a few months ago, donates some sheets and got read of some. got boxes to put things in and basket to orginaze everything. Next thing is the room where all of the things not needed in the house end up. Its exilarating doing all the cleaning and donating! makes you feel free.

  3. LOL Grace. I feel the same way. I buy the plastic throw away items so I can throw them away….. I don’t feel this is wasteful. 99% of the time I wash and re-use my dishes so on the occasion I don’t feel like it or it isn’t practical, I buy plastic/paper and throw it away… And I’m okay with that…. In fact, truth be told it makes me smile when “doing the dishes” means filling up a trash bag with them. It’s the little things. (smile)

  4. I could never figure out why people washed and re-used plastic SOLO cups and plastic utensils. My ex-husband’s aunt used to freak (edited by blog owner) if anyone threw away plastic utensils at Thanksgiving. Please! If we’re not going to throw them away, then why not use the silver spoons?

    1. Mom (and that generation) went through the “great depression” and it marked so many of them. It is a fear that they won’t have enough or that it could happen again. It manifested in ways like reusing paper plates, washing plasticware, and “being prepared just in case.” It is a sad thing to be that afraid, especially when most of them had plenty of money to throw away all the paper and plastic they had.

  5. Timeline, Leland? Nan, I think he is going to hold us accountable. Probably good for us.

    And Leland, for the record, your beautiful wife loves you very much and isn’t afraid to shout it from the roof-tops…. or at least from the blog-tops. I love that you are such a good hubby to her. She is a keeper for sure.

    Blessed to have her friendship…..

  6. But I can help!! You can always get another and probably better. In the tool end of my life, this day and time I can rent it then I don’t have to buy, store and upkeep. So where are you at on your timeline?

    1. Now, now Alpha Hubby – ummm timeline? You mean like how much time is it going to take me to get all that crap wonderful stuff off the table and floor? THAT timeline?

  7. Elizabeth- That is soooooo true! I have such a hard time getting rid of clothes that don’t fit me.. Either UP or DOWN.. A change is a comin’….

    I think my “stuff” is scared right now… I thought I heard it crying last night talking about how I was so selfish because I wanted to get organized and de-clutter my life. Almost like the Rugrat’s who complain because we are so mean when we make them clean their rooms, pick up their toys OR heaven forbid do the dishes. (smile)

    Great job with the post Nan! I know your Alpha Hubby will be really excited soon…….cuz your house is going to be CLUTTER FREE BABY!


  8. I plan on doing some of the de-cluttering this weekend. Cleaning out my closet (that I cannot put another thing in and can’t wear 99% of them) and donating to the clothes closet.
    Amazing that when you loose weight you buy ALL these cool clothes…..then you gain a little back and can’t wear the smaller sizes but u just cannot let them go! It must be a woman thang haha
    Good luck to us all as we de-clutter!!!

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