No, I’m not a hoarder. I’ve either had roommates or lived in a studio or 1-bedroom apartment ever since I left for college. So how much of a hoarder can I be? Well a lot. A lot for me.
Now that my condo is sold, it makes me nauseous looking at all the crap I amassed in the four years that I lived there. Like hundreds of books and thousands of pieces of paper in files and binders. Lightbulbs, picture frames, a heat dish, a panini maker, pillows, candles, suitcases, a tent, a sleeping bag, mugs, shot glasses, magnets, swiffers, fake flowers, bowls, a scanner, lamps, clothes, mirrors. I mean, it’s total crap. Last night I told Dean, “Seriously, let’s just put all this shit on the sidewalk.”
And fer realz, I may be one of the most minimalist people I know! That’s the irony of the situation. I am not a pack rat. I’m constantly purging. All my prized possessions (mainly jewelry and clothes) are neatly contained in a small walk-in closet at our apartment. And I still have plenty of room that I tell Dean he can put stuff in my closet anytime.
Are you possessed by material things?
Do you have a room in your home where the main purpose is to store junk? Or are you someone who has a Costco storage room?
Do you rent a storage space? A space you barely visit, a place you spend money on to store stuff you don’t even need.
Do your kids have a gazillion toys? Do they have rooms full of crap that they played with once, but don’t even care about anymore?
Dean and I are always joking with each other, “Well of course we need a big house. We need a bigger house so we can buy more shit!”
I’ve been inspired by this article I read in San Francisco magazine about a family that limits their possessions, challenging themselves to truly waste not. They spent a year itemizing their trash output (anything they could not recycle) which amounted to 2 grocery bags of stuff. Un-freaking-believable! The kids don’t have a lot of toys. The mom says, “People feel pressure that you need all this stuff with a new baby, but you really, really don’t.”
I’m always floored when I go to family homes and there’s a special trash for the diapers, night lights, swing sets, rocking chairs. They don’t have all this stuff in third world countries and kids born outside of the U.S. turn out just fine!
You may think having all this stuff is irrelevant, but dealing with extra crap actually occupies your mind. Let’s think about Obama who says that in order to be an efficient problem solver, he needs to minimize the number of decisions he makes. So he pretty much has a uniform that he wears every day, a black or blue suit. Easy. Think of your closet. Does your morning routine consist of an easy uniform-making decision? Or are you scouring through your clothes, pushing some shirts aside in favor of others, pulling out an outfit then deciding it doesn’t feel right. That’s a waste of time. Having unnecessary items in your life occupies precious brain activity and wastes your time.
It’s never too early to start your spring cleaning. Purge. It’ll make you feel good.